Hands-On: Xtreamer Media Player and Streamer
Manufacturer: Xtreamer Model: Xtreamer Media Player and Streamer
Price: £99 (UK) Web: http://www.thextreamer.com

Whilst Digital Media Receivers continue to win the hearts of geeks, they’re still to hit the big time. We’ve seen companies large and small try to crack the market – HP, Microsoft, Netgear, Linksys, D-Link have all had a go, but media streamers appear to be firmly entrenched in a niche and threaten to be overtaken by network-enabled TVs.

I’ve tried and shelved a whole bunch of these devices over the past few years – from a HTPC running Windows Media Centre next to the TV, various Media Centre Extenders, a Netgear Entertainer EVA7000 but have now settled on an Xbox 360 Elite to do my streaming in the lounge. It’s working well and any device that wants to replace it is going to have to work really hard!

xtreamer_image -web

That said, there are some impressive devices around. Netgear continue to innovate with their Digital Entertainer line, and thousands of Popcorn Hours have found their way into homes around the world. Joining them this week is the Xtreamer Media Player and Streamer – a device that has been available in Europe for some time, and has recently been launched in the UK, courtesy of Tranquil PC who are an official distributor.

Let’s take a look at what it can do.

What’s In the Box?

The Xtreamer is attractively packaged in a full colour box holding the main unit as well as a separate box which contains the free Wi-Fi antenna that is currently bundled with the product.

IMG_1360 IMG_1361 IMG_1365 IMG_1366 IMG_1367 IMG_1368 IMG_1369 IMG_1370 IMG_1371 IMG_1372 IMG_1373 IMG_1375 IMG_1376


In the box, you’ll find:

  • Xtreamer Media Player
  • 110-240v 2 Pin Power Adaptor (EU/US)
  • UK Power Adaptor
  • Composite Video/Audio cables
  • Remote Control
  • Stand
  • USB Cable
  • Quickstart Guide

Whilst the Xtreamer can be connected with an HDMI cable, this needs to be purchased separately. The reasonable £99 price also means you miss out on an internal hard drive and digital audio cable, both of which also must be purchased separately. If you wish to connect the device at the highest quality, make sure you’re cabled up before the Xtreamer arrives.

First Looks

At just 180mm (width) x 32mm (depth) x 82mm (height), the Xtreamer is compact and looks great dressed up in a high-gloss piano black finish. When horizontally positioned on its stand (which, incidentally is a bit fiddly to fit) it looks distinctly like a Netgear router to me (maybe it comes out of the same factory, who knows) but is small enough to tuck well out of the way in your TV cabinet without too much trouble.

IMG_1383 IMG_1385 IMG_1394 IMG_1395 IMG_1399 IMG_1403

Around the Back

Rear connections are in abundance, with three USB ports (two standard, 1 mini sized), analogue audio (bleugh), composite video (ouch), optical audio, HDMI (yay!), 10/100 Ethernet socket and your standard 12v power connector all supplied. I guess there must be people out there who want to connect the Xtreamer up via composite video so it needs to be in there, but why I really don’t know.


As mentioned, the Xtreamer is currently bundled with a free Wi-Fi antenna to support an 802.11n high-speed wireless connection. Whilst 802.11n is fast, I’d personally recommend taking advantage of the Xtreamer’s wired network connection for the best streaming performance from a networked PC or home server. I use a Powerline Ethernet connection currently, and it works really well.

IMG_1405 IMG_1406

Supported File Formats

When it comes to comparing digital media receivers, it generally boils down to file format support. The latest tranche of streamers all now seem to support xvid, divx and .mkv (the torrentor’s current format du choix for high definition content) out of the box as well as .iso for ripped DVDs. The Xtreamer doesn’t miss out with a massive range of file formats supported – whatever you throw at it, the Xtreamer will pretty much gobble it up and stream it out.

