Buffalo LinkTheater review

This media streamer is hampered by lack of an HDMI connection, and limited format support Tested at £100.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Lack of online content and copy-protected music are problems, but no HDMI is a major headache

Pros

  • +

    Decent price

  • +

    small, good-looking unit

  • +

    easy to set up and use

Cons

  • -

    No HDMI means images are weaker than rivals’

  • -

    limited format support

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This is so much cheaper than many rival products you might think, “Where's the catch”? Answer: no HDMI.

That's right, this is one of the only media streamers we've seen recently that has Scart as the best-available connection. Otherwise, the LinkTheater is a tidy unit: it's much smaller than the Netgear EVA8000 and Linksys KiSS 1600, and though a bit light and plasticky, is perfectly well put together.

Once connected to the TV, using Scart or S-Video, we were impressed by the bright and sharp menus. However, once you've set up the player, you'll quickly wish you had a better connection. Noise and pixelation in the picture are annoying, and the colour palette isn't as varied as that provided by HDMI-equipped rivals.

The others here show what the Buffalo lacks
The lack of HDMI means HD content is a no-no, and it's also fussy playing larger AVI files, even though smaller ones play fine.

Compatibility with audio formats is a little better, though Apple Lossless and copy-protected music doesn't appear in the Link-Theater's folders. You also miss out on the online content that's available on the Netgear and Linksys.

Overall, it's a useful product, but you can certainly do better.

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