Store and play files over your home network
Adding storage to a home network can be as simple as plugging a suitable device into the router that connects the network to the Internet.
A network-attached storage (Nas) device, or network hard disk, looks like a standard hard disk but it is shared between all the computers and acts as a repository for documents, videos, music, images and backups.
Verbatim’s 1TB Mediashare is described as a 'storage server' because it offers more features, not least the ability to send audio or video directly to media players, games consoles, media streamers and other devices that cannot handle the source files directly. You could use it, for instance, to store videos and stream them for viewing on your TV.
And you can access Mediashare from anywhere outside the home by pointing your web browser at a password-protected gateway site. Mediashare will also let you email friends, inviting them to view or download selected images or video. For an annual $20 (£13), Verbatim will forward these to sites such as Flickr or Youtube, and more unspecified features are promised for this optional subscription.
Mediashare is one of the more elegant devices of its class on the market, with a brushed aluminium case clearly inspired by Apple’s style. On the front is a single USB socket: put a memory stick or hard disk into this, press the button and the contents will be copied to the Mediashare.
Two USB ports on the back can be used either for extra storage or for a printer that will be shared for anyone on the network. There is also a socket for an external hard disk that can be used to back up the Mediashare’s own disk.
The initial setup is simple. You plug in the power and network cables and run some software that sets Mediashare up to appear as a disk on your PC and can set it to automatically back it up.
Mediashare’s extra features, such as controlling who has access to what files, are accessed through a web browser using an interface that looked good but was awkward to use – the Help button, for instance, simply takes you to a Verbatim website where you are left to search for the manual.
The manual is not well organised and lacks necessary information. It hardly mentions Mac computers, which the Mediashare is supposed to support, and we had to contact the company to discover that the device can be used to back up Macs or PCs but not both.
It’s unfortunate that these problems mar a device that functions well once you have figured out how to use it.
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A versatile product at a fair price, if you shop around for discounts, but Verbatim should have done more to help the user Good points Looks good; silent in use Bad points Inadequate documentation and clumsy interface
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