Player Xtreamer
Video ASF
Audio AAC
Photos BMP
Online Content YouTube, Picasa, Yahoo Video, CNN, NBC Today, CBS Face the Nation,Live365 Radio, iPodcast, Radiobox, ABC News, BBC Podcast, CNN News , Indiefeed, Jamendo


Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Xchange, MSNBC News

A rich variety of online content is available out of the box, including content from YouTube, Picasa, CNN, NBC, Yahoo, the BBC, CBS and others.

Fitting a Hard Drive

If you want to use the Xtreamer as a storage device, you’ll need to purchase and fit your own 2.5” hard drive. Fortunately, this is pretty easy. I selected a Western Digital Scorpio (UK Link) hard drive for the job (various sizes are available). Make sure you purchase the SATA version of the drive, rather than an older IDE drive.

IMG_1412 IMG_1415

Simply remove the top of the Xtreamer unit, which you’ll find acts as a caddy for the hard drive. Two screws are supplied to secure the drive in the caddy, which then slides back and guide the hard drive into the Xtreamer’s SATA port. Nice and simple.

Connecting the Xtreamer

Hooking up the Xtreamer is similarly easy – although the power adaptor supplied for the UK is a nightmare. Rather than supply a standard UK adaptor, the product is supplied with a pin EU/US adaptor, with a UK convertor. That means you have to plug the convertor to the non-UK adaptor which equals a decidedly ungraceful solution:


Anyway, connect up your power, network and HDMI cable, and you’re ready to rock.


Press the power button on the remote and the device starts up. The first thing you’ll notice is a pretty annoying buzzing sound from the fan that’s seated at the bottom of the Xtreamer. It’s high pitched enough to sound exactly like a fly. Tip the unit on its side and the fan really starts going for it – fan speed varies depending on heat, but it’s not a particularly nice sound at any speed, and if the unit gets warm, you’re in for a racket.

The great news is you can turn the fan off in the MISC system settings, which comes as a blessed relief, but may toast the unit. Probably worth it.

Using the Xtreamer

Generally, the most disappointing thing I’ve found on most digital media receivers is the user interface. For some reason, they are generally badly designed, slow to respond and confusing in operation. The good news is, the Xtreamer is actually pretty good.

Response to the remote is quite snappy and you can navigate your way around the menus efficiently.

IMG_1433 IMG_1434 IMG_1437

The black and red colour palette is a bit harsh on the eye for my liking, however.

The Xtreamer did a great job of finding the UPnP devices on my network, including two different home servers, as well as the wirelessly attached netbook I’m writing this review on.


However, the Xtreamer’s UPnP menu setting failed to play any of my media (I think due to a security issue) from any device, popping up an “Invalid File Error”. To get anything to play, I had to manually find the device using the Xtreamer’s Network menu option, type in my user name and password using the on screen keyboard, and from there all was well. Knock a couple of points off for a bit of inconvenience, though – uPnP should work right out of the box, without authorisation. That’s the point of it!

Over the past few weeks, Xtreamer have released a couple of firmware updates, so I’m certain they’re still ironing out a few bugs in the product. The problem I experienced above has been noted in the official forums. A new firmware release (v1.03) is planned shortly so if you’re an early adopter, expect a few bumps along the way until the quality bar is met consistently throughout the product.

IMG_1450 IMG_1452


As you can see from the shots above, audio plays with track listings, album art and detailed track information all displayed, which looks great. Accessing your home server via UPnP allows you to browse your music using a wide range of navigation categories (and if you’re running a home server with TwonkyMedia Server or Asset UPnP there’s even more to choose from) whereas in Network mode, you’ll be browsing using the home server’s folder structure, which if you have a tidy home server, isn’t too much trouble.

Scrolling through the folder list is extremely fast and smooth – far better than I’ve seen on other devices and far, far better than I was expecting from the Xtreamer. When you select a track to play, you’ll hear it almost instantaneously (this is over a wired network, remember). In network mode, tracks appear by file name rather than using the MP3 tag which is a little cumbersome, but no show stopper.

The remote control gives full control over the audio, including advancing to the next track, replaying the previous track, fast forward up to 32x speed (including audio output up to 2x), shuffle, repeat, as well as a volume control and mute.


