Being able to stream or download music, TV and even films to a PC over a broadband connection is great – but it spoils the fun if you have to sit in front of a computer screen to watch it, or copy it to a disc so you can play it on a DVD player.

Wireless media servers such as the Philips Streamium solve the problem by forwarding the contents of your hard drive to the display in your lounge, bedroom or wherever you prefer.

The Streamium SLM5500 attaches to your TV screen via Scart or by RGB RCA cables (the latter aren't supplied). Aside from locating the media stored on your PC – the Streamium automatically looks in My Videos, My Music and My Pictures; you can add any other folders for it to scan – that's about as complicated as it gets.

There's the small matter of the wireless connection, of course, but the SLM5500 runs from behind a firewall, so there are no security issues to worry about unless the ports it uses and lists for you under the Security tab need to be unblocked. And the Streamium can watch folders, meaning any new content will be assimilated without any prompting from the user. You can add or remove watch folders at any time.

To begin viewing and listening to content on your TV, you need to select the external input channel on your telly, then go through the very simple configuration wizard using your Streamium remote control to navigate. You can then start to watch anything you could on your PC, even DRM (digital rights management)-protected files, as long as you have Windows XP SP2 installed. You can browse your content via the supplied remote, and there's a Shuffle button if you want to play a random selection.

Philips Streamium SLM5500: Specs

  • Ethernet RJ45
  • 802.11b/g
  • Scart
  • RGB RCA
  • video-compression formats Divx 3.11, 4.0 and 5.0, Mpeg, Mpeg2, Mpeg4, XviD, WMV, WMV-DRM
  • audio compression MP3, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA-DRM
  • 207x152x40mm
  • 0.8kg
  • Ethernet RJ45
  • 802.11b/g
  • Scart
  • RGB RCA
  • video-compression formats Divx 3.11, 4.0 and 5.0, Mpeg, Mpeg2, Mpeg4, XviD, WMV, WMV-DRM
  • audio compression MP3, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA-DRM
  • 207x152x40mm
  • 0.8kg

OUR VERDICT

The Streamium server isn't the prettiest Philips product we've seen, but its compact proportions mean it can be easily hidden away. It relies on the DRM in Windows Media Player 10.0, which means it can't be Mac-compatible. That's a shame, as this is otherwise a neat and workable solution.

Find the best price