Noontec MovieHome V8 NAS Media Player Review


There are a number of media streaming devices to choose from on the market and it can be difficult to decide which one best suits your needs.  We have looked a number of impressive devices from AC Ryan in the past which have won our most prestigious awards.
We hadn’t heard of Noontec before we received this product for review but they appear to have a reasonably wide range of products encompassing headphones and Apple accessories as well as a wide range of media players.
Today we are going to look at the Noontec MovieHome V8 NAS media player which boasts an impressive specification.
Specification
  • Hard disk support: USB3.0, 3.5″ SATA I/II (3 TB+)
  • USB input: USB2.0 high speed x2
  • OS Language support: English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Dutch
  • Audio file support: MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, AAC, LPCM, FLAC, AC3, AP3, CUE
  • Video codec: H.264, MKV, WMV9, MPEG 1/2/4, Xvid, FLV, RM/RMVB
  • Video file support: MKV, TS, M2TS, MTS, TP, TRP, WMV, IFO, ISO, VOB, DAT, AVI, MPG, MP4, MOV, RM, RMVB, XVID, FLV, AVS
  • Subtitle: sub, smi, srt, idx + sub
  • Photo file support: JPG, JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF, GIF
  • Video output: CVBS, YPbPr, HDMI 1.3 (max 1080P)
  • Audio output: Stereo R/L, coaxial, optical, HDMI digital
  • LAN: RJ45 for 100/1000 Ethernet, supports Samba client, Wi-Fi 802.11n dongle (option)
  • Remote control: included
  • Power Supply: Universal AC 100-230V 50 Hz
  • Power Rate: DC 12V 2A
  • Dimensions: 270 x 200 x 41 mm (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 890g (without hard disk)
The MovieHome V8 is supplied in an thick cardboard box that is decorated in a simple but effective black and white livery.  The front of the box features a large red Noontec logo as well as a large picture of the unit itself.  Along the bottom edge there are a few badges which advertise various features of the media player.
Turning the box around reveals a very similar design to the front.  The main difference between the two is the large image which is of the back of the unit instead of the front.  Inside the box the unit is suspended between two polystyrene bricks for protection.  We highly doubt that the product will get damaged during shipping as our test sample’s box appeared to have endured quite a battering and the unit was in perfect condition within.
Inside the box there are a number of different accessories included with the MovieHome V8.  These include an AC adapter, a USB 3.0 cable for connecting the player to your PC, a remote control, a user manual, a setup leaflet and a component video connection.  Perhaps the only item that we feel should be included that isn’t is an HDMI cable as most users will be connecting the MovieHome V8 to some kind of high definition display or television.
It’s clear that Noontech have taken inspiration from other similar products with the aesthetic design of the MovieHome V8.. The main chassis of the unit is constructed from metal which makes it feel very good quality.  But to add a little aesthetic flare, Noontech have surrounded the edge of the MovieHome V8 with a strip of glossy black plastic.  This isn’t great quality, though, and it cheapens the look and feel of the media player slightly.
In particular, the drop down flap which opens to reveal the hard drive tray feels very poor quality.  It bends significantly when you apply a small amount of pressure and it doesn’t feel securely attached to the rest of the unit.  It only secures to the unit on one side of the flap rather than in the centre or on both sides which means it doesn’t stay firmly in place.
There are no controls or buttons on the unit so we must operate it using the remote control exclusively.  There is an LED display on the right hand side of the front panel, though, alongside a power indicator light.
On the right hand side of the unit there is a USB port and an multimedia card reader so that you can easily hook up your storage devices for media playback.
The remainder of the connections are located on the back of the unit.  From left to right we find the DC power in jack, HD component video connectors, an optical S/PDIF audio connector, an HDMI out connector, an RJ-45 ethernet connector, a secondary USB2.0 connector for storage devices and a USB3.0 connector to connect the unit to a PC to transfer files.
