Our society has become extremely multi-media centric, the majority of us spend our free time watching TV and movies, it’s become a world-wide pastime really. When it comes to home theater systems, especially those like an HTPC a lot of us don’t have the room for a computer, or the money really to dedicate to another computer just for entertainment. Several companies have offered solutions or replacements for the HTPC in the form of external media player that normally use a hard drive and then hook to our TV and play our audio, video and photos for us. Some of these boxes like the Cirago CMC 1000 that I looked at a while ago even offer DVR functionality and the ability to access USB drives and memory cards as well, but really all of these types of products are limited to one main storage medium, the hard drive. What if a company came out with a media player that wasn’t limited to any one type of storage, one that was able to access most any storage like a hard drive, or USB flash drive or even different types of memory cards? Well one company has created such a device, it’s small, portable and includes a remote as well to make life a bit easier.
Today for review I’ve got a great little product from Cirago called the CiragoTV Mini. It’s a USB Media player that’s small in size but yet big in features. The unit is a very small box, about 3 inches by 3 inches in size and less that an inch thick, it comes with it’s own small power supply and a small remote as well. The CiragoTV Mini has the ability to access USB flash drives, USB hard drive and several types of memory cards with outputs for HDMI and even standard composite audio and video. With the CiragoTV Mini you can access several types of files, the most popular video and audio formats, along with pictures as well to show them on your TV for your viewing pleasure. It’s small enough to take with you if you want to, you can easily grab a 2.5” hard drive and the CiragoTV Mini and take it to your friends house, or even use it for work presentations if need be. So continue on for a look at a very innovative and an overall great little product…
We’ll start off with a video unboxing for you:
The packaging is nicely done, black with silver accents, and specs listed on the back of the box.
When I got it opened I was a bit disappointed to not find an HDMI cable in the box with the CiragoTV Mini, but inside you’ll find the unit itself, standard A/V cable, remote, power supply, user manual and registration card.
The remote is very small it’s less than 4 inches in length, by about 1.75 inches wide and less than half inch thick. You won’t find much on the remote in terms of controls, just the very basics are here, but it works for what it needs to do.
The CiragoTV Mini unit itself is very well made, it’s a very solid little box. I can’t stress enough as to how well it’s made, I was truly surprised by the quality of this little box. It has a hard plastic cover and a metal bottom with four rubber feet.
On the front you’ll find the remote sensor on the left, then the USB port and then a card reader that reads MemorySticks, SD and MMC cards along with the mini and micro with adapters.
On the back you’ll find the the A/V output on the left side, then the HDMI port and then the power connection on the right.
The CiragoTV Mini is a compact and portable device that bridges the gap between your digital media and your TV. Simply connect your CiragoTV Mini to your TV, plug in a USB storage device or memory card and instantly enjoy your photos, videos and music on your TV from the comfort of your living room. The CiragoTV Mini’s compact size and plug and play simplicity allow you to move it easily from room to room, or take it with you when you travel. Bring your digital media to life with the CiragoTV Mini.
* Play high-quality video from connected USB storage or memory cards
* View photos and slideshows with background music
* Card reader (MS, SD/MMC) for easy access to media
* Multi-language user interface
* Small size for portability and easy setup
Interface: USB 2.0
Memory Card Support: SD, MMC, MemoryStick
Power: 5V, AC/DC adapter included
Video Output: AV Input, 720 x 480
Audio Output : AV out
Supported video formats: MPEG1 (dat, mpg), MPEG2 (vob, mpg), MPEG4 (avi,divx, xvid)
Supported audio formats: MP3, WMA
Supported image formats: JPEG, JPG
Warranty: 1 year
Dimension: 3 x 3 x 0.7 in (unit)
Price: $59+ (depending where you look)
I have an HTPC, but I also use a Mvix MV-4000U Media Center, it’s mostly for my kids stuff at this point. I’ve quickly learned that children and DVDs do not mix, I’ve spent a lot of my time cleaning them, and even replacing them because children do not know how to handle DVD correctly without getting them dirty or scratching them. It’s much easier to just rip the DVDs to the Mvix box, then put them somewhere safe. With the Mvix box though I’m limited to a 500gb hard drive and not other media, with the CiragoTV Mini I’ve got access to several types of media and basically unlimited storage potential.
