UEBO M400 WiFi Media Player

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Product: UEBO M400 WiFi Media Player
Provided By: UEBO

Price: ~$150.00 (Find Lowest Price Online)

 

Introduction:

Today we’ll be looking at a media player called the Uebo (pronounced you bo) M400 WiFi Media Player with Web Browser.  This media player looks to be a radical transformation of most normal media players by adding many new features that most media players don’t have.  The M400 does support USB 3.0 and 2.0 connections, a 3 TB HDD (sold separately), support for all media files, and True 1080p resolution and HD surround sound.  The new and radical features that have been added are; Bit Torrent for torrent downloads, FTP, NAS for network storage ability, and DLNA support.

To top that off it has built in wireless along with Gigabit Ethernet and the ability to watch Internet TV such as ESPN, CNN, and NetFlix through a subscription service called PlayOn TV. This is definitely not your normal media player and will require more knowledge than a normal media player as well.  This item could be a game changer.

Here we have a few photos that show the product in more detail.

M400 Box Front
M400 Box Front
M400 Box Back
M400 Box Back

 

In the images below you can see the sleek and stylish view of the front as well as a closeup of the ports on the side and rear of the M400.  Notice the SD card slot and USB ports on the side along with the HDMI, Ethernet, video and audio out ports on the back. 

M400 Front
M400 Front
M400 Rear
M400 Rear

 

The M400 also comes with these items and I highly recommend looking at the user manual before using this product or if you have questions about a certain topic as most things are covered in it.

Bundle
Bundle

 

On the next page we'll cover some of the features and specifications before we get deeper in the product itself.


 

Detailed Specifications & Features:

Before going into depth on the technical details about the product, I first will show you some of the specs found on Tigerdirect.

Uebo M400 1080p Wireless Network Media Player 

Type: Network Media Devices
Condition: New
Native Resolution: 1080p
Connector(s): USB

Optical Audio

Composite Video

Component Video

HDMI

Coaxial Audio

Ethernet Connection
Playback Format: File Playback Formats
Decorder: Dobly True-HD

Dolby Digital DTS HD
Ports: Ethernet

USB

SD
Features: Remote Control

Antenna

WIFI


 

 

And here is a list of features from the Uebo website.

  • USB 3.0 support for lightning fast file transfers.
  • Supports up to the latest 3 TB HDD.
  • Gigabit Ethernet Network for smooth HD playback.
  • Built-in 802.11n WiFi.
  • Supports all media file formats.
  • True 1080p resolution plus HD surround sound.
  • PC-Less Torrent Download, NAS, FTP, DLNA support.
  • Play-back All Audio, Video, Photo Files Format On Your HDTV or Standard TV
  • Watch or Listen to Internet Content Like YouTube, Flickr, Internet Radio
  • Use It As Internet Browser To Check Your Latest News, Sports, Social, etc.
  • Watch Internet TV Channels Such As ESPN, NetFlix, CNN, TED w/PlayOn TV
  • Use It As Secondary Data Storage Device When Connected To Computer
  • Data Backup Server To Backup Data From Your External Storage Devices
  • Playback Content From Your uPnP/DLNA Server Like DirecTV, Windows 7, etc.
  • uPnP/DLNA Server To Stream Digital Media Content To PCs On Your Network
  • Digital Signage Server To Playback Your Digital Signage or Video
  • Unattended Torrent Download Station
  • Windows/Mac File Sharing Server 

 

On the next page we'll jump into the setup and installation of the Uebo M400.

 

Setup and Installation:

The initial setup of the M400 to a TV or home theater system is quite easy.  Just plug in the power cord and the respective cables and you are good to go.  The same cannot be said about installing a hard drive, even though it is still easy to a degree.  When the bottom is unscrewed the frame then becomes loose and very moveable as you can see in the photo.

