Were we ever to stage a war, once we'd finished wiping the Earth clean of pushchairs and clipart, the next object of our agression would be S-video.
It's vastly inferior to the RGB SCART sockets found on most half-decent UK TVs, but because it's the most widely-used interface in the US, it's everywhere. Ever tried connecting your PC to a telly via S-video? Yeuch.
So, it's a massive relief to discover a standalone (there's no networking - just copy files from your PC over USB 2.0) hard drive video player with a SCART port built in. With DIVX, XVID and VOB support, on paper the HV355U is the perfect portable media box.
'Perfect' was not the description that we used the morning after a night's testing on our DIVX collection. Its built-in fan made more of a racket than a small form factor PC - you'd get used to it, but it's initially very distracting.
The video picture, despite looking reasonably crisp over SCART, suffered slightly from the banding effect often seen on video devices with a low colour depth and poor contrast - still better than S-video from a PC, though.
The picture is superior over its component video connection, but how many people use that? The inclusion of digital audio outputs is very welcome, however.
The interface is very basic, offering no thumbnails or tag reading, so you're often left with a lot of miXEd_cASe_tEXT_wIth_ UNDERsCORes_, depending on the naming conventions you use for your media files, but it's straightforward enough to use.
Its portability aside, given that you could construct a video-capable media centre box for the same price as the 400GB model, the fan and picture quality failings mean our wildest SCART dreams have not yet come true. Alec Meer