Stream media or play it from a USB device
The G-Stream looked promising as soon as we got it out of the box – it is slim, small and solidly built, with a brushed metal top that gives it an expensive, stylish look.
It’s designed to sit beneath in a living room and play computer music and video files on the television.
Those files can be stored on a PC elsewhere in the house and the G-Stream will access them over the network, or you can plug in a USB memory key or hard disk, or a memory card (Memory Stick or SD) and play the files from that.
Oddly, the box makes little mention of the product’s network capabilities, concentrating solely on playing from a USB device or memory card. There are also some odd translations which extend into the manual and dented our initial assessment of the product’s style.
Setting it up was easy – just plug in and switch on. A composite cable is supplied, but if you have a large flat-panel TV that will look terrible. There’s a much better HDMI connection which is better, although this didn’t improve things until we realised we had to delve into the settings and change the resolution manually to high definition (it supports everything up to 1080i).
The menus appear on screen and are controlled using the supplied remote unit.
Playing files was easy enough – select your device, then navigate through the menus to find the file to play. The G-Stream doesn’t support many formats, though: it’s fine for audio, with most of the main file types covered, but many of the video files we tried (including common Mov and WMV formats) wouldn’t work, and nor would the high-definition H.264 format. It can display Jpeg and BMP images, and these looked good on-screen.
Setting up the network connection (wired or wireless) was harder. It wasn’t clear which menu options we had to choose, and once we found them the settings were written in unfriendly jargon that could have been a lot clearer.
The G-Stream’s main selling point apart from its looks is its price: at £75 it’s very cheap for a media streamer.
If you are using it for photos, MP3 files and your video is in a compatible format (MPEG, Divx or Xvid) it’s a good deal, but otherwise the hassles will outweigh the positives.
Read more reviews
The lack of video format support makes the G-Stream less attractive Good points Looks great; slim design; easy to install Bad points Doesn’t support many common video formats; hard-to-fathom menu options
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