Micca Slim-HD - In and Around

As I mentioned on the first page, the Slim-HD comes with a few accessories in the box, namely the remote and the various cables needed to run it. Notable in its absence is the HDMI cable; you’ll need to provide your own to get your HD on. We can’t fault Micca for that omission though, since not many competing products include it in the box either.

The media player itself is quite small, at 3.15”(W) x 5.35”(L) x 0.79”(H). It has about the same footprint as most 2.5” portable hard drives, except slightly thicker. Even with the internal 2.5” drive, the Slim-HD is significantly smaller than the WD TV Live models and Seagate’s $100 GoFlex TV, which both exceed 4” x 5” x 1.5”. I’m assuming that the extra size is mostly due to the more power-hungry processors and associated cooling mechanisms (we’ll get to that in a moment), but the takeaway here is that the Slim-HD is significantly smaller than most of the other HD media boxes out there.

Micca Slim-HD (left) next to a WD Passport 2.5" external HDD

The top face has the Micca Slim-HD logo and a power button and LED. The front side contains the HDD activity light and the remote’s IR sensor. The back has a 3.5mm AV out, an HDMI port, a mini-USB port, and a 5.2V DC input. The right side has an SDHC card reader to round out the ports. It’s decent, but nothing to earth shattering. The integrated SD card slot is a nice touch for people who want to take the memory card out of their camera and put onto the TV directly for viewing purposes, a convenience that it seems like many media streamers are overlooking these days.

The remote is small and very light. It’s not terribly different from the remote that WD included with their Live Plus, except with more buttons. Unfortunately, the buttons are pretty haphazardly organized, so it can be somewhat confusing. The remote body feels very light - on more than one occasion I found myself checking whether the batteries were still in the remote. The lightness of the remote and the unintuitive layout make the remote feel somewhat cheap, an impression carried out by the lack of branding and lack of colour coordination between the black unit and the silver remote body. But once you figure out the button placement, it works well enough, so let’s move on.

Micca Slim-HD - Introduction Micca Slim-HD - User Interface
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  • abrar - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    i noticed that there is a Firmware download link on the Micca website, have you tested it ?
    and if so , have you noticed an appreciable difference ?!
  • jack@micca - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    I believe the test unit already has the latest firmware. We do release new firmware frequently, however, and hope to improve handling of less-than-popular encoding methods and parameters.

  • blowfish - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    The look of the UI would be the least important aspect of any media player. I'm far more interested in media compatibility, so thanks for doing a throrough job on that. x264 support is high on my list of priorities. Personally, I have no interest in streaming media.

    The Slim-HD seems like a handy device to hook up to an hotel TV when you're traveling.
  • Rainman200 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Couldn't disagree more with you on that, the GUI is supremely important which is why Apple trounces many of their competitors.

    For far too long media players have had very poor GUI's designed by people with no UI experience or training at all. See the stock skin of the Realtek RTD1073 players.

    Shouldn't have to be that way, we can have both.
  • jack@micca - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    I agree with you that the GUI is important. And to that point, I would say that the Slim-HD's GUI while not pretty, is functional, simple, and responsive. Sure it doesn't have fancy transitions, a movie jukebox interface, or movie cover-art/info displays. But if you take a look at the modern digital media player with such fancy interfaces, they are either very expensive, and/or have a lot of bugs.

    I am not saying a nice interface is impossible, but industry as a whole is searching for an efficient way to present the massive video collections that users have in some coherent user friendly fashion.

    For us, usability is still the main focus for now. Future firmware versions will add a bit of eye candy to the various pages. But we will control such changes so as not to impact usability.

  • WingNutZA - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Does the player need external AC power when you hook it up to a PC as a storage device or can USB supply enough power when you only want to copy stuff to/from the unit?
  • jack@micca - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    No AC power is needed as this works as USB hard drive while drawing all the power it needs from the computer's USB port.

  • mfeller2 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I checked the docs, and there is not the ability to copy files from an SD card to the hard drive. It should be a simple software change to add this functionality, and adds flexibility to let Micca address a different market. There are products for in-the-field backup for digital cameras. Plug in the media card to a portable hard drive, and media card contents are automatically copied to disk, to have a second copy in the case of media card failure. Smaller than a laptop when there are packing constraints (photo-journalism, nature photography). With newer digital cameras now supporting video, the ability to do this in-the-field backup, and then do playback from the Micca drive...it's a nice all-in-one package that does more than the dedicated photo-backup hardware, and cheaper to boot.
  • Rainman200 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    The sochip SC9800 is definitely Arm based as there is a Chinese forum that deals with it used by Ainol players and someone hacked Android onto one of the PMP's

    If the rumors are true the Boxchip F10 is supposedly the same although why the different names is a mystery.
  • Pooki - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    I'd like to pick up the micca slim hd and pair it with a boxee remote. Combined, that's about the price of an AppleTV. Would it work, you reckon?

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