Verbatim MediaStation Pro 500GB Review Seán Byrne .

This is a compact HD wireless network media player roughly the size of a 3.5” external HDD. It features a 500GB HDD, 1080p HDMI output, MPEG2/4 HD playback and LAN/Wi-Fi streaming.

This is a compact HD wireless network media player roughly the size of a 3.5” external HDD. It features a 500GB HDD, 1080p HDMI output, MPEG2/4 HD playback and LAN/Wi-Fi streaming.

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Verbatim MediaStation Pro 500GB Review

Posted 11 December 2009 16:03 CET by Seán Byrne

Review: Verbatim MediaStation Pro 500GB Reviewed by: Seán Provided by: Verbatim Firmware: MG350S_1.1.12-M

Verbatim was kind enough to lend us their MediaStation Pro 500GB for review.  This is a compact High Definition wireless network media player roughly the size of a 3.5” external hard disk, which can operate horizontally or vertically with its included stand.  The media player features a 500GB internal hard disk, network streaming capabilities via Wi-Fi or wired network and can play from an attached USB drive. 

According to is specifications, it can play a variety of music, picture and video formats including DVD folders and output the video up to Full HD (1080p) with its HDMI output.   

Company Information

Products to Meet the Demands of Performance Computing

Since its beginning in 1969, Verbatim® has been at the forefront of the evolution in data storage technology. Today, more than 40 years later, Verbatim remains one of the most recognisable names in the data storage industry. Here is the profile of Verbatim that you can find on their website.  

Drive Specifications


We obtained the specifications of the MediaStation Pro from the retail packaging it came in as well as the Verbatim website:

Supported file types

Music

MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA

Movies

AVI: MS-MPEG4v3/XviD/WMV9

(Does not support XviD which has GMC option applied)

WMV: WMV9

MP4: MPEG4 Video

DAT: MPEG1

VOB: MPEG2

MPG/MPEG: MPEG1/MPEG2

TP/TS/TRP: HD-MPEG2/SD-MPEG2

ISO:IFO

Photos

JPG/JPEG, PNG, BMP

Connectivity

Video

Composite

S-Video

HD Component Y, Pb, Pr (576p, 720p, 1080i)

HDMI (576p, 720p, 1080p)

Audio

Stereo L-R

Digital Output Optical

Digital Output Coaxial

PC

Device Port x 1ea, 480Mbps USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)

Host Port x 2ea, 480Mbps USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)

Supporting to read USB devices like External USB HDD, ODD, Flash Drive, Card Reader

10/100Mbps LAN (RJ-45)

Wireless Antenna Connection

Other Specifications

Operating Systems

Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS 9.0 higher, Linux 2.4 higher

Power

12V/3A

Dimensions

48 x 150 x 210mm (without wireless antenna)

Operating Temperature

0°C~60°C

HDD File System

FAT 32

TV Type

NTSC/PAL

Pack Contents

MediaStation Pro Wireless network Multimedia Hard Drive

Remote Control (+ Battery)

HDMI Cable

Composite video/stereo audio Cable

USB Cable

Quick Start Guide

Stand

Component Video Cable

External AC Power Adapter

What’s inside the box


Let us first start by taking a look at the retail packaging as well as what the drive ships with.

The following images show the retail box this drive came shipped in.

Front side

Left Side

Right Side

Rear Side

Top of box

The contents of the package are as follows:

The retail bundle consists of:

  • MediaStation Pro 500GB
  • HDMI cable
  • 3x (Yellow / White / Red) Phono/RCA to 3.5mm lead
  • 1x (Black) Phono/RCA Coaxial lead
  • 3x (Red / Green / Blue) Phono/RCA to 3.5mm lead
  • Wi-Fi aerial
  • Mini-USB cable
  • DC Power Adapter
  • Stand
  • Remote control including batteries
  • User manual on CD (multiple languages)
  • Quick Start Guide

This player includes all the necessary cables to set this up with just about any type of display this player supports and most sound systems, with video cables catering for HDMI, Component, Composite video and audio cables covering analogue and digital audio.  A mini USB cable is included for accessing its hard disk from a PC.   Note that as with almost any media player sold internationally, these cables may vary depending on the country of purchase, especially the power lead.  Those interested in connecting this to a wired network will need to get an RJ45 network patch cable.

The bundled analogue audio/composite and component video cables both have a 3.5mm plug at one end, at least with this review sample, so these cables would be difficult to replace.  However, its HDMI video and digital coaxial/optical audio connections are both standard. 

Now let us take a look at the MediaStation Pro itself, along with the back of the unit:

 

The physical size of the player is about that of a 3.5” external desktop hard disk.  The player has a blue power LED at the top and three red LEDs near the bottom for power, network and hard disk.  Both power LEDs illuminate when the player is powered up, although the top blue one can be forced off from the setup menu.  The network LED flashes during network activity and the HDD LED flashes during hard disk activity.  There are no other indicators or digits on the front.  The buttons provide basic navigation, enough to browse through the media menus and basic playback operations.  The larger button at the top is the standby button. 

The following shows an example of the two power LEDs lit when the unit is powered up:

The LEDs are bright enough to see during the day, but not too bright to become an eye sore when watching TV in a dark room.

Now let’s take a look at its connections:

The rear of the media player has the following connections:

  • SPDIF OUT
    • Coaxial – Digital out for a digital amplifier with a coaxial input
    • Optical – Digital out for a digital amplifier with an optical input
  • LAN – RJ45 Network connection
  • HDMI – HDMI output to a display with HDMI input
  • AV OUT
    • Video (3.5mm) – Composite audio & video out for legacy equipment that does not have HDMI or digital audio input. The included cable converts this to 2xPhono/RCA Audio + Phono/RCA video plugs.
    • S-Video – Video out for legacy equipment that does not have HDMI or component video input, but has S-Video input.
    • Component (3.5mm) – Component video output for higher quality video on displays with component video input, but which lack HDMI input. The included cable converts this to 3xphono/RCA (Y / Pb / Pr) plugs.
  • Mini USB – PC connection to access its hard disk
  • 2 x USB – USB sockets for connecting a pen drive, external hard disk or optical drive.
  • R-SMA – For attaching the included Wi-Fi aerial or 3rd party 802.11b/g aerial with an R-SMA connection.

The unit does not have any exhaust fan, yet remains cool to the touch.  Apart from a faint spin-up sound of its HDD, the unit appears to be completely silent, at least in our environment.  If the front power LEDs were not present, it would be difficult to tell whether the unit is running apart from in a very silent room.

Finally, let’s take a look at the remote control:

The remote control is quite small.  While the remote contains a wide range of direct-access buttons, we found the top buttons quite cramped from our usage throughout the review.  For example, try finding the “Menu” button above. 

Even after we got an idea where all the buttons where, we still often ended up pressing the wrong button at times, such as “TV Out” instead of the “All Media” button.  The buttons do not glow or illuminate in the dark, which is where we really found it most awkward to use apart from the regular navigation operations in the middle.