The CiragoTV Mini has an LED on the front that lights up a bright blue, almost purple color when powered on and it stays lit red when the unit is powered off. Here’s a couple pictures of the unit on and with a USB drive in it:
You can have a USB drive plugged in and a memory card at the same time, but you can’t access both at the same time, meaning the combined files won’t be listed for you. You’ll have to select which media you’re using then browse that media for your files.
The interface is well done, it’s basic but it works. From what I gathered Cirago wanted to make this a very user friendly device, it’s has nice features but at it’s heart it’s fairly basic. The main screen gives you five choices, Photos, Music, Videos, Files and Setup.
Clicking Photos takes you to a preview of the photos on the media.
Clicking a photo will open it up and begin a slide show, on the bottom is a control bar that will disappear after a few seconds. I was taking pictures of a Noctua CPU cooler and my cat decided it was time for a nap no matter what else was going on, so he just hopped on up and passed out…
Clicking the Music tab takes you to your music, it’s listed the way it would be on the album. In the following screen shots I’ve only got one album on there, Rammstein Benzin. I did find a small problem with how the device handles music, I put two folders on the CiragoTV Mini and it just opened both of them and displayed all of the tracks, instead of letting me select the album I wanted to listen to. If you put a lot of music on here it will quickly get very confusing.
The next selection is Videos, here you’ll just find a list of the videos available to play:
Playing a video is easy as pushing the Play button on the remote. When you’re watching a movie, just like with the photos, a menu control bar is displayed but will then disappear after a few seconds. The control bar has basic functions on it and those that you won’t find on the remote itself.
Clicking the Files tab will display everything on the media. here though you’ll get previews as well of photos and movies.
I did find a small bug, some of the videos didn’t preview correctly, they looked scrambled:
The last tab is Setup, here you can make any adjustments you need.
It’s divided into five sections:
General Setup is where you can make changes to Language, File Sorting, Auto Start, and Reset everything to Default:
Video Setup is just what it sounds like, you can adjust TV Mode (normal or widescreen), TV Type (NTSC or PAL), Resolution, DivX Subtitles, Subtitle Colors and Subtitle Background Colors.
The Audio tab only offers three choices, Analog, RAW and PCM.
On the Photo tab you’ll find choices for Interval Time setup, and many different Transition Modes:
The Firmware version option just displays the Firmware Version at the bottom of the display.
As far as using the CiragoTV Mini, I had no real problems, I hooked it up via HDMI to my 47” Vizio HDTV and it worked perfectly, the picture was nice and clear for everything I did. As I mentioned it didn’t come with an HDMI cable so I had to supply my own.
I found the remote does have a nice long range, I found I could easily lie on my couch and control it with no problems.
I would like to have seen a carrying case come with the CiragoTV Mini, after all it is portable, and a carrying case would have been a nice addition.
While in use the unit does get warm to the touch, but not hot at all.
Obviously the CiragoTV Mini is quiet, it has no moving parts. If you add a hard drive to it then you may have some noise of course, but for other media you won’t as you might expect.
The price of the CiragoTV Mini will vary by where you look, but I found it on Amazon for $59 and change, not including shipping, so that not a bad price really, especially when you compare it to other media player that don’t come with storage. The price is inexpensive, but you’ll need to have your own or buy an additional HDMI cable, so that could be an added expense there in the overall cost. Well you’ll also need storage, but I think this device is intended for people that already have storage available.
The CiragoTV Mini is truly a great little product. If you’re in the market for a media player than I can highly suggest you give this one a look, it’s easy to use, well made and it works great.
The lack of HDMI cable is a disappointment really, but that can be easily remedied. The remote is limited in functions but it does what it needs to do. As I mentioned in the review I would have liked to have seen an included carrying case as well, maybe one with a couple pockets, one for the CiragoTV Mini, one for the remote, one for the PSU and one for a 2.5” hard drive or whatever else.
+Not limited to one type of storage (unlimited storage potential)
+Easy to use
+Small and portable
-Limited function remote, very basic (but it works)
-No HDMI cable included
-No carrying case