With LaCie’s Silverscreen you can take all those perfectly legal downloaded movies and DVD rips and play them wherever there’s a television set—at home, in the car, or if you got caught illegally downloading, even in your cell.
The Silverscreen hooks up to your TV through a scary-large proprietary cable with composite and S-video connectors (a component video cable is optional). A simple menu system allows you to select the type of media you want to play (it plays back photographs and music in addition to video) and presents you with the titles in a format that’s easy to read and select from using the included remote.
In fact, what makes or breaks a drive like this isn’t the number of formats it accepts, but how well it handles the number of ways in which movies can be encoded using these compression formats. And the Silverscreen plays more than any other portable video player (PVP) we’ve ever tested. Even Divx files encoded at very high bit rates played without a single hiccup. The device doesn’t support Divx 6 compression yet, but this could easily be remedied with a firmware update.
The Silverscreen also cleverly solves a serious problem afflicting most portable video players. Because of “legal issues,” most PVPs won’t help you rip video to your hard drive, and compressing ripped DVD-Video files is user-hostile, time consuming, and prone to lost menus, subtitles, and other DVD features. While the Silverscreen won’t play a commercial DVD if the files are simply dropped onto the drive, it will play an ISO, or disk image of the DVD, and treat it as a genuine DVD with all the features and resolution intact. So if you’ve got ripped DVD-Video files on your drive (sometimes they just, you know, appear), creating an ISO disc image of the files is a simple, two- or three-click affair in disc-mastering applications like Nero and Easy Media Creator.
As a data storage drive, the Silverscreen certainly won’t be accused of doping to improve performance, taking 7:13 to transfer 7.5GB of data. But simply load it up while packing—you can’t find a better way to watch your movies wherever there’s a TV around.
— Logan Decker