Photo slideshows are similarly impressive, playing your selection of images effortlessly with your choice of audio in the background, and switching between images with a range of cool transitions. As you browse through your photo files, a thumbnail is displayed along with EXIF tag information. This can also been shown on screen during the slideshow simply by pressing the Info button.

As with Audio, the remote provides a series of features to control the slideshow including a Shuffle command, and the ability to advance the slideshow or go back to a previous photo.

Certainly, the Xtreamer gives a higher quality user experience than it’s £99 price tag suggests.

IMG_1457 IMG_1453 IMG_1455


Video too was strong – I fired a range of file formats at the Xtreamer, including VOB, IFO, MPG, XVID and MKV which I’d acquired from a variety of sources (strictly for testing purposes, you understand!) and they all played flawlessly.

IMG_1459 IMG_1460 IMG_1461 IMG_1462 IMG_1465

Switching between videos was also really quick, with little buffering required before playback. Videos can be fast forwarded from 1.1x to 32x and having had a lot of problems in the past with DMRs crashing badly when trying to fast forward video, I was impressed to see the Xtreamer handle this easily. Subtitling is also very well catered for, with support for SRT, SMI, SUB, SSA and IDX files.

So, top marks for media viewing – the Xtreamer handled my content perfectly, which is a first for me, and means that this little box is definitely a keeper!

Internet Content

The Xtreamer comes with a host of links to online content, courtesy of providers including YouTube, MSN, BBC, CBS and others. All available content appears in the Xtreamer’s Internet main menu option, with content arranged by category (News, Movie Trailers, Music & Dance, Photo, Technology & Gadgets, Science etc) along with a standalone category for YouTube.

YouTube content can be navigated by a variety of options including ratings, videos recently added, favourites, most viewed as well as a free text search which is populated by a large on screen keyboard. The keyboard works well, but the Xtreamer’s remote would benefit from alphanumeric keys which would make typing more efficient.

IMG_1466 IMG_1469 IMG_1470 IMG_1471

As you would imagine, standard YouTube content on any kind of large screen looks pretty awful, HD content is more watchable.

News content is available from 15 different news providers from around the world, including the BBC, CNN, FOX, Sky, ITN, MSNBC, Reuters, ZDF and others. I’m guessing this content is localised by territory, so expect to see a different selection in the US. That said, whilst the content does indeed come from those outlets, it’s a mish-mash of old clips, interviews and features rather than the up to the minute headlines you may expect.

Movie Trailers and Reviews are a useful feature, with content pulled from a variety of sources including Apple, Beyond the Trailer and others.

You’ll find a whole host of content available, which if you’re into and have time to dig through it, you’ll love and otherwise, well, you’ll leave well alone. If you could plug Hulu, BBC iPlayer etc in there it’d be essential viewing – right now, it isn’t.


So, on balance, what the view on the Xtreamer? I haven’t tried out the Popcorn Hour yet, but certainly, the Xtreamer is easily the best digital media receiver I’ve used when it comes to speed of navigation and file format support. It really will eat up all common file formats you throw at it, and for just £99, it’s a complete steal. Music, Video and Photo playback is fabulous, and if you’re a media junkie with a lot of content stored on your home server, the Xtreamer is a perfect playback partner.

That said, elements of the product are still a little rough around the edges – the fan really must be switched off for the product to be usable, and the UK adaptor add-on isn’t a great solution. More fundamentally, there’s still work to do on uPnP access (as in “making it work”), areas of the user interface still need a bit of polish. Firmware updates are being released regularly (the next one is planned for next week) providing bug fixes and new features, and with rumours of an SDK being released for open feature development, there’s a stack of potential in the Xtreamer.

If you can live with a couple of quirks, the Xtreamer offers strong features, fantastic file format support and quick performance at a great price.

More Info: Xtreamer UK Website | Forums


  1. Nice review, Terry. My UK buddies will love to give this a read over.

    Very, very similar to the MvixUSA and MediagateUSA boxes with form and function. Pretty cool overall.

