We’re taking a look at the Iomega(r) ScreenPlay(tm) TV Link. A solid-state (no moving parts) device that promises to make it convenient and affordable to access multimedia content on any high-definition television or home theater system. Coming complete with full-function remote control, the new ScreenPlay TV Link features an easy-to-use USB port for attaching compatible storage devices and enjoying high quality movies, music and photos from the best seat in the house. Does it fulfill it’s promise? The ScreenPlay TV Link is smaller than a deck of playing cards, is based on the same display technology as Iomega’s ScreenPlay HD Multimedia drive and offers the same audio and video quality with upscaling to high definition. This latest addition to the ScreenPlay product family gives users the flexibility to connect their own USB external storage devices (flash cards, hard drives or memory cards with adaptor) to the ScreenPlay TV Link and play back the media content on an attached TV. The result is an easy-to-use multi-media solution that can utilize different storage devices when friends, family or co-workers drop by with a media file to share. Compatible USB devices with the new ScreenPlay TV Link include flash drives, hard drives, and Iomega’s REV drives.
In operation it’s nearly a nearly identical experience to using a DVD player without the DVD. The menus and controls are nearly the same and function identically for all intents and purposes. If you have ever used a DVD player that plays back MPEG and DiVX files then this will require no learning curve. You turn it on after connected your media, and you get a list of files on the media drive that you can play. Select one and it plays. That’s all there is!
Video connection options include HDMI, component and composite video, and a SCART adapter for use in international markets. Audio connection options include composite RCA and coaxial S/PDIF. Using the HDMI or component outputs, the user can choose video settings from 480p/720p/1080i (720p and1080i are achieved through upscaling). Supported media formats include MP3, AC3 (Dolby(r) Digital Encoding), WAV, WMA, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AVI/VOB), MPEG-4 (AVI/DiVX 3.11, 4.x, 5.x/XViD) and JPEG.
The ScreenPlay TV Link measures just 3.26’x3.07’x0.78′ and weighs less than 4 ounces, giving this multimedia powerhouse roughly the same dimensions as a drink coaster. I mean to tell you, this thing is REALLY small!
If you try to use a flash drive with the U3 technology it’s not going to work. This really isn’t a flaw of the ScreenPlay but Iomega doesn’t (at the time of this writing) really document this on their site but their tech support will quickly let you know.
The only other drawback is that some compression formats in the DiVX/AVI specification aren’t supported and wouldn’t play when I tested them. I wouldn’t have mentioned this except that most DVD players that support this format did play all of my test samples. On the other hand, ScreenPlay did successfully play some files that had errors that prevented their playback on the DVD/DiVX player. So it evens out. Iomega says the unit is upgradable but no upgrades have been released at this time.
The Iomega (r) ScreenPlay(tm) TV Link is compatible with standard televisions and with high-definition televisions (720p and 1080i playback is achieved through upscaling).
At less than $100 this is a steal. Far easier to carry around than a DVD/DiVX player and astonishingly good at what it does.
B+ (but only for failing to play every compression format in existence)