modix HD-3510

The Modix HD-3510 is a clever media player that could almost be the perfect device to archive large video and audio libraries at a reasonable price. The unit is basically an external USB 2.0 hard drive case — you add the drive, at sizes of up to 2TB — with a dedicated chipset designed to play back virtually every video format, including Divx, MPEG-4 and VOB files ripped from a DVD, as well as MP3, WMA and OGG audio files. The idea is that you hook it up to your computer, do all your ripping and then unplug it and connect it to your TV. While the process isn't painless, and certainly isn't fast (we wish you could rip to this directly from a video source, rather than having to use a computer), in the end, you've got a highly portable media library stored on a player that you can connect to any TV using composite or S-Video outputs (unfortunately, there's no DVI). Yeah, we know some of you are going to say you can build one of these on your own with a small form-factor case (or a Mac mini), but for just $240, we doubt you can beat the price — especially if you have an old drive sitting around waiting to be given a new life.

[Thanks, Mark]

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Modix HD-3510 USB HD audio/video player