Many of us don't get our multimedia content from physical media anymore, because it's just so much easier to take the route of digital delivery over the Internet. This is not only a greener solution, because we don't require the physical delivery of a physical disk, but it is also much more convenient. We can buy our music and movies online, watching them mere minutes later. Similarly, it's not at all necessary to print out our photos anymore, because they can easily be enjoyed through a digital picture frame. That said, using the much larger screen of the HDTV in the living room would be a quantum leap ahead of a small digital picture frame too.
Capitalizing on our increasing interest to enjoy our digital content in our living rooms is the Hi-Den Vision HDMI 1080p Digital Photo Viewer (HD-0310). Although the product name points toward a focus on digital pictures, this small set-top box is also capable of playing your music files and video files as well. In fact, the level of file format support is quite impressive, rivaling the multimedia capabilities of something like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Does the performance stand up though? Let's find out.
Highlights and Specifications
Considering that this relatively simple-looking device from Hong Kong retails for about $60, it is quite a bit cheaper than many similar offerings on the market. For example, the cheapest Xbox 360 is the Arcade and that's still $199. If you have no ambitions to rock out to rhythm games or put up your dukes with fighting games, there really is no need to invest in a video game console for the sole purpose of enjoying multimedia content in your living room.
The cheaper Digital Photo Viewer from Hi-Den Vision is a much more affordable option and, since it's about the same size as an ADSL modem or a larger wireless router, it'll probably be easier to stash somewhere too. The aesthetics are nowhere near as attractive as some more contemporary devices though, so it probably won't be the prettiest thing in your home theatre cabinet. The build quality is also a little lacking, feeling much like so many other off-shore products that we have encountered.
In terms of features, the Hi-Den Vision HDMI 1080p Digital Photo Viewer HD-0310 allows you to show your pictures on the large screen of an HDTV via a standard 1080p HDMI connection. These photo files can be viewed individually or you can make use of the integrated slideshow feature, complete with 16 different photo transitions. Aside from the picture viewing, the HD-0310 can also be used to listen to music files and to watch a variety of video files. Among the different types of files supported by this device are MPEG-1/2/4, DivX 4.1/5.0/5.1, AVI, xVID, MP3, WMA, and JPEG.
What's in the Box?
The packaging isn't terribly impressive. It seems like they took a generic box and just slapped their label on it. Thankfully, the contents have been carefully packaged with bubble wrap to protect them from damage. You get the Hi-Den Vision itself, a thin remote control, a set of composite cables, power adapter, and a single page instruction manual. Considering one of the highlights is the HD support, it is a little curious that composite cables would be included but not an HDMI cable. I suppose this is to reduce the overall production costs, but it is still disappointing nonetheless.