Emtec P800 multimedia HDD recorder out for £279


So, you know what it’s called and you know how much it costs but the question is, what exactly is a multimedia HDD box and what can it do for me/you/anyone?

Everything and nothing is the answer. On the surface, it’s an excellent product. It’s small, it’s portable, the 250GB HDD detaches while the flash drive in the main body of the unit will keep on recording regardless. You can connected it via just about any cable you’ve got to whatever kind of screen you like and you can plug in all manner of USBs and SD cards to play off or record onto.

The trouble with the Emtec P800, though, is the detail but, then, that is reflected in the very reasonable price. It’s not perfect yet and they admit it. It doesn’t play as many file types as it should. There’s no support for MP4 and AAC which wipes out a lot of people’s audio and video files in one stroke. The EPG allows you to set recordings of live TV onto whichever disc you like but there’s no series linking possible.

Worst of all, though, is the music dump that is just that. There’s no cataloguing function and the tracks are listed by whatever weird and wonderful names you Kazaad them under back in the day. It’s not the most user friendly box in the world.

On the plus side it offers web radio via Wi-Fi, twin tuners – digital and analogue – and you can even use it to “back up” your DVDs. Nice.

From first inspection, I’d say you’re getting good value for money here but a few pence more might source something that doesn’t bug. At the same time, I fully expect Emtec to get it right in time for the next generation.

Buy it here

Survey: DVD piracy on the rise in the UK


A new survey suggests that DVD piracy is on the increase in the UK. Armed with a wheelbarrow of scepticism, we bring you the results from an analysis conducted by Futuresource Consulting: 36% of Brits (who responded to the survey) have copied DVDs within the last six months compared to 25% last year. In that time, an average of 22 movies were copied, including 13 new releases, and a “significant portion” of people were copying from rental and borrowed DVDs.

Toshiba launching wide range of new DVD players and combos


Toshiba has announced ten new DVD models, including five standalone DVD players, three DVD recorders (two with hard drives), and even two with VCRs built-in, for those of you still attached to tape.

Three standard DVD players — the SD-180E, SD-185E, and SD-280E — offer usual functionality you’d expect, including JPEG viewing, DivX playback, and MP3 support.

Taking a step up, the SD-480E and SD-580E offer upscaling of standard DVDs to 1080p high definition, feature HDMI outputs to connect to a suitable TV, and have Toshiba’s REGZA-Link which synchronises compatible equipment using a single remote control unit.