Today I will be reviewing the superb KDLinks HD720 Media Center.
Let me first start off by telling you, it's extremely easy to set up. The HD720 comes with all of the cables you need to get started right away. The device also has as a hard drive enclosure that you can turn into a NAS or store any amount of movies, TV, or music for direct access to your media. The hard drive I installed was a 4TB internal hard drive and it fit into the HD720 perfectly with no issues. The hard drive is accessible through the menu and is very easy to get to. This product can also function as a FTP Server when it is attached to your home network via wired or wireless connection.
I want to point out that KDLinks actually supplies you with an HDMI cable and a USB cable as well. The only thing it doesn't come with are batteries for the remote control. I think including the HDMI cable (no company does) far makes up for the "Batteries Not Included"
The HD720 features a gigabit Ethernet LAN port, USB 3.0 inputs, SPDIF for 5.1/7.1 surround sound, and also comes with a remote control. I shared my music folder onto the network, turned on the machine and let it sit as that was recommended. The first startup gets the machine acclimated and then you proceed to go through a basic setup. After the setup you can go to settings and then setup your wireless or wired hookup to the network. I didn't have a hard wire connection where I installed the HD720, so I used the WIFI. I selected the wireless option, entered the network key, and I was ready to go. The only thing I had to do next was go to the devices and select network, type in my user name and password and presto! All of my music, movies, TV shows were all there ready to be watched!
The movies option was very interesting. By hitting the menu button on a selected movie, you can download all of the information about the movie, and that even includes Fan art and posters. This is really important because of XBMC is able to supply all the information and fan art as well. One thing I haven't seen anywhere else is the ability to preview the movie. Once you have selected the movie, on the left side of your screen you will see a windowed version of the movie actually playing. It's great that you can view the movie and still decide if you want to watch it or not.
A large part of why you should buy the HD720 is because of all of the different formats this amazing little player can do. Any file format of any media type can be played on this machine. What impressed me is the fact that it has a codec built in to play Flac file format for music as I have not seen that advertised anywhere.
The HD720 tells you the speed at which the network is running so that when you are watching a TV show or a movie on the network, you can tell if there will be buffer issues or playback issues. The quality of the videos that I am playing on the network are fantastic and it felt that I was actually playing them off of the hard drive inside.
TV shows, as long as you have them organized on your own network are very easy to access and play. Like I said previously, having the ability to play every file format is key. My favorite part about watching the TV shows is that you can start from the first episode of the season, and without telling the HD720 it will actually play the next episode.
You can change the resolution, but I always recommend 1080p and you can also screen adjust incase something isn't calibrated correctly. The HD720 box is completely silent and I don't hear any noise while watching my media. The WIFI hasn't dropped any signals, and I haven't had any buffer or stop/play issues with the network either. I haven't been able to try out the gigabit Ethernet at this time, but I am sure it functions great.
The HD720 also has a screen saver so that you aren't burning up your LCD, LED's or Plasma, not that Screen Burn has been a huge issue as of late. The box never gets too warm and I have it as an always on device.
The GUI is very easy and simple to use, and you can find the needed settings very fast. Setup is a breeze and all of the options and settings are basic so it's really easy to get around and select the settings you want. You have the ability to rescan drives for any changes that might have occurred as well.
The HD720 not only plays all of the music, movies, and t.v. you can imagine, but it does it with ease. A very slick looking box, that also has an option for your very own hard drive. Not only is this device perfect for at home use, but you can take it on the go. My scenario would be camping in an RV, have a TV , HDMI cable, and the HD720 with the hard drive installed with your favorite movies, music, and TV shows. It just shows you can travel anywhere with this box and as long as you have an HDMI cable you can hook it up to most every TV now and immediately have a hookup to your media world.
I give the HD720 the White-Out Stamp of approval and I think you should pick one up from the site I have included in this review. For the price, you can get a one stop shop for all of your media needs. I own an HTPC that I had built this year, and felt like this little box could replace it in a heart beat. It has a front LCD display and looks slick like a Home Theater device that is appropriate to have in your family room.