I've owned the TViX 5000 for
almost 7 months now, but the unit has changed so much from firmware
release to firmware release that it was very difficult to pin down in
any specific point in time and review.
However, the software for the unit is slowly stabilizing so I feel it is
a good time to review the unit.
The TViX HD M-5000U is a strange looking creature. It is round and has (in my
humble opinion) a terrible outside design that causes most people to think
it is a strange cross between a toaster, a small office shredder, and a
Yes, the TViX 5000 by industry veteran DViCO, is tube shaped, and it's one
of the best media streamers currently available. DViCO is known for
various cards and devices for recording and playing back HDTV content.
TViX 5000 supports most major formats (short of H264/AVC and Matroska
content), in the MPEG-2, WMV, and DIVX variety. This includes both SD
and HDTV content. Touted a media jukebox, the unit supports not
only video, but a few audio formats (primarily MP3s) and image files
We won't go deeply into the source of such material, but suffice it to say
it is not difficult to obtain. DViCO offers an add-on to the unit (which I
have not tested) which is essentially an HDTV tuner that allows one to
record content directly on the unit. European users would be happy to
learn that a similar DVBT add-on will be available soon. These add-ons are
shaped like coasters that sit right below the unit and appear as an
integral part of it.
Like other devices of its type, the TViX
5000 is based on the 862X Sigma
designs chipset. As such, it suffers from the same issues as most other
devices of its catagory - problems that we'll go into later on in the
The unit hosts a nice set of output connectors, including a USB type B
(host) connector, two USB type A connectors, optical and coax audio
outputs, composite, S-Video and component video outputs, a DVI output
connector, and a LAN port.
TViX can stream content from the network using up to four different network
connections (each computer can host up to two connectors, so it can either
connect to one connection on four different computers, or up to two connections
on two different computers).
This streaming is done by either using an SMB
(Windows networking sharing) or NFS (Linux file sharing system). In the
past, only NFS was fast enough to support HDTV content, but DViCO has
improved the firmware and optimized it so that the unit can
support most typical HDTV content (up to around 18 Mbps) using SMB as well.
SMB requires no software to run on the streaming PC, which is a nice plus.
For NFS, you must run a small piece of software by DViCO. This software
runs in the background (a small TViX icon appears in the toolbar) and lets
you share a single directory (hacks are available to support more than one
disk that can run from this one share). I was able to test content that
streamed at speeds of up to 26 Mpbs, which is higher than most content
that is available today in these formats.
Alternatively, the unit contains space for a hard disk sporting up to
500 GB of content. The drive can run quite hot, so DViCO added a small fan
to prevent the hard drive from overheating the unit. Unfortunately, this
little fan can be quite noisy, so you are better off using a drive that
doesn't run so hot (e.g., a 5400 RPM drive). Installing the drive requires
the use of a screwdriver and two screws (i.e., anyone can do it).
streaming off the internal drive runs quicker (I was able to successfully
test it with content of up to 38 Mbps!!!), and as an added bonus, the
internal drive supports bookmarks - i.e., you can stop playing a movie or
show and return to exactly where you left it off, at any time afterwards.
Unfortunately, this great feature does not work for content coming from
either the network or USB drives.
two USB ports allow you to connect two additional drives to the 5000. This
allows the unit to support many terabytes of data from directly connected
sources or a network drive. Thumb drives can also be connected to the
unit, but the connectors are in the back, which is oriented towards using
it with outboard USB 2.0 drives.
The internal drives and the external drives can be either FAT, FAT32, or NTFS formats (the latter is the most popular for most computer users). To
access the internal drive, you can connect the unit to a PC using a USB 2.0
cable, and it behaves like an external drive. However,
when it is connected this way, the unit cannot be used with a display.
Alternatively, the 5000 offers external access to the drive through FTP.
That means you can connect to it from another computer on the network and
place content into its internal drive. This is a very neat and unique feature and
one that I use often.
Click Here to Go to Part II.