Iomega ScreenPlay Pro HD
At a Glance
The Iomega ScreenPlay Pro HD is a Windows-only stand-alone, single 1TB hard drive and NAS that you can attach to your TV and play media.
However, as much as we liked the ScreenPlay Pro HD's on-screen interface, we found its remote difficult to use. Instead of opting for a few simple multifunction buttons, this unit has a slew of tiny, similarly-styled buttons whose functions aren't consistently applied in the interface. For instance, in some cases you back out of a page with the ‘left' button; at other times you must press ‘return'.
We would have foregone the remote altogether and used the controls on the face of the drive itself except that the box was one function shy of a full deck--none of the controls seemed to let you back out of menus. The ScreenPlay Pro HD will output full 1080 video it via HDMI, component, and composite jacks; audio output options include both analog and digital jacks. And you get composite video and analog audio inputs for recording video directly from a video source (using the one-touch record).
Other than the clunky remote interface, the unit worked very well with the media types it supported, including MP3, JPEG, and DivX. However, it wouldn't play high-definition WMV files or H.264 files, as supported by the DMA. The only playback glitch I noticed was that a 1280-by-544 X-Men DivX trailer I used for testing displayed full-screen with the edges off screen, instead of displaying as letterboxed.
Network copying performance from a PC to the device appeared adequate, except that the drive was frustratingly slothful at times in showing up on the network. Nor can it be configured via a browser. This is the only direct-connected drive in our roundup that has a 10/100 ethernet connection, not a gigabit connection; it's also the only one to include a USB Wi-Fi dongle, though streaming performance over Wi-Fi may be mixed.
--Jon L. Jacobi and Melissa J. Perenson