[H]'s Vantec AVOX|Jukebox Evaluation

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
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Vantec AVOX|Jukebox Evaluation : A portable hard disk drive that doubles as a media jukebox? We take a look at this unique convergence contraption and give you the low down on how it performs.

Vantec has done a wonderful job of creating a useful, reliable solution, and I look forward to seeing if they continue down this path. It'd be awesome to see a product from them that that utilizes a full size hard drive for larger storage capacity, take advantage of a higher end Sigma Designs chip that enables HD media playback, include wireless access for easy media transfer, and a simple LCD display panel to show useful information.

Congratulations to Vantec on garnering such a high score on this unique product.
 

Vorkronor

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Good work bringing word about such a nice gadget!

It's a pitty, they did not include a few lossless formats, or at least FLAC. With the capacity of a harddrive, there would be no need to reencode all my music collection (yes, most of it is in FLAC) to hear it on a this device.
 

CrimandEvil

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I'm rather suprised to see that it supports VOB/IFO and OGG, thats pretty cool. :)
I don't use FLAC but I wonder if Vantec could add support via some firmware upgrade later down the line?

Anyone else find it a bit odd that it supports only composite and component (BTW Kyle, you might want to put a comma in there between the two) but not svideo? I also find it curious that it lists Mac support but not for AAC audio.

The included remote control is functional, but basic. It has all of the buttons you need to navigate the AVOX|Jukebox quickly. It should be noted that I had to lean forward a few times on my couch to get IR reception. Expect about 7 or 8 feet distance from the Jukebox to be the maximum the remote system can handle, which is a bit disappointing in my book.
I wonder if it would be possible for Vantec to implement some sort of firmware upgrade to enable the use of Universal remotes with it?

Reading the description I sort of thought this product was kind of like a Hauppauge MediaMVP (Review here) but with the added functionality of being a portable HDD (freak'n awesome I'd say) but I think it sort of loses out by being more of the portable HDD then a jukebox/media player. What I think it's really missing is the ability to stream media to it out of the box but, honestly, I do think that being able to play/hold ripped DVDs adds something to the party. Kind of a shame to see that it uses a laptop HDD though, for something that can play back ripped DVDs I would have thought that they'd see the advantage in using larger 3.5 HDDs.

I wonder if we'll see any really cool mods for it like there are for Xboxes and the MVP. :)
 

IDversusEGO

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interesting piece of hardware. I agreee with crim and want to see some mods on these.
 

codename47

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yeah this "could" save some money and headache from building an all new htpc for another tv I have laying around... it is a nice sony 27" trinitron tv but I went with a 52" HDTV so it kind of sits in a corner unused at the moment... But I think everyone is hitting on some nice improvements like streaming, and the lack hard drive space... but I could put a lot of cartoons on a 80GB hard drive but really if you start doing .ifo files for dvds your space is going drop drastically...

I think the article was clear if you need it then you'll know it... I might try one after a while and see how it works... or the editor could always see if he could hook up some fellow [H] members with some samples :)
 
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Here is a couple links to the Saratech AVIX that uses 3.5" drives...

Sarotech site

USBGear site

From the specs write-up this unit uses the same chipset as the reviewed unit. It appears to have all the same features, but is able to use 3.5" drives. Imagine a 400GB drive filled with XviD movies. With the correct incoding you should be able to get ~150 to 250 movies.

I'm going to seriously consider this for my home theatre project.
 

Brian Boyko

[H] Consumer Editor
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I'd honestly like to know if it can play Xvid with Qpel. I used to have a Phillips 642 DVD player but was dissapointed when I found that I had alot of Xvid with Qpel files to play.

Currently, I'm using a 3 year old laptop to play my media files but this thing looks like it might upscale better. C'est la vie, we're still using a 19 inch television, so in order to get the most of this device, I'd need a bigger TV.

I also want to point out that if Vantec can come up with a way to add an optional mini screen this could be a serious iPod-killer. I don't understand why Apple would limit development on the video iPod to only H.264 and only one particular screen.
 

valve1138

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I want one. But I have no idea what I would do with it!

The 3.5" version looks really good.
 
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That MediaGate unit looks really good. If you could pair it with a Lacie 1TB as a slave you could have one heckuva media player (if that is what they mean by having a USB slave port).

I'll have to see if anyone has done a review of these units, as well as find out what the GMC with Qpel is for XviD (such as what option enables & disables it).
 

CrimandEvil

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valve1138 said:
I want one. But I have no idea what I would do with it!

The 3.5" version looks really good.
I would load it with alot of stuff and bring it over to my friends house (I haven't put much time in running an FTP server off of my PC so that she could DL them).
 

