Since we got two different MyMovie units delivered to us for reviewing, we shall take a look at the bigger star of the show, the MyMovie MV3800 HD Media Recorder. First up: a picture of the MV 3800 HD Media Recorder, complete with the items that are bundled in the box:

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You get two composite video cables, the obligatory remote control and power adapter, a special composite video cable, an antenna, a microUSB cable and the instruction booklet in the box. No free coaxial or optical cables though: you can’t expect Universal Tech to provide everything.

A Closer Look: MyMovie MV3800 HD Media Recorder

Although we are not designers in any way, we could not help but feel that the engineers who worked on the MyMovie MV3800 HD Media Player probably sat around a desk discussing about the device’s design for hours until one finally got impatient and yelled “Let’s make everything out of brushed aluminum!” And before you start thinking that we have too active an imagination, here are a couple of pictures of the MV3800 HD Media Player’s brushed metal body in all its metallic glory.

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Media players are typically only available in one color, and for the MV 3800 HD Media Recorder’s case, that single color happens to be black. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with this lack of choice: after all, these devices are designed to complement one’s home theatre setup aesthetically. Of course, that means having to deal with the MV 3800’s box-like shape, but then again, most typical media playback devices like DVD players, Blu-ray players and pay-TV set-top boxes sport such designs as well.

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A Closer Look: MyMovie MV3800 HD Media Recorder connectivity

Key to a media box’s capabilities is the variety of expandability and connectivity options which it supports, and suffice to say the MV 3800 HD does a rather decent job in ensuring that users are not left out high and dry where connectivity is concerned. Of course, it does not immediately look as such at first glance due to the fact that the MV 3800’s front only sports one I/O port: a three-in-one card reader which supports SD and MMC cards, along with Sony’ proprietary Memory Stick storage device.

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Turning the MV 3800 around reveals a completely different story though, as shown in the image below:

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As the MV 3800 is meant to fulfill both the roles of a media player and a media recorder, it should come as little surprise that it sports more ports than the standalone media player boxes. Located under the cooling fan are two connectors for television antennas, ostensibly to allow the MV 3800 to receive and process analog and digital TV broadcasts.

Audio-Video in/out connectivity on the MV 3800 are also more than sufficient for most average users with typical media consumption needs. This is because Universal Tech has apparently opted to stuff in two composite video/audio output connectors instead of the usual one. In addition, support for component video is also present, albeit in a slightly non-standard implementation. Also present are jacks for audio output via coaxial or optical cable. Also located here is a HDMI-out port, along with the obligatory Ethernet port and two USB ports for WiFi access, although these ports can also be used for connecting USB storage devices. A microUSB port is available for PC connectivity, and the all-important AC-adaptor jack is located right next to the microUSB port.

Last but definitely not least, the MV3800’s designation as a ‘media recorder’ means that part of its functionality revolves around the capability to record content. And needless to say, a healthy amount of space is needed for storing such content: this is where the MV3800’s built-in hard disk bay located on its right comes in handy:

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Unlike some media boxes which gives users the flexibility of choosing between a 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SATA hard disk for storage purposes, the MV3800 offers no such choice. Indeed, just looking at the empty hard disk bay reveals that the MV3800 was designed to be used with, and only with 3.5-inch hard disks.

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Despite the lack of choice, we felt that the decision to restrict users to using only hard disks of a specific form factor actually works to its advantage, After all, one must remember that this is a ‘media recorder’ we are talking about: this means that the MV3800 is expected to serve as a central device for both playing back and recording media content. Therefore, huge storage capacities are a must, especially heavy usage circumstances, and the only high-capacity, 2TB hard disks available in the market all conform to the 3.5-inch form factor, making it the most practical form factor for use in the MV3800.

A Closer Look: MyMovie MV3800 Media Recorder Interior

Of course, this being VR-Zone, a review is usually never complete without a complete teardown of the device to its base components. Which is precisely what we had done with the MV 3800 HD Media Recorder, as shown below.

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Unfortunately, we were not able to see the processor used by the MV3800, as there was no labels or serial numbers found on the chip after the heatsink was removed and its accompanying thermal paste cleaned off. Universal Tech has informed us that the MV3800 makes use of a Realtek 1083 C+ processor, but a quick search on Realtek reveals that the 1083 does not exist. However, we suspect that the elusive “Realtek 1083″ media processor used is a Realtek RTD 1283, which sports mostly identical specifications and features as those listed by Universal Tech.

The component layout of the MV 3800 HD is surprisingly modular: instead of one large custom-shaped PCB, Universal Touch has opted to use three separate boards, each fitted with specialized hardware for specific tasks. The one which we have in our hands below is the SD/MMC/MS card reader, which has been detached from the ribbon cable connecting it to the main board.

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The other board houses the MV 3800 antenna ports, and based on the numbers printed on it, we gathered that the board makes use of a Realtek controller. More specifically, the controller used is the RTL2830 DVB-T COFDM (Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial Coded Orthogonal Frequency-division Multiplexing) demodulator for receiving and processing digital TV broadcasts.

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