Iogear Portable Media Server Player
At a Glance
The Windows-only Iogear Portable Media Player GMD2025U120 is a small, self-contained, non-networkable external 2.5-inch hard drive that you attach to your PC's USB port; copy media files onto it, and then attach it to your TV or other display to render its contents. The whole deal--drive, cables, remote, carrying case, and all--will easily fit into a briefcase or backpack. It lacks an HDMI output, but you can hook it up via component or composite jacks on a TV--far more common inputs on hotel sets than HDMI or DVI, at any rate.
Though the unit ships with a remote, it conveniently has a full complement of controls on the unit itself that allow you to control playback as well as to navigate the on-screen menu. It's not all that uncomfortable to actually hold the drive in the palm of your hand like a remote and press the buttons. Just be careful not to drop it--the case has a spinning hard drive inside that will almost certainly sustain damage in a fall.
The Iogear played all its supported files types (including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Xvid, DivX, MP3, WAV, and JPEG) without any glitches. The one on-screen error message we received was when we tried to play a 1080p DivX file whose resolution exceeds the Iogear's 720p output capability.
One inconvenience: The onboard video electronics apparently takes a fair amount of power, so the drive requires its AC adapter to operate, even when plugged into a PC's powered USB port.
--Jon L. Jacobi and Melissa J. Perenson