Today we are reviewing the 8ware Wireless Stream Box.
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We’ve all been in a situation where we have content, like TV shows, movies or music, on our laptop but we want to watch it on our iPhone, iPad or other mobile device. It can be frustrating. You need to hook it up to your computer, then copy it across to iTunes and then across to your device. After about 15 minutes of stuffing around you might have your TV show ready to go, and that’s only if nothing goes wrong.

There’s actually a much easier way to consume your favourite media content, and it’s probably a lot simpler than you think. I review a number of devices and at times I can’t figure out how to make things work so how can I possibly advise other people? The 8ware Wireless Stream Box is a little different.

As a very basic overview, we download some content and then attach it to a USB or Portable Hard Disk device. Then we plug it in to the Stream Box and we’re able to watch that content from any device connected to the network. It’s pretty straight forward really.

I tested the Stream Box on an iPad mini and the first thing I needed to do was jump on to the iTunes store and download the free 8Ware app to run on your device. It’s pretty easy to search and install, take no more than a couple minutes. Of course this is a ‘one time’ activity as well.

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After installing the app I need to connect my device to the Stream Box wifi network. The Stream Box is effectively its own wifi hot spot. Pretty cool huh? This means that even if you don’t have a wifi hot spot in your house you can still connect to the Stream Box from your device while sitting on the couch or outside with your beverage of choice.

After connecting to the Stream Box hot spot, we then want to connect to our normal wifi. Why is this important? If you’re just connected to the Stream Box, you won’t get access to the internet or to your other networked devices. If you ‘piggy back’ on to your existing wifi it gives you the best of both worlds. You can consume content with ease and be able to flick over to the internet and check email as well.  I found the app really simple and straight forward to connect up to my own wifi, which was a little surprising. Often they make completing these simple tasks something worthy of a gold medal achievement. It was refreshing to see that this was not one of those occasions.

Moving along, we now have our iPad mini connected to the Stream Box hotspot and piggy backing my own internet hot spot in my house.  So now it’s time to start looking for something to watch. I’ve got some content on my USB flash drive so I plug that in and the Stream Box picks it up and is ready to go. I can see the menu on the side and can, from there, select media to display.

The streaming is very good. It doesn’t jump around or stall or go slow like I anticipated. I will admit that I expected this mid-range product to offer a flaky experience where the video stalls and needs to catch up. It doesn’t. And this was really refreshing. In fact, this review took quite a while to complete because I kept getting lost in content that’s been sitting around on one my flash drives. I forgot that I was streaming from the other room, that’s how good the quality was. I love being wrong sometimes and will certainly be letting a few people know about this little product. Comforting to know I can tell non-technical people about it too, it’s that simple to setup.

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I would highly recommend the 8ware Stream Box to consumers who have been searching for a means to more easily access their media on devices at home or the office.  The only downside I could see was that it doesn’t play the popular format of .avi for video files. The alternative it offers, however, is that you download the content to the device and play it from there. It takes a little longer and is a little clunky, however it’s at least an alternative.

I score the Stream Box by 8ware an 8.5 out of 10.

Review by Andrew Cunningham.