Playing media files
Now we come to the fun part!
Before any media can be played, the drive must first be disconnected from a computer. This is an unfortunate, but understandable, limitation of the system and it does prevent the unit being attached to a USB-Ethernet device. Note that attaching the drive to a computer will instantly stop anything that is being played, and disables audio and video output. Ouch.
When not attached to a computer, the MG-25 always requires the power supply. Again, due to the small supply size, this is not an issue when it comes to portability.
The remote control is needed to operate the unit, and it is not possible to play any content without it. The unit will not even power-up until the power button is pressed. This firmly places the device within the consumer domain.
It is likely that first-time usage will result in no video output. While this may be worrying and lead to thoughts of a damaged unit, it is simply that the display configuration is incorrect. This is easily fixed by repeatedly pressing the F1 button until a display is viewable. Once everything is correct, this can be stored into firmware by pressing the setup key.
When configured correctly, the MG-25 displays a short loading screen, and then finishes on the video menu page. Along the top are four tabs, one for each of the three media types (video, audio, and pictures), and a separate tab for playlists.
The remote control is used to select the appropriate media type. Information is displayed as the type is changed, but unfortunately this contains badly worded English, and makes the interface feel more like a computer. A consumer certainly does not want to be told how to upgrade the firmware on the first screen they see!
This aside, selecting a media type brings up the file-browsing screen where the partitions, folders, and files can be navigated. This is very nicely presented and is simple enough for anyone to use.
There appears to be a slight problem with the ordering of video files, as can be seen below. Episode 8 is ordered first, followed by everything else. Hopefully this is just a bug in the latest firmware and will be fixed later. The problem does not exist for other file types.
Note the incorrect time-stamp – that episode was not made in 1970!
Splitting the system into media types is neat, but also counter-intuitive. It is a nuisance to have to keep pressing the ‘Media type’ button to swap between file types, and for a non-technical user this may be a source of much confusion.