Inside

 

Screwing the HDD into the base plate of the M400 is pretty easy but in order to connect the SATA and power cables correctly, also shown in the image above; the base plate has to be laid a certain way.  Please note the location of the wireless antenna for reference.  There is also only one way in which the base plate can be assembled.  As you see in the photo above the arrow on the plate should point toward the USB connections on the side of the unit when reattaching.  Some of this is documented in the user manual; however some of it is not very clear.  The other important and cumbersome thing to note on this is the fact that the edges of the metal frame are quite rough/sharp.  This combined along with the fact that the white wires connecting the front LCD display are crammed in on the side, causes an issue where they will pop up from the side away from the frame.  This is easier to see in the photo below.

 

Crammed Wires
Crammed

It is already a tight fit when reattaching the plate with the HDD on, but the wires that pop out cause an issue where the HDD pushes them against the rough and sharp edge of the frame causing the protective coating to be cut into.  It may only be minor cutting/shaving of the protective coating but overtime this could cause a much bigger issue.  I feel just a tiny bit more space would have been very beneficial and would have made the HDD installation much easier and smoother.

On the next page, I dive into the review and see how it all shakes down.

 

The Meat of the Review:

Before we go any further I must point out that certain features were not tested because they were not applicable or they were not able to be used due to limitations of the setup. These features include the FTP Server, USB connection, PlayOn software and the wired Ethernet connection.

When first using the M400 Media Player, I noticed that the menu and options were fairly simple to understand and navigate but that sometimes the menu lagged or the unit didn’t respond to the remote. I would also like to stress that it would be a good idea to look at the manual to figure out exactly how the remote works before using it for the more advanced options.

Overall, the menu is pretty straight forward and simple in that it has sections for music, movies, photos, a file browser for the network, internet apps, web browsing and system settings. The settings menu consists of sections for video, audio, network, misc and system preferences. These preferences can be confusing to the normal user but as I said earlier this unit is geared a little bit more toward those who are little bit more tech savvy but you can also refer to the user manual for more information. With that, this leads me to a problem I encountered while setting up the wireless.


First I should say, the unit was  on the same floor as the wireless access point with only a door and part of the wall in the way at most, while the door is left open a majority of the time. I started with the unit on the floor and it was able to detect the home wireless network, however, it would not connect. The odd part is that it showed the network as having very good signal strength as well. So then I moved it up so that it would sit on the same stand that the TV sits on, yet I still encountered the same issue. I then decided to hold the unit with the antenna facing in the direction of the access point and finally I was able to connect to the home network but I also found that if I moved it back to those two locations the wireless would then cut in and out a lot. I had to position the unit on top of one of the home theater speakers in order for it to have a constant connection with the access point and is shown in the image below.

On Screen
On Screen

This problem with the wireless would again later come back to be an issue which we will revisit in a moment.

After getting the network all set up I decided to check out the file browser which worked perfectly as I could browse the SD card I inserted, the HDD I installed, or the workgroup computers that were on the network and sharing files. After locating music files, I found I was able to stream them from the computer to the M400 over the network pretty well. When it came to video files, streaming them from the computer to the media player was quite difficult. They would play for a moment, stop and then buffer and the cycle would repeat. It was quite the disappointment but as I mentioned before the connectivity issue to the access point came back to be a problem again.

 

This was the first time I have ever had an issue with the wireless not connecting in the house I tested the same functions of streaming with a laptop from the exact same location as the media player. The result was that the laptop had no issues streaming from another computer. I did a file transfer benchmark from one computer to the M400. Transfer rates back and forth would cap out at around 100 KB/s, which may be workable for audio files but when it comes to video files that is way too slow.  I am not sure what the issue is here but I would expect much better wireless reception from this unit as all the other wireless devices in the house have no problems.

We'll continue with more testing and usage on the next page.


Getting back to the file browser, not only can you access and play files from other computers but you can also open a menu where you can copy files from the other computers or devices and place them on the HDD of the M400. You can also access the M400’s HDD from another computer on the network as well, however it won’t show up in the network window (reason unknown to me), as you have to manually connect to it via the directions in the user manual. To go along with that you can remove and add files to the media player’s HDD at any time, but I suggest that once you are done, to rescan the HDD for the file changes.