    If you get a PopcoarnHour, be sure to let us know.


    1. Little Internet content background:

      Hulu is currently blocking every IP outside the USA.. I've been alpha testing Boxee on PC and ATV since December 2008 and Boxee has been in a battle with Hulu changing and blocking their content from working on Boxee. Applications allow most other sites to work well, but not always perfectly.

      Until these media player and program companies strike official business deals with each content provider (Hulu, ABC, Fox, BBC etc), the Internet content will be sketchy and will rely on third party custom made hacks to work. Which is understandable as the content providers generate revenue via advertising. Because of this, I have to rely on a PC for reliable browser based access to Hulu, CBC, NBC, ABC etc. Boxee is good, but the content providers are constantly changing their code and it causes frequent outages.

    1. The Xbox has improved greatly over the last few years, and definitely has a much more polished user interface. It can now play back xvid content which has moved it on hugely, but certainly media players like the Xtreamer offer compatibility with more file formats.

  2. Getting the mainstream consumer to shell out the bucks for "another" box is a hard-sell. On my TV, I (my wife's, actually, who is also a card-carrying member of "mainstream consumer") have a cable DVR, an audio receiver, and a BD player. Who wants to pay for ANOTHER box generating more heat?

    Also, does the mainstream consumer have that state-of-the-art 802.11n router? Or an Ethernet port right by their TV?

    Until the cost of these devices are built into the TV, a niche market these items will remain in. And even if included as part of the TV, will the consumer actually make use of these features? Outside of the "enthusiast" circles, does anyone even know such devices exist? Marketing needs to be creative and "create" a must-have compelling reason for the consumer to buy one.

    1. According to Xtreamer, "If you don’t have a 802.11n router don’t worry. Get two antennas, place one at your PC and the other at the streamer back USB port and create yourself a dedicated VPN to ensure smooth un-interrupted streams." Oddly, however, they don't offer a 2nd antenna for sale, beyond the one that comes "free" with the base unit. At least not as far as I can tell from their online shop. I guess that is something else I need to inquire about in my email to them.

    2. Coo – did you you get up out of bed on the wrong side this morning, Jim 🙂

      At £99, it's a viable option for those with lots of media content (and those who *download* a lot of media content) who don't want to shell out £1500+ for a DLNA enabled TV just yet.

      Networked TV is definitely the endgame here, but these boxes will provide a lot more features for the enthusiast in the meantime. And yes, they're destined to remain niche, but that doesn't mean they can't offer decent quality.

      1. No, not really. 🙂 You said it yourself: "Whilst Digital Media Receivers continue to win the hearts of geeks, they’re still to hit the big time". Some company really needs to take the lead and educate "mainstream consumer", otherwise the big time may never happen. Or not for a long time, at least.

        MS can't do it. HP can't do it. Or any of the other companies you mentioned. I *think* media receivers have been around long enough to where we should start seeing them at Best Buy and other retailers. Do we?

  3. And….

    And the mainstream consumer has absolutely no patience for DRM, IP blocking, and other maneuvering that companies engage to protect their revenue stream. If it won't play, who gets the blame?

    Until quite recently, I could not even get digital content from my cable provider to show up in WMC. Plug-n-Play is still not quite there yet, but I am thrilled by that small advancement. And until the ‘net provides true HD quality, who cares about watching Internet lo-fi on a 50” HDTV???

  4. Terry, I just wanted to verify that the remote and AC adapter came with the base unit.

    On their site, when the base unit is added to the shopping cart it offers the remote and AC adapter as accessories, with a USD price of nearly $30 each. That makes the $140 product not such a good deal, especially with the shipping cost to the US.

    At that price we are starting to get into the price range of the Mvix, Mediagate, and Popcornhour units. Most of those companies units are a lot larger and uglier and more expensive (except for the newest Mediagate) than the Xtreamer.

