Been looking for a media streamer with Apple-style usability but more open-format support? If so, the LaCie LaCinema Classic HD might just be it.
Anyone who's familiar with LaCie's ever-popular USB hard drives will immediately recognise the chic, minimalist styling of the LaCinema. Only a USB connection and blue down-light appear on the front – and we think the glossy black finish, combined with the sleek shape, makes for one stylish box.
The menus, made-up of large white icons on a pure black screen, make navigation straightforward. It found all our servers and shared folders immediately, and with the exception of Apple Lossless and AIFF files, will play everything.
As the 'HD' in the LaCinema's name suggests, playing back hi-def video is its raison d'être – and it's certainly impressive.
Feed it a hi-def MKV or M2TS file, and you'll see it's a clear step above competing units, offering greater detail, definition and depth. Motion is good and stable, and colours are vibrant. With standard-def it's much the same.
The LaCie is sonically superb, too. Surround soundtracks (including DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby True HD) have impressive weight and dynamics, while stereo music has greater detail and attack than most rivals.
Review continues after the break…
The final trick up the LaCinema's sleeve is that you can fill its 1TB hard disk with media, not only to play it locally, but also so it can be shared with other streamers on your network (think Xbox 360 or PS3).
That's right: this streamer is also an effective NAS device. What more could you ask for?