QNAP Network Media Player NMP-1000P Review

November 12, 2010 | 08:34

Tags: #htpc #media-center #media-streaming #performance #pictures #review #tests #video #video-streaming #youtube

Companies: #blu-ray #qnap

QNAP NMP-1000P: Software

Just like its NAS products, QNAP's software is certainly well refined - everything we tried worked perfectly and the page transitions move smoothly and naturally.

There's the usual video, music and pictures to choose from, as well as the all-catching option we'd only ever use. It's intuitive to navigate to USB thumb drives, the internal hard drive or network/internet streams, however we found the device really needs some form of caching, because we had to reload the same data every time we revisited the same pages. From a hard drive that maybe acceptably fast, but querying 30 different internet streams takes considerably more time.

You can't add your own favourite RSS feeds or TV streams either, and we couldn't even get the NMP-1000P to connect to other PC's shared drives. It constantly requested a password despite there not being one set. We contacted QNAP to ask why but despite being told and engineer would get back to us, we never received a reply.

QNAP Network Media Player NMP-1000P Review QNAP NMP-1000P: Software and Conclusion QNAP Network Media Player NMP-1000P Review QNAP NMP-1000P: Software and Conclusion
QNAP's software interface

QNAP also needs the option to preview the media currently selected as well: unfortunately not everyone names their files that well. ACRyan PlayOn!'s do this and it's extremely helpful to have the file automatically play a thumbnail after ~1-2 seconds of sitting the selection box on the filename.

The remote still quite good, if a little button stiff, but it's in desperate need of a more obvious 'back' button. The left pointing arrow does the same thing but it's not immediately apparent and we found it doesn't work in absolutely everything. On the plus side though, QNAP has made it so you can use a USB keyboard to input text options, instead of resorting to selecting each letter slowly via the remote. This is great for setting up things like network shares and internet address'.

The HTTP and torrent download clients are basic at best. We tried out the torrent client but found simple functions like removing or pausing torrents doesn't actually work and it cannot be administered directly either, only by the web interface. This is on top of the fact that it's very slow to work too.

Setting the NMP-1000P into 'NAS mode' when pressing the off button leaves the bit-torrent and HTTP download services running though, so if you've the time to wait, having an 'sub-11W' machine pull in your downloads is a tempting option versus a respectively hungrier HTPC.

QNAP Network Media Player NMP-1000P Review QNAP NMP-1000P: Software and Conclusion
Click to enlarge

Conclusion

The NMP-1000P exhibits a fantastic build quality and design, with a beautiful visual interface that others should aspire to. It played absolutely everything we threw at it, but once we started to actually use it the threads became undone and we found notably limitations, or important features like connecting to a network share that just didn't work.

Lack of Gigabit Ethernet is just criminal in this day and age as well. It's actually faster to put large files on fast USB stick and then physically walk them to the NMP-1000P, than use the 100MBit Ethernet option. We'd have given up the PC-to-PC over USB and eSATA feature, just to get that upgrade. Besides, if you have your main PC that close to the TV anyway, why not run a HDMI cable from the second display output instead of buying the NMP-1000P?

The crushing price of the NMP-1000P takes the sweet taste off the initial temptation. You'd have to really want those Wolfson DACs, the VFD and its slightly more refined design to drop the cash. Put up against worthy competitors like the upcoming, and cheaper Boxee Box, or the much cheaper and equally capable ACRyan PlayOn hardware, and it's difficult to see why we'd opt for the QNAP, despite its tempting graces.

  • Build Quality
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  • 10/10
  • Features
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  • 4/10
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  • -
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  • 6/10
Score Guide
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