I’ve shunned disc players in favor of digital media players and I think more people are embracing that notion these days. There are now a lot of media players available in the market from known brands such as Western Digital and Asus to lesser-known but equally capable brands.
The Mede8er is one such brand and I’ve been using their MED500X2 or the X2 media player for quite some time now and I’m absolutely liking it. The X2 is a complete media player that can house an internal drive and has an Ethernet port that could transform the player into a Network Access Storage (NAS). It is developed by Sanji Electronics from South Africa and has a strong suit of followers that are really enthusiasts so a visit to their forum will provide really insightful if you ever need to ask something.
The MED500X2 is currently already considered a top-of-the line media player having the Realtek chip and here’s our review in case you need more info before you get one.
Prior to using this X2, I already have the AC Ryan PlayOnHD, similar looking media box and feature set but with an older Realtek chip.
What I like here are the buttons at the front of the player. The AC Ryan has a minimalist look with the Power button smack at the center and there were times I wished I can control my movie physically in when I ran out of batteries in the middle of the night.
At the right side you’ll find an SD card slot, a USB slot for your portable drives and another USB 3.0 port you will use if you wish to connect the X2 directly to your PC. Left side is bare but the back is chockfull of possibilities. There’s composite and component connections as well as an HDMI out, LAN port, optical and co-axial audio out and another USB port.
The remote control looks complicated but often times you would only need the basic media controls and the navigation buttons. For the rest, you would need to read the manual to figure out what they do. I wish the remote is more streamlined.
So what do you get out of the box? Aside from the player and the remote, there’s the composite and component cables, AC adapter, an HDMI cable (other players don’t include this), USB cable, screws for your internal drive and also a carrying bag.
Installing an internal drive
You need to provide your own hard disk for the X2. If you don’t have one or not planning to use the player as a network drive, don’t bother getting this player. They have a smaller one with the same features except for the internal drive support. According to Sanji, the X2 can support up to 3TB (NTFS only) 3.5″ disk drives. If you want FAT32, don’t go higher than 2TB. For HFS+, only USB drives are supported.
Anyway, installing an internal drive is pretty easy. Just open the panel at the bottom and screw your drive firmly onto it then attach the power and SATA cable.
I would suggest using a fresh drive or a drive that you won’t bother being formatted. The Mede8er needs to format your drive if you wish to use it to download your torrents. Formatting is optional though so if you can’t part with your files, that’s fine but you can’t use the X2 for torrent downloads.
One thing’s for sure here. Sanji Electronics didn’t invest a lot on the design of the user interface. Don’t get me wrong. It is simple yet intuitive and I actually like how navigation works better than my AC Ryan but it’s definitely no eyecandy.
I like the Favorites menu where it stores your shortcuts so you don’t have to dig deep into your disk to access your recent downloads or your TV show folder.
I also like the 5 different folder views you can do here. There’s the option to show a preview while browsing through your files and also a list view which is pretty useful when browsing through your TV episodes with those long filenames.
If you’re the OC type when it comes to your videos, you may want to create cover art from them using Y2M so browsing through your videos will be a much more pleasant experience.
For my X2 setup, I had it connected to my router via LAN cable (WiFi is possible but you need the dongle for it) and enabled Samba on it so that all devices connected to the router can access the files in its internal drive. Even my Android phone and iPad can pull my TV episodes from it but a wireless N router (possibly dual-band) is needed for acceptable transfer speed.
Navigating through the UI although simple was not a smooth thing. At times you will encounter a teeny bit of lag especially when accessing the internal hard drive full of files. Same thing when using it to access the internet, you wouldn’t know if it’s loading or what.
Ok so how does the X2 perform as a media player? Well for one it plays every video I throw at it. AVIs with newer codecs, MKVs, MP4s, MOVs, well that’s the limit of my collection but it can also play DATs, ISOs and IFOs, VOBs and also FLVs up to 1080p. Never did I get any problem with my movies except for a movie which has an .IDX subtitle. I had to convert it into a SUB or SRT for it to work.
A really useful function here is the navigation option when viewing. Aside from fast forwarding, you can also jog to a specific point or key-in the time in the movie you want to go to with the nifty movie navigation control.
The Mede8er X2 can also access the internet but it’s not fun without the use of a wireless keyboard. There’s an onscreen keyboard but typing using the remote is cumbersome. Available sites you can visit includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube XL, Flickr, and a handful of news sites and podcasts. Internet Radio via Shoutcast too. I found myself watching clips after clips of Family Guy on YouTube using this player and it was smooth especially on a speedy internet.
Yes, you can finally turn off your PC when you sleep to download your torrents because the Mede8er MED500X2 can take care of that at a lower power consumption. The X2 uses BT Transmission as its torrent client and the speed will match the one you are getting on your PC.
You access BT Transmission via a web browser from your PC so you can load your .torrent files onto it. Once loaded and started, you can leave the Mede8er running although it’s not advisable to view your HD videos while downloading because it will bog down the player. You might want to pause your downloads first but if you’re only uploading, playing your videos work just fine.
As a digital media player, the Mede8er MED500X2 is a full-featured, play-anything device. For a person who downloads a lot of videos and shares it to the whole household, this one would be a versatile device. It also doubles as a backup file server for the family if you slap an internal drive onto it.
If you can look past the uninspired UI (which is easy), you will be rewarded with a media player that you would definitely want hooked up on your primary TV. Now I’m not alienating other brands since there are others having the same feature set (including AC Ryan). I’m just calling it as it is and I didn’t run into any trouble with the MED500X2 except for when it hanged while I was downloading a lot of files while watching an HD video.
The price of the Mede8er MED500X2 varies from Php8,500 to Php10,000 depending on how far the store is from the authorized distributor but I saw a certified TipidPC seller selling it for Php8,200. Still cheaper than the older AC Ryan PlayOnHD. If you want to go branded, the WD TV Live Hub is the closest thing and comes with a built-in 1TB drive.
|Mede8er MED500X2 Specs:|
|Realtek RTD1185- 256MB SPI Flash – 256MB DDR2 SDRAM|
|3.5″ SATA Internal Hard Drive Bay up to 3TB compatible SATA2|
|Built in 40mm cooling fan – TPE mounts for low noise|
|Network – Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps|
|Video Formats Supported: AVI / BDMV Light / BDISO Light / MKV / TS / TP / TRP / M2TS / MPG / MP4 / MOV / M4V / VOB / ISO / IFO / DAT / WMV / ASF / RM / RMVB / FLV resolution up to 720p / 1080i / 1080p|
|Video Codecs Supported: MPEG-1 / MPEG-2 / MPEG-4 SP /ASP /AVC (H.264) / XviD / DivX / WMV9 (VC-1) / RealVideo 8/9/10 (up to 720P)|
|Audio Codec Supported: Mp3 / Mp2 / OGG Vorbis / APE – APE Cue /PCM / LPCM / AAC / RA / Dolby True HD – DTS MA Passthrough on HDMI Dolby AC3 Downmix & Passthrough / DTS Downmix & Passthrough / FLAC up to 24bit 192Khz (HDMI & Co-Ax Digital only) Flac Cue / WAV, WMA Standard (DRM, & Advanced Profile not supported)|
|File System Supported: FAT32 (up to 2TB), NTFS (up to 3TB), MAC HFS+ (USB Drives only)|
|Video output resolution: NTSC, PAL, 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1080p. 24hz|
|Input / Output|
If you wish to see the other stores where you can get the Mede8er MED500X2 as well as their other players, you can check the bottom of this post.