An HD Ready media player, the compact Linux-based MX-780HD can store media locally on a self-installed HDD.

This isn't included, but FAT32/NTFS-formatted drives of up to 1 terabyte in size are supported.

Networked storage

After the drive is installed, the box can be plugged into a PC via USB; it's then recognised as an external drive and your media can be copied to it.

However, the MX-780HD is also a networkable media player - built-in are wi-fi and a 100Mbps Ethernet port. It doesn't support UPNP/DLNA compliant servers (instead it seeks out shared folders on a network PC).

Media content is categorised - music, movies and photos - with a friendly handset-driven menu system.

It works reasonably well - the video and audio performance can be quite good - and edges us a step closer to the 'ideal' media player. But we're not quite there yet...

Highs

The Falcon offers plenty of AV connectivity - component, HDMI, composite, S-video, analogue stereo and coaxial/optical digital - plus three USB 2.0 ports, two of which operate in 'host' mode (for playback from external memory devices). Media support is wide, including MPEG-2 video, MP3, WMA, DivX, XviD and JPEG. HD WMV/MPEG-2/DivX/XviD content (up to 720p, plus 1080i MPEG-2) can also be played. The digital audio outputs have a 'pass-through' mode for Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1 soundtracks.

Lows

Wi-fi capability is poor. You have to enter details manually as opposed to displaying a list of available connections. The unit also crashes from time to time, and the cooling fan rumbles a bit.