The HD Digitech is the first media player we’ve used that offers the flexibility and performance to rival a full-on Media Center PC.
We were bamboozled by Japanese menus when we first turned the unit on and had to fumble through the settings to switch to English, but we reckon this was a one-off. The HDX-1000 also struggled to find one of our two networked hard-drives, which meant manually entering its details.
Not quite idiot-proof
Little niggles like this pop up every so often, and although they probably won’t cause you problems if you have a little computer know-how, they still leave it short of the idiot-proof simplicity of the Apple TV.
Where the HDX-1000 leaves Apple’s baby eating digital dust, though, is in format support. Everything we threw at it was played without fuss, from WAV, Flac and AAC music to AVI, DivX and hi-def open-standard MKV videos.
You can play files directly from a PC or network-attached storage (NAS) device on your network, or you can transfer them onto the 1TB hard disk (it’s also available in 500GB and diskless forms) using the Ethernet or USB connections.
In fact, once there’s content on the HDX-1000, it can act as a NAS device itself, sharing said content with the rest of the network. It even has its own BitTorrent client for downloading files directly.
Performance with video is excellent. Standard-def material is close to the original, and apart from a bit of motion smear, so is HD.
Shame about the sound
Only the sonic performance is a bit of a let-down. Although there’s much detail to surround soundtracks, we found music playback to be rather lacklustre.
The only other niggle is the operability of the unit: the bright background is smart, but to access files you’re simply navigating your lists of folders, which can be arduous.
If you’re happy to live with this and the lack of musicality – and you know a bit about computers – this box offers true format flexibility.