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Eminent EM7080 hdMEDIA RT & EM7095 DVB-T Review

We were impressed with both Eminent EM7080 hdMEDIA RT and EM7095 devices. While we have no real need for a DVB-T system ourselves, the EM7095  interface is stripped down, responsive and fully equipped to handle freeview playback and recordings. The option to play files from an external USB drive is a nice bonus and it works well, supporting all of the files we tested with it. The product is also extremely well built, being constructed from anodised aluminum.

The more interesting player of the two for our readers will assuredly be the EM7080 hdMEDIA RT, which works in an identical manner to the AC Ryan players we have already tested and reviewed over the last couple of months. Eniment don’t seem that interested in skinning and personalising the interface however which may annoy some customers.

There are pros and cons with this however. While we know this doesn’t look as nice as the new GUI 2.0 interface (based on the Realtek SDK 4.0) from AC Ryan we found the EM7080 to be much more responsive when moving from menu to menu and even when playing files. We are sure AC Ryan will fix this with a future update, but for the time being the ‘sexy’ interface is the more painful to use on a regular basis.

The Eminent remote controller is the best we have used to date, the signal seems to be the strongest, and it doesn’t need to be pointed directly at the front of the player either. The button placement is also the most intuitive, with everything where I would expect it to be. As the Eminent EM7080 is also the smallest media player we have tested … only slightly larger than a 3.5 inch hard drive, it is going to suit more environments and fitting locations. The bundle is also fantastic with every cable you could need included … the only unusual omission being a Cat 5e or Cat 6.

It would have earned a gold award, but we feel the interface, while very quick, is basically the native Realtek design which seems a little lazy to us. We appreciate many people won’t care, but AC Ryan try extremely hard to fine tune and customise their players, and we expect their competitors to strive and achieve the same goals. The pricing also needs to drop, because AC Ryan are selling the Essential Playon! HD for £129.23 with a 1TB hard drive included. We prefer the EM7080 as an overall package, especially with the improved connectivity,  enhanced bundle and full sized remote, but the fact that AC Ryan are including a 1TB HD for £5 more means it would be a tough decision for most people.

The EM7080 is available for £124.99 at Amazon. The EM7095 is available for £94.99 at Amazon.

KitGuru says: An excellent purchase for your media desires and while we are disappointed with the interface appearance, these players are quick.

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Rating: 8.5.

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