Another feature that is related to the file browser is the UPnP server and client functions. In setting up the M400, you can choose if you want to enable UPnP or not. When enabled, all the media on the installed HDD of the M400 is now accessible to all devices on the network and shows up as a media device in the network. Setting up the M400 to be a server is the easy part, however setting up a computer to be the server and use the M400 as a client can be tricky, especially when they don’t give instructions for Win 7 setup.

Using the libraries section in an explorer window, you can change the settings to what directories you would like to include in those libraries. After that, you would have to enable sharing of those libraries via the homegroup and thus will show up as a media device on the network. Once the homegroup is setup all you need to do then is change its settings for what to share and what devices are allowed to access the media. The M400 may show up as an unknown device. With that setup aside I was then able to access media from the PC via the UPnP section of the file browser and was then simple file and folder browsing after that. The file browser and the UPnP features are great to have on this media especially when hooked up via the wired Ethernet as you can at that point enjoy your movies and music just about anywhere in the house.

For a short summation of the libraries on the M400, all multimedia files that are saved to the storage media that is directly attached to the media player will show up in their respective sections once they are detected. The same can be said for a file that was deleted, it will still show up until the media player determines that the file has been removed.

As a segue into the internet media section I would like to open with the Bit Torrent (BT) feature and say that this is a really great feature and works amazingly but it is key to remember that this function only works when a HDD is installed in the M400. The great part is that you can use the file browser and navigate to anywhere on the storage media or on the network to find the torrent, and with it selected hit the OK button on the remote to open it and add it to BT downloader. The main settings as to how you control your torrents remain the same from normal torrent programs such as speed limits up and down, how many jobs at once, auto deletion of jobs that have been finished for more than a certain time period along with which torrents get top priority. This feature is great so that you no longer have to download what you want to another location and then transfer it to the media player. You can just download it straight to the media player itself. 

 

As for the other internet media options it has some great free apps such as YouTube, Pandora, Flickr, Audio and Video Podcasts, Picasa, Yahoo weather and finance, SHOUTcast radio along with some other lesser known apps. To me these are great apps especially Pandora and SHOUTcast Radio, but the unit truly is lacking in apps for free use. I would have liked to see Facebook and Twitter included and even though I don’t use it, an app for Netflix. Even though those are missing there is an option to purchase a subscription to a service called PlayOn.tv that will allow you to get many internet TV channels such as Netflix, ESPN, CNN, Fox News, Foxsoccer.tv and CBS. One issue with that though, is if you already have accounts to Hulu, Netflix and other such websites, you would end up having to be paying again for something that you already have an account for. There is also much more additional content that is also included and in my opinion if you don’t have a TV service such as cable or dish already, or in that you want to scale back from expensive TV packages, this could be a great feature for you to get.

There are still limitations as to what you can receive and with that, you may not be able to get everything you want via that route. For me and my family we get everything we need from our cable package and then some, so we are well covered. If we were to switch to just this PlayOn.tv service it would be major downgrade and we would not get everything we wanted such as ESPN 2, ESPN U, Food Network, and the local cable channel that carries our local sports teams games. But as I said my family is satisfied with our current cable package. The PlayOn.tv service can still be a good option to have if you want to have it as an addition to TV package as sometimes the TV packages can only be limited to one room before it starts to get really expensive. This PlayOn.tv service has 3 subscription options, monthly at $5, annually at $40, or a onetime payment of $80. Personally in my opinion, I would get one month to try it and if you love it then get the onetime payment subscription; otherwise it’s not worth it.

 

With all of that said, we move on to the last features of the M400 Media Player, the web browser. This feature is an amazing item to have included with this unit however; it has way too many issues with for it to be a selling point for the Media Player. The remote that comes with the M400 is good and is usable with everything else however with the web browser it almost seems like it’s a useless tool. It takes far too long just to type out a web address when wanting to go to a certain web site. In addition to that, in my opinion their Mini Keyboard with Touchpad has be included with this product, otherwise it renders the web browser totally useless.

In relation to previous topic on internet apps, if you choose not to purchase a PlayOn.tv subscription you are left to use the web browser to access your Hulu or Netflix accounts. Trying to access them via the web browser just does not work either as there are even more issues with the web browser that arise. A huge issue is that adobe flash player is not supported by the web browser, and on top of that when trying to go to certain websites it will tell me that the privacy policy has changed and just leave me at a page with that message. Even when I try to reload the page or get back to it another way it still gives me the same error.

