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SMC SMCWMR-AG EZ-Stream Wireless Multimedia Receiver
Page 3 - Features and Conclusion
Author: Philip Lam (Phirewerkz)
Editor: Dan Podhola (WebMasterP)
Date: February 28, 2004
Category: Hardware
Options: Printable Version 12 pt Times New Roman 10 pt Times New Roman 12 pt Tahoma 10 pt Tahoma

One problem that some may encounter is choppy video or skipping music. Since the receiver buffers the media directly from the computer, data is constantly being sent to receiver. As a result, the speed in which the data is sent depends greatly on hard drive speed, network adapter and CPU Speed. This can be seen with Pentium III, 256 MB SDRAM computer that was tested with. When MP3s were being played, I decided to scroll through the music list. Once the cursor was at the bottom and needed to refresh the next list, the music stopped for a very short period of time until the music list data could be sent to the receiver.

None of this happened on the AthlonXP2000+, using 256 MB PC3200 DDR RAM with the same hard drive. In conclusion, the SMCWMR-AG depends on the computerís speed to buffer media, which may be a slight problem for those who own below-average speed computers.

One of the greatest things about this device is the ability to receive data signals from 802.11 a/g wireless devices, which covers a wide range of wireless signals. This means that the consumer does not have to worry about buying the wrong network adapter that may be incompatible.

On the note of versatility, the SMCWMR-AG can also play media from different computers on the same network, provided that the Media Server software is installed on those computers. This is a great convenience for large networks in which media is needed from all computers.

Playing Music
Playing Music
Searching for Upgrades
Searching for Upgrades

One improvement I would like to see is the ability to include visualizations for music because the screen only displays the background when music is playing. Also, the receiver only plays videos with the MPEG extension, and nothing else. Hopefully this will be solved with the internet update feature that allows the receiver to search for new updates on the web every time it is turned on. However, after speaking with SMC support, it was hard to tell whether or not these file formats would be eventually implemented.

In conclusion, I am very impressed whit this device. It allows easy access to computer media with a touch of a button, therefore saving time and space. It is an excellent addition to any home entertainment system for viewing vacation movies and pictures saved on your computer. At the same time, businesses can use this for presentation purposes. Although the SMCWMR-AG has a limited music/movie extension support, the internet update feature will hopefully compensate and solve this problem once these devices are seen more and more in the market. If you don't mind having wires all over the place, the SMCWMR-AG can also operate under a wired network. The wide range of support for 802.11 wireless standards also makes this device very versatile and fitting for anyone's home entertainment system.

However, the SMCWMR-AG has quite the hefty price tag, with an MSRP of $250 US. It would be a great deal if consumers were told that more file formats would be compatible with this device, but the SMC support does not give any indication of this at all. Because this has a significant impact on the overall versatility of the product, I give this product a 4.

Final Score

4 out of 5 Weird Blue Faces

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