Watching photos, videos or music stored on a PC using a TV is much easier than it used to be, thanks to streaming devices like the Storex Slimbox.
The box itself is glossy black and small. It includes optical and coaxial audio ports, composite video port, network port, HDMI port, power connector and one USB port at the rear.
At the right side is another USB port and an SD/MMC memory card slot.
At the front is a small red and green status light and a small power switch is located on the base of the box. Despite all the connections, only a composite video cable is supplied.
It has a small remote control that we found surprisingly easy to hold and use, with all the most commonly used buttons sensibly placed and sized.
It needed no setting up and switched on in a few seconds, displaying the clear main menu with large icons for movies, photos, music, Flash videos and text (which wouldn’t display any type of files at all).
There are also icons for Network, Settings and Files (the latter is used to browse the entire contents of a storage device).
If a USB device and a memory card are inserted, switching between them is done with a button on the remote.
The menu system was responsive and smooth, although sometimes not very intuitive.
When you open a category you are first asked to select a location (if more than one storage device is plugged in) and it shows the contents. In this mode, it only displays supported file types for the category you’re browsing.
We played a wide selection of file types and it worked with almost all of them, but this depends much on what programs and codecs were used to create them. DRM-protected files are not supported.
One novel feature is the ability to play Iso files of DVD movie discs. Playback quality was excellent in all cases.
For network streaming, clicking the UPnP icon shows the available UPnP media servers.
You cannot simply browse to a shared network folder and play from there, making it a poor choice for those with little technical know-how: both Windows and your router need to be configured to support UPnP media streaming.
Once that’s done it worked quite well, although it can take a while to load the list of files in the media library.
It can also play internet radio from a pre-configured list of channels, and can connect to the Picasa Web Albums and Flickr photo services.
We found all these web services poorly designed, however, with no folder names shown for photos and many empty radio categories.
For the price, it isn’t too bad, but you need to understand UPnP streaming or you are limited to using it with USB devices or memory cards.