The MovieHome V8 has a hard drive caddy so that you can install your own 3.5″ hard drive into the unit.  This is a very simple process, requiring us to first fold down the hard drive flap and remove the hard drive caddy.  The drive can then be inserted into the caddy and then slid into the front of the unit and secured using a screw.
Accessing the internals of the unit is relatively simple, requiring the removal of six screws on the underside of the unit.  The metal bottom panel can then be removed, revealing the insides.
It’s clear where the hard drive gets installed in this unit as there is a sizeable steel caddy to prevent the hard drive for being damaged inside.
The main PCB is quite small considering the amount of space there is inside the unit but this will help cooling. There is an additional PCB attached to the side of the unit which caters for the USB port and SD card reader on the side.  We didn’t investigate the PCB further as it is orientated so that we cant see the different components and it would be quite difficult to remove.
When you’ve hooked the MovieHome V8 up to your TV and network, you’re ready to roll.  You can either power it on using the touch sensitive power button on the front of the unit or the included remote control.
After about 15 seconds we are greeted by the main page which consists of seven different icons: Favourites, nTV, File Manager, Settings, Movies, Music and Photos.  You can navigate between them using the buttons on the remote control.  The interface feels a little clunky and it takes quite a while to navigate through using the remote control.
The first time we used the unit we had to use the settings menu to enable auto-scanning of the hard drive to get it to pick up all our multimedia files.  Once this was complete the MovieHome V8 quickly identified all the videos, music and photos on the hard drive and allocated them to the appropriate categories.  There is no search function, though, so you have to navigate through the entire lists of files before selecting the required file.
One of the key features of the MovieHome V8 is the ‘nTV’ application.  This provides access to a number of live news feeds as well as internet TV and radio.  This is by far the most disappointing aspect of the MovieHome V8 as the news feeds are text only and we found that the vast majority of the extremely poor selection of internet radio and TV stations didn’t work, displaying an error message.  The likes of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are nowhere to be seen and there are no on-demand services available either.
When you get back to watching media on the MovieHome V8, the experience is much better. We didn’t encounter any problems when streaming 1080p video over our network and video playback was smooth throughout.  We tried a number of different video formats including MKV, VOB and XVID and didn’t encounter any issues at all, both when streaming over the network and when playing off the internal hard drive.
Overall we have been left with mixed impressions of the Noontec MovieHome V8 NAS media player.
It is quite attractive to look at and should fit well aesthetically within a living room. Build quality is reasonable, with the exception of the flimsy plastic trim on the front of the unit.
Unfortunately, the software that Noontec are using isn’t very good and has a clunky user interface.
Additionally there isn’t a search function which means you have to go trawling through endless lists of movies and music to find the particular file you want to play. There is also a noticeable delay when trying to navigate through the pages with the remote control.
The most disappointing aspect of the MovieHome V8, however, is the ‘nTV’ application.  While there are a vast number of online TV channels and radio stations available, we’d never heard of the vast majority of them.  Additionally, many of them didn’t work and the MovieHome V8 simply displayed an error message when we tried to access them.
There is a YouTube application within ‘nTV’ but this wasn’t implemented and most videos we tried to watch also displayed an error message. There is a search function incorporated within the YouTube application but the unit doesn’t support a keyboard so you have to input each letter individually with the remote control, making it a very frustrating process.
We feel that the retail price of around £95 inc. vat makes the Noontec MovieHome V8 a little over priced.  While alternatives from the likes of AC RYAN are more expensive, they offer much more than the V8 especially on the software side … with proper Youtube and Facebook support as well as a much more rounded and user friendly interface.
The MovieHome V8 would be tempting at a bargain price, but at £95 it is difficult to recommend. Competition in this sector is fierce and there are better products available.
Pros:
  • Attractive design
  • Reasonable build quality
Cons:
  • Clunky user interface
  • Poor streaming services
  • No search function
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About Yomal Malinda

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