Chris_Morley

Former [H] Consumer Managing Ed.
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TheRealStyro said:
That MediaGate unit looks really good. If you could pair it with a Lacie 1TB as a slave you could have one heckuva media player (if that is what they mean by having a USB slave port).

I'll have to see if anyone has done a review of these units, as well as find out what the GMC with Qpel is for XviD (such as what option enables & disables it).
One thing I completely forgot to mention about the Vantec is that when you plug in the USB connection to a PC you lose video connectivity...sorry about forgetting to put that in there...
 

HereticX

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Morley said:
You didn't know that there's like 2.5 companies in over seas that makes everything we buy?? ;)
Actually I did know, but thanks for asking. :) The company I work for has had the 2.5's in for months, and just got the 3.5's in last week. Unfortunately we don't sell online, just to local shops in the seattle wa area.

TheRealStyro said:
That MediaGate unit looks really good. If you could pair it with a Lacie 1TB as a slave you could have one heckuva media player (if that is what they mean by having a USB slave port).

I'll have to see if anyone has done a review of these units, as well as find out what the GMC with Qpel is for XviD (such as what option enables & disables it).
From what I understand, the 3.5" is a slave device, you can't plug a usb drive into it and have it stream from the drive.
 

Jason_Wall

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Very neat-o Christopher. Nice writing, as well.

One thing I might suggest for the future contraptions is that on the introduction page, describe what the hell it is and what it does. I was mid-way down the second page of the evaluation before I got a good idea of what this device did. Maybe just enumerate the functions like it does on the retail box.
 

valve1138

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Showed this to one of my friends. He's buying one to bring media and such around to his friends houses while he's there.
 
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From what I understand, the 3.5" is a slave device, you can't plug a usb drive into it and have it stream from the drive.
When I re-read the specs I came to the conclusion that the USB port will make the device a slave to a PC and not to allow a slave device to be added daily-chain style.

Still, add a 400/500 GB drive and fill it with AVIs & DVDs. Very sweet devices.

Now to find a reputable dealer/distributer.
 

Chris_Morley

Former [H] Consumer Managing Ed.
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DNA Doc said:
Very neat-o Christopher. Nice writing, as well.

One thing I might suggest for the future contraptions is that on the introduction page, describe what the hell it is and what it does. I was mid-way down the second page of the evaluation before I got a good idea of what this device did. Maybe just enumerate the functions like it does on the retail box.
Reading comprehension FTW!

First page:

"In a nutshell, we have a compact, external storage solution from Vantec that, in addition to being able to store files on its 2.5" hard drive, has the necessary hardware and outputs to play back media on your HDTV."

;)
 

Nelis

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It's no big thing but the final score was not added up properly...

8 - 10
9 - 10
10 -10
8 - 10

does not equate to a 9.5...

it should be a 9... (or literally an 8.7)
 

Chris_Morley

Former [H] Consumer Managing Ed.
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Nelis said:
It's no big thing but the final score was not added up properly...

8 - 10
9 - 10
10 -10
8 - 10

does not equate to a 9.5...

it should be a 9... (or literally an 8.7)
Our bottom line scores are not tied exclusively to any particular weighing of the breakdown of said score. In this case I valued the overall Performance of the unit more than any of its shortcomings, which were few and minor.
 

Jason_Wall

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Morley said:
Reading comprehension FTW!

First page:

"In a nutshell, we have a compact, external storage solution from Vantec that, in addition to being able to store files on its 2.5" hard drive, has the necessary hardware and outputs to play back media on your HDTV."

;)
Indeed. I was speaking of a slightly more elaborate description. If you'd rather keep people reading to find out what it does, that's cool.
 

gixser

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Just stumbled across this device the other day at Fry's and was intrigued. Have there been any updated firmware releases that open up more functionality? (Stored playlists would be nice.)

Are there any copmpetitors that I can use my spare 80gb laptop drive in?
 

SJetski71

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Just stumbled across this device the other day at Fry's and was intrigued. Have there been any updated firmware releases that open up more functionality? (Stored playlists would be nice.)

Are there any copmpetitors that I can use my spare 80gb laptop drive in?
Not sure how well supported the Vantec Jukebox's are but the Mediagate MG-35's are one of the few inexpensive media players that have occasional firmware updates, an online user support base, USB 2.0 and lan capability, and just work well in general.

click here for some deal info: http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1030628092&postcount=176
 

gixser

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That looks to be a lot better than the Avox jukebox. Unfortunately I didn't see it until after I had purchased the Avox and commenced an 8 week business trip. Oh well, the Avox is working as I need it right now.

One thing I absolutely hate about the Avox, however, is the cheap retention clip used at the back. The back cover spends more of its time at the bottom of my bag than on the back of the case. I would have taken it back but I needed the device more than the back cover! :p
 
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