    With all its capabilities, if the remote and AC adapter are indeed included, that would make it a seriously viable contender for US customers, even with the shipping cost to the US.

    1. Well, the package I received did have the remote and AC adaptor in the box – can't believe it would be shipped without it, but it's worth pinging them an email to check….

      1. I've been waiting for their "Live Support" to come online, but so far it never has shown any status but "offline". =/ Maybe even though they have that link on their site it isn't set up yet. Guess it'll have to be an email.

    2. The one that Terry got, and the one I got, and anyone else who buys it in the UK was from the UK partner of Xtreamer. There are many world wide partners of Xtreamer – the device itself comes from the Far East. Certainly the UK version comes with a remote and power supply as part of the £99. Have you looked for a US supplier?

      Andrew – UsingWindowsHomeServer.com

      1. Yeah, I posted a follow-up in the unboxing thread when I took a good look at the web addresses and realized the cause of my confusion. Terry posted http://www.thextreamer.com (UK only) whereas I was looking at the xtreamer.net (international) online shop (which is what Google served me when searching for Xtreamer). The UK partner site clearly states the AC adapter and remote come with it, whereas the site that will ship to the US is less than clear. As far as I can tell there is no US partner yet, so the .net site is probably the best we can do for now. I have the question in to them regarding the remote and AC adapter and also the ability of purchasing a second usb 802.11N antenna, and will update my comments here when I get a response.

  5. I too think the red is a little harsh on the eyes, seems to distract a lot from the rest of the GUI. They maybe should reconsider the interface in a future update to bring it more in line with what people are used to (MCE & apple TV).

    Well my PS3 and Xbox 360 are doing ok and with windows 7 I think my 360 will really get used a lot more for streaming. I have considered but do I really need a third box under the TV that can stream video (not counting the wii, V+, amp, CD, squeezebox and other paraphernalia)

  6. When you tried IFO/VOB support, was it in context of a VIDEO_TS folder rip from a DVD? Did you get the full menus and everything for the DVD, or just the main movie?

  7. I bought a Xtreamer which just arrived. It connected to the network without any problems and can see the latest weather info/youtube videos. But when I try and play any youtube videos it just goes straight back to the main screen. It is running the latest fimware so clearly that isn't the issue.

    I agree that the screens are very quick to display but that hardly helps if it won't play anything. The fact that Xtreamer also charged my credit card at order time rather that shipping is outrageous when they knew they couldn't ship. I also agree that the fan noise is totally unacceptable. So my view is not to waste your money. Either the latest popcorn, netgear, TV streaming, or a small PC like the Acer Revo seem a much better bet.

    Mvix is the parent company of Xtreamer so the boxes are the same. Also anyone with a yahoo email account should also be aware that they cannot contact Xtreamer as they block all email from yahoo accounts. Hardly what I would call customer service.

  8. Just bought one of these with the factory fitted cooler – it's silent running and a lovely bit of kit. I've got it wired into our network, and with a bit of guesswork around the network configuration and adding the right folders to Twonky on the WHS I've got all my media playing beautifully. I'm pleased with this purchase.

  9. Cher utilisateur Webs,
    Comme les feuilles et les températures commencent à baisser, Mère Nature nous dit que le changement est à venir. Il est également temps pour vous de doudounes monclerchanger votre site pour créer une image plus professionnelle en ligne.La pluie a été tué les derniers jours de l’été. Vous aviez été tué mon dernier souffle d’amour, car il ya longtemps. doudounes moncler enfant Je ne pense toujours pas que je vais le faire à travers une autre histoire d’amour. Vous l’avez pris toutes loin de moi. Et il ya je me tiens, je savais que j’allais être le laissé pour compte. Mais encore je regarde le lac, vaguement conscient, et je sais que ma vie se termine. moncler pas cher Que pensez-vous du Jeacks Moncler? Vous pouvez conserver environ 30% de localiser une paire de Moncler grands disponible pour vous ou vos amis. Qu’avez-vou sattendre?
    doudoune moncler,moncler hommes

Leave a Reply