Conclusion & Final notes
The Mediagate MG-25 fulfils its promise to be a portable media player. The interface, with one or two exceptions, is professional and easy to use and brings digital media files firmly into the living room. The quality of video and audio is as good as a DVD player, and supports most MPEG4 codecs allowing you to store a library of movies and music in one compact unit.
The player would be ideal for conferences and holidays, or any situation in which you want to watch movies, but don’t want to use a computer, or a DVD player and a stack of DVDs. The price is about three times that of a standard external drive case, but is not excessive, and the ability to store and playback all your movies more than makes up for it.
To conclude, the Mediagate MG-25 is an excellent little device, and will definitely be receiving a lot of use in the future.
Points of note:
- The Mediagate MG-25 is produced by AL Tech of Korea, and is also available with different brandings (the H&B AV-512, for example). It has not been tested, but the firmware of other brands should be identical. Maybe someone can confirm?
- Depending on drive, the unit can occasionally make clicking noises. This is not a fault of the MG-25 itself, but just an inherent problem in using a hard drive.
- Directories marked as read-only do not appear in file browser
- Some bugs exist, notably incorrect filename ordering, and some timestamps being reported as 1970
- An RGB mode appears in the display configuration, but is not selectable. Viewing the literature for the H&B AV-512, they do state that RGB output is available.
- The H&B AV-512 also states that subtitles in SSA, SMI, and SUB format are acceptable. Maybe there is a difference in firmware, or maybe the tested subtitle files were invalid.
- The file browser does not wrap from bottom to top. This is a nuisance when it comes to navigating large directories.
- The device really needs more customisation options. For example, it would be wonderful to see the option to load background graphics from the disk, rather than the firmware.
- Mediagate MG-25 – AL Tech Product page
- Mediagate MG-350HD – The MG-25’s big brother, with ethernet and wireless. Super!
- John Blade – Another review of the MG-25
- Digitalall – UK supplier
- Modix 3510 – A similar player for 3.5″ drives
- DVDdecrytper – Used to rip a DVD to the MG-25
- DrDivX – Used to convert a ripped DVD into a DivX file
- H&B AV-512 – Appears to be a rebranded MG-25
Extra notes after extended usage
I’ve used the MG-25 pretty extensively for the past few weeks and have noted a few more problems.
- If you select ‘time search’ while fast forwarding, the ‘fast forwarding’ text remains overlaid on the video and cannot be removed.
- Audio synchronisation problems were found in several files, although these tended to be very heavily compressed videos.
- Major video problems were found in some episodes of The Simpsons. The video would slow and stutter and reach a point where you couldnt progress any further. It was sometimes possible to bypass this by stopping the video and restarting. No problems were found playing the files on a PC, and the encoding is identical to ones used in other files that work perfectly. Maybe the MG-25 just doesn’t like The Simpsons.
- File time correctly displays on NTFS drive
- MP4 audio playback
- Custom background picture
- Subtitles on MPEG files
- MP3 playback while viewing photos
It’s nice to see that LG have picked up on the device as a big company may ensure future updates.
Version 1.4 firmware
The AL Tech website has firmware version 1.4.0. The changes for this version include:
- Better playback & navigation with MPEG/VOB
- Better file navigation (including the ability to jump from the top to bottom of the list!)
- Improved subtitle support
- Improved video output for 25 fps movies
Version 1.4.6 firmware
Proof that the MG-25 is still being updated – a new firmware (as of 10th April, 2006). Not a lot of changes here:
- Memory function, recalling where you last played
- JPEG fade effect
- ‘Unknown bugs modified
I’m not sure what the last point means – they accidentally fixed some bugs but didn’t realize it?
Version 1.4.7 firmware
Although mislabelled in their index as 1.4.6 firmware for an MG25P (whatever that is), this is 1.4.7:
- Repeat mode
- ‘Unknown bugs cured’
You gotta love those unknown bugs!
Version 1.4.8 firmware
Updates are still going strong on the MG-25, even though it is several years old now. The latest addition promises these changes:
- Fix MP3 play error
- Forward/rewind in increments of 10s, 60s, and 10 minutes by pressing 1, 2, and 3
- Control subtitle position
- Option to remove slideshow background music
- Can change display colour when choosing files
- Start/stop noise removed (!)
Version 1.4.9 firmware
A bug fix release
- Random play
- Fixes non-working play button when enter is used to play a movie
- Fix playing of two ISO movies
- Display version number in setup menu
Version 1.5.0 firmware
- Repeat function added for audio. (Use repeat key on remote control)
- Changed color for currently playing MP3 file
- MP4 File bug fixed