Another big issue and a huge reason why the mini keyboard with touchpad has to be included is the fact that browsing certain sites the navigation is almost near impossible as it skips over half the page or the entire page because it can’t recognize the layout of the middle of the page and its links. On some pages when you try to click a link or download a torrent, it will crash the whole unit and make it reboot and to top it off, pages that seem to use java also will not load. Overall, this web browser is very disappointing.

 

Conclusion:

As we look back over the Uebo M400 Media Player we can see that it has many great features such as File browser, Bit Torrent, UPnP server and client, FTP Server, Remote Management, and support for some of the latest tech such as USB 3.0, SATA HDDs up to 3TB in size, and various audio and video inputs and outputs. Despite all these great features there are still issues that need to be fixed such as the wireless connectivity, the lack of free internet apps, the instructions on how to setup Win 7 for UPnP sharing with the unit, and the very terribly frustrating web browser that only really works for the most basic of websites.

A lot of functionality would have been far better (mainly in the web browser section) had they included the mini keyboard with touch pad. I believe that item should be mandatory with this media player. Another issue that I found late on was that you can’t multitask by listening to music while surfing the web, it has to be one or the other. All in all, this Uebo M400 Media Player with Web Browser had heaps of potential at being an amazing media player but in the end there was still much to be desired and with that I think that it is over priced in its current state.



The physical quality of the product is pretty good and as long as it’s not falling from high places, should last a while, the only flaw is really the design of the inside of the unit where wires over time could end up being cut due to the rough and sharp edges of the metal frame, if an internal HDD is installed.

The standard accessories come with this unit and it was a nice bonus to see the included a USB 3.0 however with that said, they really have to include the mini keyboard with touch pad for this unit, especially with the current web browser they have implemented.

Installation was a breeze and very easy, and the menu on the home screen is very straight forward as well. Since this product includes big and slightly more complicated features that most media players don’t; reading the manual is a must for certain things but still very straight forward for the most part

Some of the functions of this media unit worked amazingly well but others seemed to be a complete disaster. Bit Torrent worked wonderfully along with the NAS, File Manager, Media Libraries and the free Internet Apps that were installed. The menu can be quite laggy at times while other times the device seems to freeze or lock up. The Wireless has issues with connectivity and transmission strength, whether or not the transmitter/receiver powerful enough I don’t know but I did not have any issues with any other wireless devices from the exact same location. Streaming of video files over the wireless network was massively terrible as it would stutter stop pause play and repeat all the time. Audio files streamed over the network never had an issue though. Transmission speeds over the wireless were capping out at 100 KB/s which maybe fine for audio only but video suffered greatly.  

 

In a late test of hooking up the Gigabit Ethernet, I have noticed that with the one MAC address the unit shuffles between multiple ip addresses while on, causing many connectivity issues. The very small amount of free apps is also disappointing as since I have a Hulu account already, having to pay for a service just to be able to use something like that is quite the sore point. On top of that, the web browser, unless it’s used for very minimal and simple stuff, is basically a complete failure. Having no support for Java and Adobe Flash, with issues of objects and frame recognition on websites as well as the fact that the message “Could not load page because privacy policy changed” that would come up often, really makes the feature almost useless.

Over all in my opinion the price of about $150.00 for the product is too expensive considering important features do not work very well. On top of that I believe the mini keyboard with touch pad should be included with this unit. Because a set price was not given, I found that online stores would price it from $140 to $160 but usually closest to $150. Because of all the issues with this item and lack of the mini keyboard with touch pad, this M400 Media Player should probably be priced at or around $100. If you were to include the mini keyboard with touch pad, I could see the price going to about $120 or $130 at most but in its current state, to say the least, it is overpriced. Compared to reviews of other items on the market such as the Boxee Box and WD TV Live, this M400, although it has some great features, it simply under-performs.

BCCRating

I'd like to thank Uebo for sending this unit our way to review.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.