back to article LaCie LaCinema MiniHD

We weren’t wildly enthusiastic about LaCie's Black Max set-top box. Thankfully, its new LaCinema MiniHD is a more modest affair that just concentrates on being a media player. As a result, it’s more successful than the Black MAX, although it does still have some rough edges. LaCinema MiniHD Honey, I shrunk the vids: LaCie's …

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  1. petur
    Boffin

    QNAP NMP-1000

    Bah, for that price I'll get a QNAP NMP-1000. GUI looks nicer and it has more functionality. Lacks the wi-fi (nothing a cheap USB stick can't solve), but comes with way more connection options.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge
      Happy

      PS3

      Never mind the QNAP, for that price I'd buy a PS3 :o) It's where LaCie have stolen the interface from anyways...

  2. Scott Mckenzie
    FAIL

    Mildly Pointless Test

    Why wouldn't you test it with, let's be honest here, the most popular format for HD films available today - MKV??? And knowing how other products have suffered with the format in the past also, makes it doubly so! Equally, what about audio playback? The WDTV used to struggle with DTS audio and you'd get no audio unless you were passing it through to an AV amp (something not everyone has) - which was a pain.

    How does it handle these things?????? Rather than in effect regurgitating the website and telling us how the UI looks, why not actually test some real world scenarios??

    1. Annihilator Silver badge
      FAIL

      MKV

      While I agree with your post in general (it is a rather vague review), it's fair to say that an "mkv" test is pointless - much like an "avi" test. They don't specifiy codecs as they are but container files.

      Given that it fails to cope with xvid (which incidentally usually appear in an avi container), I'd feel free to write it off as a failure anyway.

      1. Scott Mckenzie

        Also agreed

        However, to make not a mention of it is surreal - talk of 1080p and then to not mention the format (which as you say may only be a container) that *most* HD files i encounter use. No mention of whether it can even read the container format is crazy.

        However, as you say, no xvid does point to an epic fail from the off!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    oops

    poor xvid support seems like a serious oversight to me!

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Neat. Best of all no PSU brick

    Why can't other mfg's do this?

    Lots of them seem to do the "our hardware is *tiny*, oh, the power brick is still about the size of a shoebox."

    I'm just guessing but having a variable sped fan (noisier when working hard IE playing stuff that will mask the noise) is not beyond the bounds of possibility. Whatever happened to the piezoelectric fans used in some later macs that IIRC operate at ultrasonic speed so you can't hear them at all?

    1. Scott Mckenzie

      Err...

      ...as has caused no end of issues with the Apple Time Capsule - HEAT!! I'll wager the heat when this thing has been running for a long time will eventually cripple it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    re: QNAP NMP-1000

    For that price, get a PS3, it does all that this and the QNAP NMP-1000 does, it does it better and has Gaming, Blu-Ray, DVD Upscaling, Movie Store, Browser, Vidzone and so on...

  6. Elsie
    Thumb Down

    How much?!

    For that price I'd rather buy an Asus Revo and have a fully operating (and configurable) PC. More than £200 for something my Panasonic TX-P46G15 TV can do out of the box is robbery.

  7. smeddy

    Netbook

    I love these, I reall, really, really do, and I follow all news about media servers closely.

    But I'm just as happy using a powerful netbook or laptop to power XBMC, and use that for HDMI-enabled video playback. Then I can tweak with appearance, with codecs, with millions of other things, plus all the benefits having a laptop brings (internet, Iplayer, music, etc) for a similar price to this. I have a NAS box sat in a cupboard pumping out an music/films/tv.

  8. Alastair 7

    Re: Mildly Pointless Test

    "Why wouldn't you test it with, let's be honest here, the most popular format for HD films available today - MKV???"

    #1 - citation needed

    #2 - MKV is a container format. An MKV file could be encoded any number of ways, so it's impossible/useless to test.

    1. Scott Mckenzie

      Well it's not is it...

      ... i mean if it can't even see an MKV file as a valid, supported format then you're stumped from the start - regardless of what it contains! Yes I'm well aware they usually contain an avi file and an ac3 audio file but i've had Media Tanks in the past that wouldn't recognise an MKV, meaning it had to be split and recombined before use - which is unworkable.

      As said above though - it doesn't do xvid anyway, so it's clearly a steaming pile!

      WDTV and External HDD costs around £120 and plays everything!

  9. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Another lacking review

    Come on Cliff, you should have this down pat by now. Things we need to know if you're testing media players:

    1. What audio formats - MP3, yes, what about AAC? FLAC? OGG? AC3? Audio output - stereo only or does it output 6-channel over the HDMI?

    2. Video formats - yes, thank you previous posters, MKV is a container - remarkably, that changes very little. Test it with codecs that we know are supported (MP4 and AAC, for example - the standard for MP4 which you've already said is supported).

    3. Subtitles. Do they work? SRT file? How about subtitles embedded in MP4 files?

    4. DivX doesn't work?!? What, at all? That's a little extraordinary in 2010, can you give us more detail? Doesn't work in an AVI? What do the manufacturers say on this? Surely there's more to be said here.

    5. Network. You gloss over this in every review. Does it do NFS? AFP? SMB? Client, Server or both? DLNA? Renderer, Server or both? USB is the way of the dodo, this stuff is important.

    Christ, if you're going to go to the effort of reviewing these units every few weeks you could at least make them useful. This isn't Click Online or T3 mag - we want detail, dammit.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Way, Way, OVER PRICED

    As others are saying.

    You would have to have gone completely stupid to waste your hard earned money on this kit.

  11. Jeff 11
    Grenade

    Power brick

    Oh that's brilliant, now Lacie can now legitimately tell you to fuck off and buy a new one when the piss-poor internal power brick inevitably fails.

  12. John 62

    album track listings

    I couldn't tell from the review whether it was the same albums that sometimes had tracks listed alphabetically and sometimes by track number or whether it was either/or.

    It could be bad tagging. Also my iTunes library names the song files thus: <track_number><space><track_name>.m4a. So maybe some of your files have the track number and some don't, but from reading the review, we can't know.

  13. Mike Bell
    Unhappy

    What I Want

    What I really want is a solid state silent low-power brick that can gobble up my collection of 1000-or-so DVDs & Blu-Ray discs.

    Can't see it happening any time soon, unfortunately.

  14. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    the DIY way..

    I have an old Shuttle box PC for this.. Thankfully, work were looking to get rid of a load of old PCs, so gave them away.. Mine had a dead HDD, so replaced that with a spare I had. Bought a cheap AGP graphics card (GeForce 6 £40).

    Combine that with the 1TB DNLA NAS I have just bought, and Xbox Media Centre and it means I got quite a capable Media Centre for £40. OK, so it won't play any games released in the last three years reasonably, but it works for what I want it.

    Not sure how well it would handle playback at HD resolutions as I have an SD TV, but it scales HD MKVs down quite well.

  15. Le Boul

    Confirm all comments above

    Hi Everyone,

    Bought this unit two weeks ago and have been playing with it for some time.

    Updated to latest firmware and got going.

    Summery: Disappointed!

    Ripped Enter the Dragon from Blue-ray and the movie shutters. Frames are not playing in order.

    Tried (for experiments & educational reasons only) several downloaded HD (720 and 1080p) movies form PB. MKV are hit and miss, sometimes they work sometimes we have the same problem as with WD TV live, problems with audio.

    I took randomly 15 movies (720 & 1080p) and converted them to .mp4 using standard profile using Turbo .264 HD stick. Result - most movies unwatchable. They shutter along and you feel somehow the the HD can not keep up. Very disappointing.

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