Ziova Clearstream CS510 High Definition Network Media Player
At a Glance
Ziova CS510 High Definition Network Media Player
The CS510 has nice sound and extras like weather info, but suffers from awkward slide-show viewing.
The Ziova is a pretty competent digital media receiver. Physically, it's an attractive gadget--bigger than an Apple TV but smaller than the wide Netgear and D-Link boxes. The front-panel LCD, which displays one line of scrolling text information such as ID3 tag data and current activity, is big enough to be legible from across the room--a welcome exception to the rule.
Navigating around the Ziova can be both pleasing and annoying. Its colorful home screen is big, bright, and easy to read. The remote control's navigation buttons are big and well situated, but playback buttons are very small and awkwardly placed.
When you watch a slide show, all of the players I looked at will occasionally make you wait a few seconds for the next slide. But whereas the other players keep the last picture on the screen until the next one is ready, the Ziova tells you with its hourglass that you'll just have to wait.
Standard-definition videos were a bit fuzzy, and high-definition ones looked the tiniest bit blocky; but both were perfectly acceptable. The sound was excellent, with only a very slight muddiness preventing it from ranking among the best. Like Netgear's player, it comes with the free Shoutcast Internet radio network and can display weather information.
The Ziova supports 1080i HD and a range of video formats like .iso DVD images and .ifo DVD files. Although the device can work with UPnP servers, it can't stream protected files from Windows Media Player. And like most of the other players that I looked at, it can't play protected iTunes music files.