April 21, 2009 ‘Whatever you want – wherever and whenever you want it' is pretty much today’s philosophy, especially when it comes to music, movies and photos. We’re used to getting our content at the click of a mouse, button or scroll-wheel and it's this kind of flexibility and simplicity of access that Cisco's Linksys Media Hub aims to bring to personal media collections, delivering up to a terabyte of storage capacity backed by an intuitive interface and remote access functionality.

The Media Hub is a compact storage device and server that allows you to store, organize and share your music, movies and photos. Its 500Gb hard drive can be upgraded to one terabyte – that’s hundreds of hours of video and hundreds of thousands of songs and photos. The 300 series accepts files from USB devices as well as those on your network, while the 400 series features a flash card reader and an LCD screen.

You can stream CD-quality audio or up to three HD videos at once in your home, or access any of your media files from anywhere in the world via an internet connection, making it ideal for refreshing your iPod during a holiday, grabbing additional files for a meeting or watching favorite family movies on a business trip.

The built-in Media Importer will import almost any type of media file to the Hub. Uploading and downloading files remotely can be done via a web browser. Once the files have been transferred the Media Browser is used to play music, view photos, watch videos and manage your files - all at the same time if you so desire. The Media Hub automatically indexes the digital media files it stores, so you can use a web browser to access them through the Media Browser.

The Media Hub can be also be purchased as a complete Wireless Music System with three additional elements, the Director, Player and Controller. The Director can be connected to almost any speaker or audio system, as well as an iPod dock (an iPod docking station is available) if you have music on your iPod that isn’t replicated on your network. The Director has a built-in 50 watt per channel amplifier and a dedicated subwoofer RCA output which you can use to boost your existing subwoofer.

The Director can be used via a 3.5” LCD screen (on the 400 series) with the supplied Controller, buttons on the front of the Director or an IR remote (available separately). Different audio sources can be used including any computer connected to Linksys and music libraries. As with most other music organization systems you can create playlists and favorites.

The Player extends the functionality of the Director by enabling you to link different rooms and control them through the Director. Acting as a slave to the Director you can either have different music throughout the house or select ‘Party Mode’ where you link all systems in a network to provide the same source audio throughout your home. However, the Player doesn’t allow you to control content, skip songs, pause or alter the volume.

The NMH305 sells for USD$299.99, the NMH405 with color LCD status window, a media-card-reader, and sells for $349.99 and the NMH410 which comes with a full 1TB of storage sells for $429.99.

A video overview is available here..

Karen Sprey