By August 27, 2010

LaCie LaCinema Mini HD multimedia player review

LaCinema_Mini_3QTR_Right_and_Remote The LaCinema Mini HD is something new to me, I was unaware of it before asked to review it however like many would be was intrigued by the promise this little black box arrived with.

There are quite a few of these ‘set-top-box’ style media players on the market now so what has the LaCinema got to offer? You’ll have to read on to find out! 


What’s in the box?

  • LaCinema Mini HD Connect
  • External power adapter
  • Remote control (includes 2 x AAA batteries)
  • Composite video and audio cable
  • Ethernet (network) cable
  • PV TwonkyMedia Server 5.1

Also check out Matt’s LaCinema mini HD unboxing video for more.



The mini HD from Lacie offers great styling coming in the form of a small, sleek, glossy black box, so with great styling it would be easy to judge this box by its cover so lets take a little look around the LaCinema mini HD and see what it has to offer.

The front of the device features an open USB port for easy connection as well as the obligatory flush stand by button also on the front of the device when in use is a very impressive blue glow finishing off the front of the device nicely.



There is slightly more going on in the rear of the device with from left to right USB connector, Ethernet port, optical audio out, video composite + stereo, HDMI and the power input.



Sat next to a brand new HDTV this glossy black box is sure to compliment any room and with plenty of connectivity on offer it is sure to give customers plenty of options for their viewing pleasure.



LaCie LaCinema Mini HD Connect specification:

  • Interface : HDMI 1.3, Audio Video RCA, Digital Optical Audio
  • Maximum Resolution : 1920 x 1080p
  • Supported File Systems : NTFS (Windows®), HFS+ Non-journaled (Mac®), FAT32 (Mac/Windows)
  • Video Codecs : AVI, MKV, MOV, DIVX, MPEG, TS, MP4, WMV, DVD-Video (ISO, Video_TS), MPEG1/2/4, DIVX/HD, XVID H.264, VC1, AVC/AVCHD (a majority of AVC/AVCHD formats have been tested and are compatible).
  • Audio Format : MP3, WMA, AAC, MP4, WAV, OGG, FLAC
  • Subtitles : SRT, SSA, SUB, SMI, PSB, ASS
  • Interface Languages : English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Nederlands, Greek, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Finnish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean
  • Subtitle Languages : Western Europe, Central Europe (Windows-1250), Central Europe (ISO), Traditional Chinese (Big5), Simplified Chinese (GB18030), Japanese (Shift-JIS), Korean (EUC-KR), Cyrillic (Windows-1251), Cyrillic (KOI8-R), Turkish, Greek (Windows-1253), Greek (ISO)
  • Playlist : PLS, M3U, WPL (Windows Media Player, Winamp compatible)
  • Digital Audio : Dolby Digital Decode / DTS pass-through
  • Photo : JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF
  • Network Application : UPnP/DLNA player Shared folder (Samba/CIFS Client/Server)
  • Network Compatibility : Wired: Ethernet 100Mbps / Optional Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n
  • Dimensions : 118 x 118 x 40 mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1.5 in.
  • Weight : 300 g / 10.5 oz.
  • System Requirements :
    • Computer with an Ethernet network adapter
    • Television with a composite or HDMI video input
    • Latest version of Windows XP, Windows Vista®, Windows 7 / Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6 / Linux 2.6
    • Minimum free disk space: 600MB recommended
    • Ethernet switch or router
    • Web browsers: Internet Explorer® 7.0 / 8.0, Firefox® 3.0, Safari® 3.0, or Chrome 2.0 or higher



  • Easy Connectivity
  • Ease of Navigation


  • No HDMI Cable Included
  • No Wireless



Before I get into how well The LaCinema Mini HD does what it does it seems appropriate to take a moment to explain just what it does. The LaCinema Mini HD is essentially an HD media player capable of playing all your movies in stunning high quality High Definition regardless of video quality or resolution, great in theory but can in deliver in practice.

