First Looks: DViCO TViX HD M-6500A Media Center

Enhanced "Ultra-timate" HD Playback Machine

Enhanced "Ultra-timate" HD Playback Machine

DViCO's TViX products have always given us the impression that it was a little monster with a gargantuan bite and its newest TVix HD M-6500A goes one step further with a decidedly bigger bite.

Enter the Sigma

Featuring the latest Sigma Design SMP8635 chipset, the M-6500A retains the same dimensions and weight as its previous models. The only noticeable hardware change here obviously lies in your choice of a hard disk and the switch from DVI to HDMI output. As with all DViCO products, the firmware is also upgradable so there's no danger of becoming obsolete with the M-6500A.

The M-6500A also now plays .mkv, H.264 and AVCHD video formats while FLAC audio support, which was not supported in previous models, is now playable on the M-6500A. What the M-6500A can't play though are those formats that require a licensing fee for their codecs - RealVideo, QuickTime Movie (.mov), PDF and 3GP, though we feel it's really no big loss given the many alternate formats supported.

Maneuvering the Menu

Sleeker and prettier is the new menu interface of the M-6500A, which features options to even select different TrueType Fonts for your subtitles. You can also copy and paste multiple files around or transfer them to an external USB device. Password protection for folders is also supported, though we won't be speculating too much on the reasons behind this feature.

The M-6500A can also be used as a slave hard drive for your PC. One thing we liked about the M-6500A was the speed in which it reverted back to active status after disconnecting it from the PC; boot up was instantaneous.

Flying Colors

For our tests, we used a mixture of .mkv, H.264 and AVCHD files and ran it straight through the M-6500A. We're pleased to report that all files were played back flawlessly, even the AVCHD videos that were shot with an AVCHD-based camcorder. We further tested the capabilities of the M-6500A by playing the AVCHD video from a USB based source and found the playback to be equally smooth.

The question on your mind by now would probably be, is the DViCO TViX M-6500A worth it? Is it the ultimate HD jukebox that can easily rival the best HD home theatre PCs out there? Well, the jury is out on this one. Costing a cool S$699, the M-6500A offers versatility in a small package that is flexible in your choice of storage, while providing a hassle-free HD playback experience without worrying about the more advanced stuff.

Worth it? We think so.