I've noticed a few queries about HMG over time, so I'll share what I have found. Hopefully this helps people considering the external HD direct to amp set-up.
I have a 1TB external HD
connected directly via USB.
HMG scrolling is painfully slow. This is slightly monotonous given there are over 1,000 albums on my HD. It is especially tedious when I have scrolled half way down and I am down to M', only to accidentally click out of the albums directory back to the HMG screen.
HMG seems fairly happy to play everything the manual says it can play (have tried mp3, Flac, wav, DTS encoded wav, m4a). Having said that, it occasionally freezes and a quick power off/on is required to start fresh. Same grief applies when you lose your place in the directory however.
I realise I could break it up into alphabetical folders (A', B', C', etc with artists in each folder alphabetically) but it's more fun reviewing all my options when I'm not sure what I want to listen to.
I plan to set-up an old spare PC
as a predominantly music player (with occasional DivX play). At the moment it has limited audio connections, so I am hunting either a low-profile soundcard with coaxial/SPDIF out or an external USB soundcard with coaxial/SPDIF output for 5.1 DTS encoded wav files that I have.
After I've sorted that out, I then
need to find a media player with the capacity to play the DTS encoded wav files, in addition to the usual suspects. I have looked at Media Monkey, Winamp, Songbird and a bunch of others, but haven't found one that plays all of these files types. Funnily enough, that's what HMG does with ease.
Anyway, that's a work in progress...HMG in action.
I realise the aspect ratio is probably wrong but I can't change this on the Pio so I've grown used to it (which is funny because I can't believe how many displays I see in hotels etc where the AR is incorrect and I always want to fix it!). When I select video parameters on the remote it always says CANNOT SELECT' unless I am viewing a jpg.
HMG playing a FLAC file. Note the absence of anything in the 'genre' field (although it has been tagged and shows in Winamp and other progs) and the remain time' is filled with stars.
HMG playing the same song as the above pic, ripped to a mediocre bit-rate mp3. Note that the last letter in each of the 'artist', 'album' and 'title' fields are missing. This happens to every mp3 I play. I tried placing one single album on the HD first to see if that would fix it, but it did nothing, so it is not to do with the quantity of songs/folders. Starry remain time' again.
HMG playing another mp3. Demonstrates the same last character missing' phenomenon. The 'remain time' is back however.
HMG playing DTS encoded 5.1 wav file. The fact that HMG plays and decodes this is pretty good, I think.