HTC Media Link review
HTC Media Link reviewT3
Pricy box that adds streaming to your HDTV
The HTC Media link is designed to act as a bridge between your phone and your HDTV, allowing you to stream music and video from your teeny handset to your whopping 40-inch behemoth.
If you've bought your TV recently, you're probably wondering why such a device is necessary - after all, a large portion of HDTVs are able to stream already through DLNA connectivity (the wireless standard that things like your Windows 7 laptop and PS3 adhere to when talking to each other.
But a number of existing of TVs can't stream media from handsets, and that worries HTC; it's put a lot of effort into its 'Connected Media' app on the likes of the HTC Desire HD and the Desire Z, as well as future devices, and it wants to make sure you can easily stream to your home device.
HTC Media Link: Set up
It's pretty simple to set up - plug in your miniHDMI to HDMI cable, connect the microUSB charger, and a little green light tells you that you're ready to go.
The standard HTC logo and boot up, the same as your phone, greets you when you select the right HDMI source, although it's a little jerky.
However, this is where we suspect those that want a very simple to use device might struggle - the unit will by default only allow devices to connect to it via Wi-Fi, meaning you'll have to disconnect your phone from your home router and reconnect to the HTC Media Link.
If you want to change this, you'll need to whip out a PC, connect that to the Media Link too via Wi-Fi, and enter the IP address manually to access the dinky box's settings, where you can connect it to your home network.
For those with more than a modicum of tech knowledge, this is no problem at all, although it takes a few minutes to work out how to do it effectively as the instructions are pretty vague.
Once in, streaming media is as easy as pie though - we're talking hitting a file, choosing to send it to connected media, then watching as it plays on your big screen.
You can also do the same thing by opening the Connected Media application and choosing your files that way. However, a word of warning: best to avoid photos, as you'll watch as the Media Link 'buffers' them every time you want to see a new one... this takes ages and simply isn't really worth showing off your Safari trips.
In addition to the HTC range we mentioned, it is possible to use the Media Link with other devices too. We tried it with the Samsung Galaxy S, for example, and we managed to stream video with relative success.
In the case of the Galaxy S, we used the AllShare program on board - you'll need to download another app to perform the same thing on other devices - Skifta for Android is a good, if very limited, example. The streaming quality wasn't great though - voice sync kept skipping up and down and halfway through our video crashed and wouldn't restart.
HTC Media Link: Conclusion
The Media Link is a good device, built with the same quality as the HTC handet range, with a nice aluminium shell. It will work with any TV featuring an HDMI port, and really extends the functionality.
However, only for HTC phones it seems - other handsets are a mixed bag. In fact performance is so erratic, we can’t recommend you buy this to show video from any of them as the performance is so erratic.
The price is set to be nearly £100 for this unit and to our mind that's too much - it would be more cost effective to buy a dedicated media streamer or even a Sony PS3 to perform the same function. It's very much a luxury item, so be sure you really want to stream media directly to your big screen TV before thinking about a purchase.
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