MediaMVP Multimedia Bridge

Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, March 2007
Manufactured by: Hauppaugge
Requires: Windows 2000 through XP, Pentium 4 1.8GHZ processor or faster, 128MB RAM, 20MB available hard drive space, Internet Explorer 6 or later, Ethernet connection near your TV, networked Windows XP PC, installation location near your TV
MSRP: US$99.00 (wired Ethernet; wireless model available)

The goal of entertainment technology convergence is something that has been seriously batted around since 1991 as best I can tell. While convergence in telecommunications abound, with the RIM BlackBerry and the Palm Treo 650/700 series of smartphones being some of the best examples in the first few years of the new millenium, successful high quality convergence in the living room is still a target which sits somewhere on the horizon. PCs in the living room or family room tend to produce noise, additional heat and frankly can also be a jarring note in an otherwise nicely decorated room. Ditto for Macs; as with PCs, they present yet another big-ish box sitting in the living room consuming lots of electricity. The MediaMVP Digital Multimedia Bridge is one of several ingenious devices offering a variety of solutions which help bring audio, video and photo content sitting on your PC in another room, to the TV and audio/video system sitting in your living room or family room.

The MediaMVP connects to your TV and stereo or audio/video system via simple cabling: S-video or RCA for video output to the TV, stereo RCA output to the TV or sound system, and an Ethernet connection to your home network in order to access content stored on the different PCs throughout the home. That's about it. The hardware hookup is simple and the software which has to be installed on the PC which acts as the data streaming host is also easy to set up. We tried the MediaMVP on four different computers, from a slightly creaky 1.6GHz P4 running Windows 2000 Professional to a zippy Core 2 Duo running Windows XP Professional, without any problems.


Once you've established a connection between the host PC and the MediaMVP, it's a relatively straightforward matter to logon to the MediaMVP and point it at various folders on the network which contain audio, music, video and photo content. You can browse to Internet radio stations and stream the audio signal. Throughout the review period, I focused mainly on music, home video files and digital photos.

The best example of how useful the MediaMVP can be occurred when some friends dropped by about a week after I had set up the system. They asked about a business trip I had taken recently and more specifically were interested in the photos I had brought back. Everybody got up to go into my home-office to have a look at the photos, but I sat everyone back down and simply streamed the photos to the TV. Minor color and resolution issues aside (the MediaMVP is not designed to be a high end streaming device), everybody was delighted about being able to relax in comfortable chairs and watch the slide show rather than having to crowd uncomfortably around a 20" LCD computer monitor in my office.

Hauppaugge seems to have accomplished what it set out to do. The MediaMVP is definitely a useful little home entertainment device which helps bring together media from sources around the house, funneling it all through your TV and entertainment system. The included remote control works well and makes media selection easy, and provides immediate access to a full set of transport controls. Video output resolution is limited to NTSC standard 720x480, so you won't be able to view those full resolution RIPs of your favorite movies. On the other hand, MPEG-2 and DivX files are handled quite well as long as you respect the MediaMVP's resolution limits. MP3 files, including several rather nice 320Kbps variable bit rate songs came through loud, clean and clear.

Cons: The Hauppaugge MediaMVP does exactly what Hauppaugge says it's supposed to do. The problem is, it's not enough in our opinion — at least not enough to make the MediaMVP a true media center for access to all the good stuff. Streaming high definition video of any kind (DVD, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD) or ripped DVD music from surround sound sources, or streaming from a PC-based DVD is not possible, DivX compatibility notwithstanding. The on-screen UI lacks a Back button in several places, there are several navigation problems particularly when initially setting up network drives to access, and it's unfortunately also not very good looking.

Pros: I have to admit that it was fun to be able to spontaneously run a slide show of photos on the big Pioneer LCD in the living room, streamed from a folder on a hard drive in a computer located elsewhere in my house. If you regularly entertain family and friends with a few minutes worth of the latest photos, this is one of the most entertaining ways to do it. For background music when friends and family are around, or for something interesting in the background while you're relaxing in the living room and reading, the MediaMVP works perfectly. Set up is easy, albeit time consuming because of poor user interface navigation, but once completed all you have to do is enjoy the unit. In over two months of regular use, we have yet to encounter any problems with system access or any issues with the device. The MediaMVP responds quite quickly to the supplied remote control. Recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



© Copyright 2000-2007 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | hot news | about us | search | store | subscribe


The latest in tech news and information Find a product review on KSN Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe