Philips HMP2000 Smart Media Box Review
What is it?
The Phillips HMP2000 Smart Media Box is Phillips’ answer to Apple TV on a budget.
With the ability to use Netflix, YouTube along with streaming content from a USB Drive, Phillips are definitely aiming for the consumer who wants to get into the ‘Smart TV’ revolution but doesn’t want to break the bank.
Is this little glossy box filled with a world of entertainment, or should you save your cash?
Design is the first thumbs up for the Smart Media Box, we would have preferred matte black over the glossy black chosen due to dust and fingerprints but only the top is glossy so it’s not a major problem.
The top of the Box is angled downwards from the back to the front which makes for a strange shape that works well, while the back-top angles the opposite direction until about halfway down when it changes into a flat back.
These angles give the Box a kind of triangle shape towards the back yet a slim, almost tapered edge at the front, again it’s a strange but nice design.
On the bottom-back is the power socket and one HDMI port, the right side contains one USB port while the left side remains bare.
Overall it’s a minimalistic design that works very well, there’s one LED light on the top of the device that glows green when on or red when in standby.
The menu presented to you upon start up is pretty basic, Netflix, YouTube, USB, Internet Services and Settings.
Netflix is the bread and butter here while it feels as if YouTube and USB support was thrown in only to justify the price.
Netflix has a very Metro feel to its UI, much like the Xbox 360 dashboard and the upcoming interface in Windows 8. The shows and movies are presented in a cover flow style which is quite nice on the eyes and easy enough for anyone to use.
YouTube is a bit less straightforward on the other hand, offering some sort of ‘tabs’ on the left hand side with seemingly random videos loaded into each one, it’s not the worst use of YouTube we’ve ever seen but it’s by no means the best either.
Quite simply put, it gets the job done – just.
USB support is a very welcome addition but again an addition that’s quite bare-bones and feels it.
It does support a wide array of video types and allows playback of music and photos also, but the menus are just very slow and clunky.
It’s a very useful addition nonetheless and one that’s lacking on Apple TV.
If you’re looking for a nicely designed and attractive device to help you turn your TV into a Smart hub of sorts, where Netflix and YouTube can become a common sight in your living room then the Phillips HMP200 is aimed squarely in your direction.
Solid Netflix and YouTube support combined with a bland but simple to use interface and a good USB support option make this an attractive purchase at a decent price.
We also would have liked to see more features such as 4OD, VEVO or RTÉ Player and DLNA support for smartphones.
It’s sadly let down by its frustratingly small and cheap-feeling remote control along with the lack of an Ethernet port, but if you’re looking for much more at this price point then you’re not Phillips intended buyer to begin with.