At a Glance
Reasonably priced media streamer has good file support but a poor user interface and remote.
The MediaGate MG-450HD is a high-definition media streamer with 1080p and HDMI support aimed at those with large video, photo, and music collections. An internal drive bay and dual external USB ports let you store media files right in or attached to the streamer, eliminating the need to keep a PC connected 24/7 just for media access. You can even play files from an attached optical or flash drive, including DVDs.
While a drive is not required, we recommend installing one to get the most out of the product. You can use any standard 3.5-inch SATA disk, and once installed, you can connect the MediaGate directly to your PC like an external drive to copy files over. It also has 802.11g wireless and 100-megabytes-per-second ethernet networking, and is directly comparable to the Mvix MX-780HD in features.
Like the Mvix, it has little Web-based media streaming support other than Internet radio. You can stream media from the internal or external drive, or from your PC, and a wide variety of file formats are supported, including AVI, WMV, MP4, and VOB video; MP3, OGG, WAV and WMA audio; and JPG, PNG, and BMP photos.
Setting up the MediaGate was unnecessarily painful. Our first unit would not start up at all, and initially we thought the replacement was faulty too, since nothing showed up when we connected it via HDMI. But we got it working by first using the supplied composite video cables to access the user interface, changing the output setting to HDMI, and then reattaching it via HDMI. We also set up an encrypted wireless connection. This was not easy using the supplied remote, which has tiny buttons with even tinier type, no letter keys and a slow response time. Similarly, while files copied onto an attached USB hard drive played with no problem, we had a lot of permissions issues for accessing media files stored on our PC. We ended up just moving them to our Public folder.
Overall, the MediaGate is a capable streamer that hits the hardware high notes at a much lower price than the Mvix , but implementation is lacking, as is Web-based video playback. Rough and buggy interfaces are a theme in many of the media streamers we've looked at, suggesting it's much easier to put the hardware together than the software.