The simplest way to connect your LaCinema would be via a simple USB to USB connection simply transferring your videos from computer to device, disconnect and enjoy great playback on your home television. This is a process, which will be perfectly familiar to most of you reading this, and allows a great way of watching those clips you have stored away on your laptop and bring them to the big or bigger screen. Although a great method of gathering together your clips this is not the only option available to you, the LaCinema also offers you the ability to connect the box to your home network for seamless steaming from your home computer via a simple Ethernet connection. Both options work just fine however for me personally the USB option showed itself to be the more practical as some users do not have their router in the same room as the television they wish to watch their clips on.

One of the biggest problems I have always had with streaming things over a home network is issues with speed, it has been a constant source of doubt for me and although I was never basing it upon anything solid it has always put me off purchasing an item like the LaCinema in the past. Set up was a breeze simply connect the power cable, Ethernet and either composite or HDMI and you are set to go.

So once set up the next thing to do is to get some content, I choose to mainly use a USB connection to get content however did also test the home network Ethernet route both of which I had no trouble with setting up or using. Once connected the navigation menu could not be simpler, each category (video, photos music etc.) is laid out and using the included mini remote can be easily accessed with your USB content automatically being placed in the correct category for easy storage. Obviously one of the key features of the Lacie is video playback, I tried several videos ranging in quality from fairly low to full HD and although I would tell you not to expect miracles the lower quality videos although they were a fair way off full HD did transfer well from computer to the TV and I didn’t find any problems with pixilation from the transfer. As for the HD videos these as you would expect looked superb with both visual and audio quality really excelling themselves to create a great experience watching those pc files on the home television.

The Lacie is not a one trick pony however and although viewing movies may be its party piece it also has a few more tricks up housed beneath that shiny black box of tricks. What entertainment experience would be complete without music and photo playback? Well I’m pleased to report that the Lacie has both bases covered and pretty well covered at that. Again accessed through the easy to use menu just simply select your input and you are done it is that simple. As with videos quality of your pictures and music will vary depending on the TV you own or the speakers you are using however it is safe to say the Lacie doesn’t take anything away from your files which is reassuring. As I mentioned earlier I was mainly using the system via a USB connection simply transferring files from USB stick directly to the LaCinema however it would have been an unfair review if I had neglected a major aspect of the Mini HD’s appeal and that is the ability to connect to a home network via Ethernet and stream your files that way. I mentioned my fears relating to this method earlier however I can say after just a few short minutes with the device those fears were lifted, it worked great with the Ethernet connection providing great speed allowing for HD video to be streamed seamlessly with little to no buffering problems. I am unable to give the Lacie a fair review on sound although as I mentioned earlier it will depend on your own audio set up at home and the device is likely to do anything to interfere with this.

The Lacie comes with the majority of the accessories needed for you to enjoy your entertainment straight out of the box, the mini remote is simple to navigate as well as the provided power cable and composite, one thing that did surprise me considering the HD in the name was the lack of an HDMI, even though many users may have a spare one around and they can be picked up fairly inexpensively these days it would have been a nice gesture from Lacie should they want HD out of the box. Speaking of things not included one that springs to mind with the Lacie is the lack of wireless connectivity, I mentioned earlier that my router is not in the same room as my main television and for that reason a rather long and unsightly Ethernet cable is required to connect the LaCinema Mini HD which although not impossible is certainly impractical.


A quick read of this review and I’m sure you haven’t failed to notice that I really like the LaCinema Mini HD, I think it does a fantastic job of giving the consumer the perfect home network home entertainment experience. Easy to set up easy to use at a reasonable price the LaCinema HD Mini really should meet all your demands, with full HD capabilities and great HD and standard definition connectivity if you are looking for an all round entertainment hub you could do a lot worse than the Lacie LaCinema Mini HD.


Review by: Nick

[ Post Tags: LaCie, LaCinema, HD Media Player,, unboxing ]

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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