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Viewsonic VMP74 review

Viewsonic's top-of-the range media streamer boasts internet streaming

For

  • Easy to set up
  • Format support
  • Web browser

Against

  • Expensive
  • Overly busy remote
  • Web apps work best with mouse and keyboard

The VMP74 is the flagship model in Viewsonic's range of media players, boasting an array of internet-enabled bonus features including YouTube, web browsing, radio, RSS feeds and, soon, BBC iPlayer.

It has no built-in storage so you'll need to insert your own flash sticks or portable drives to either its USB or eSATA ports. Or you can stream files from networked storage devices (a PC or NAS drive) using the uPnP or DLNA method or the freeware Samba server software.

Viewsonic has not seen fit to include built-in Wi-Fi so a dongle is required.

The all-black casing has nothing visual up front except a single LED power indicator. Joining the data ports on the rear are an HDMI, combined composite video/stereo phono output and an optical digital audio output with Dolby and DTS passthrough.

The shiny plastic remote looks more like a TV zapper and bristles with buttons – many of them the same size and colour, which is initally intimidating.

A scrolling row of icons akin to a more basic version of Sony's Xross Media Bar makes up the Home Menu. The VMP74 automatically detected Windows and Twonky servers on our PC running Windows Vista as well as our Western Digital MyBookWorld II NAS drive.

It played all the file formats we tried, though HD files took a while to start playing (we used a Netgear wireless N router connected via Ethernet). You can playlist files but video fast-forwarding/rewinding speed tops out at only 16x.

You can use the remote and a virtual keyboard, but using the online features works best with a mouse and keyboard (wireless devices are supported).

You can bookmark sites (Google is included) but it's disappointing to find the YouTube link doesn't take you to the simplified TV-friendly version.

If web-browsing or iPlayer are definitely on your wish-list the VMP74 is one of the better media players available.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNetwork Audio/Video Player
EthernetYes
HDMIYes
Internet StreamingYes
Brand NameViewsonic
Audio FormatsMP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, OGG, WAV
Video FormatsAVI, WMV, MPEG, VOB, IFO, MPEG-4, ASF, TS, TP, M2TS, MOV, H.264, MKV, TRP, MPEG-2, DivX, DivX 3, DivX 4, DivX 5, DivX 6, XviD, VC-1, WMV9, ISO
Scan Format1080p, 480p, 720p
Processor ManufacturerSigma
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMI Version1.3
Number of Digital Optical Outputs1
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Processor ModelSMP8655AD
Height28 mm
Width101 mm
Depth132 mm
Sound SystemDTS, Dolby Digital
Product SeriesVMP
Image FormatsJPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, BMP
Features1080p Upscaling, PC Streaming
ManufacturerViewsonic Corporation
Product ModelVMP74
Product NameVMP74 Network Media Player
Manufacturer Part NumberVMP74
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.viewsoniceurope.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Hot and loud without the heat and noise
The changing face of media requires new ways to integrate this revolution into an existing home viewing experience. Enjoying a library of unlimited music and video content is possible using the ViewSonic VMP74. With no moving parts and generating minimum heat, the VMP74 invisibly integrates into any home cinema environment. In addition to online video sources such as BBC iPlayer and YouTube, the VMP74 connects to social networks such as Flickr and Facebook allowing constant access within a big screen experience. The powerful processor of the VMP performs seamless 1080p up-scaling of most video formats and delivers cinema quality audio.

ProtocolsUPnP
Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)220 g