high-definition media streamer like it needs a shot in the foot, but never let it be said we passed up the chance to try a promising product simply because the competition was good. We're talking about the Uebo M200 --a never-before-seen box from storage company UIT -- whose claim to fame is a $130 price for everything-but-the-kitchen-sink media center functionality. Out of the box it's your standard streamer, playing loads of media formats from memory cards, attached storage and thumbdrives, plus ShoutCast internet radio, RSS feeds and UPnP shares from your PC, but also the usual suspects Hulu, Netflix, CBS and more via PlayOn media server. Pop in a 3.5-inch SATA disk, however, and things get more entertaining, as the box itself turns into an external hard drive, a network-attached storage device and even a Bittorrent client. It also doesn't hurt that the Uebo can hook up to most any entertainment system, with not only HDMI, component and composite connections but also every standard (HD, NTSC and PAL) video mode, there's a $30 optional wireless dongle, and the digital audio front includes both optical and coaxial jacks for output.
Sadly, in practice the above functionality isn't as streamlined as it sounds -- as is usually the case with these devices image quality can suffer slightly, and Uebo's GUI has a face only a mother could love. While the device admirably played the vast majority of one editor's anime music video collection (though it stumbled over XviD and Sorenson Video 3), sorting through nested menus to get to our content was a hell of a chore. PlayOn and Bittorrent seemed to work, though their roundabout implementation left much to be desired, with the former only accessible through a deep dive of the UPnP menu, and the latter requiring torrent trackers to be uploaded from a separate PC using a web client. We had a couple of crashes when testing the device, too, including a Bittorrent-related one where the Uebo completely stopped responding to input, but the majority of the time we enjoyed HD and SD content on the fairly capable little TV server. All in all, it's not the most polished product and shouldn't distract you from popcorn-eating elephants in the room, but if you're looking for a cheaper alternative it's hard to argue with Uebo. Take a brief tour with our gallery below, or hit up the more coverage link for a full datasheet.