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Imation Grand Entertainer Review

By on May 5, 2011
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Full bodied, feature rich.

Good: Supports all major file formats, Copy & paste any file onto unit itself, Record video from external source, Download torrents directly on unit
Bad: Big size, Slow startup, UI looks boring, Copy & paste is slow
Price: AED 699
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

While HTPCs were all the rage in the mid to late 2000s, many households have taken a liking to Media or Entertainment centers, which are the next evolutionary step in set top box. Prime examples of these are the D-Link Boxee Box, WD TV Live and Apple TV as well.

As the name implies, the Imation Grand Entertainer is designed to be one powerful, all-encompassing media center box which takes care of all your media content and delivers it straight to your HDTV. The Grand Entertainer boasts full 1080p playback of most of today’s common video file formats, including Blu-ray ISOs and .mkv files with multiple subtitle and audio support. On the Audio front Imation has everything covered from AAC to FLAC and everything in between.

Supporting most modern file formats aside, the Grand Entertainer also has the ability to record video on its 1TB built-in HDD from any external video source connected through component cables, whether it be your old VHS player (remember those?), camcorder  or satellite decoder. The other cool feature is the Grand Entertainer’s ability to download torrents directly onto its HDD, albeit controlled via your PC. As far as streaming media on your network is concerned, you can either do it over Ethernet or through WiFi. However, you’ll need a USB WiFi dongle for that. Last, but definitely not least, is the Grand Entertainer’s ability to copy & paste files directly from any external USB drive onto its built-in HDD. This really comes in handy if you don’t have a PC around and need to get that movie from a friend of yours who just happened to have it on their USB stick.

So features aside, let’s jump into the actual performance of the device. The first thing that struck me about the Imation Grand Entertainer was its bulky size, which seemed especially huge compared to the ultra-slim WD TV Live Hub that I own. The second thing that I didn’t like about the Grand Entertainer was the fact that every time you start it the internal HDD starts to spin up loudly, which leads me to believe it’s a 7200rpm HDD inside. The WD TV Live Hub has a completely silent start, and given its slim profile, I’m assuming it has a 2.5” 5400rpm HDD inside. Surprisingly the Gran Entertainer takes quite a while to startup, around half a minute; but once it’s booted up, it runs pretty smooth while scrolling through menus.

The interface here is pretty simple and straightforward, showing “All, Video, Audio, IMS, Video In, Timer Record and Setup”. While browsing in “All, Video and Audio”, you’ll have a choice of viewing files from the internal HDD, external USB or streaming it over the Network or via UPNP (for external NAS). “IMS” lists all the Internet services, i.e. Picasa, Flickr, Weather and Internet TV. Too bad there’s no YouTube channel, it would’ve really come in handy. Using these services, as well as playing back video (all DVD files, 720p and 1080p) was a smooth experience. There’s nothing different here than other Media Centers. I will say that while the WD TV Live Hub only picks up audio and video files from external sources (in this case my external 500GB HDD), the Grand Entertainer shows all types of files. Obviously it can’t play all these various (unsupported) formats, but it comes in handy while copying and pasting items.

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About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

Comments
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  • Baker

    Hi
    If i want to play a movie with subtitles, do I need to merge the the subtitles with the
    movie file or just place the subtitle and the movie in the same folder ?
    And can you record using 16:9 ? Because i read it only can record 4:3
    Thanks

    • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

      Having the subtitle file (.srt or .ass) in the same folder will be enough; no need to merge them. As for recording, I’m not really sure as I just tried recording from an old camcorder I had, which is 4:3. Perhaps the Imation team can better help you with that.

  • Awallizam

    I’m also having problem with my Imation GRand Entertainer (2TB) as my new Window 7 & 64 bit computer unable to detect the hard disk.  I only managed to get connection couple of times but suddenly today the PC no longer see the HDD.  I tried to other PC & laptops, give the same result no connection. 

    When I connected with ethernet cable via my router, then I can see the disk via my newwork.  What’s wrong with the USB?

    • Jomelfrez

      try to connect first USB in your before PC before power on the GRAND

  • Dima192005

    Dear friends of the Grand Entertainer, I would like to now if I can switch of the device when I set a record file? If I do that in the moment the blue power led starts with a abnormal blinking and in the main menu after switch on again there is no more the hdd. Is there anybody who has experience about that? It will be great if somebody can help me;-)

  • Sanfour216

    I think that it’s not a genuine Imation product, first it does not exist on imation website, and second, this product is avialable only in middle east, i can’t found it in any wabsite in Europe or USA, not like western digital HDD.

    No way to found any support on internet or to update firmware !!
    So be careful before buying it, it’s may be a chinese product with the word imation printed on.

  • http://www.qmsconsultants.com/ISO-9000%20ISO-9001.html iso 9000

    Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definately be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment.
    iso 9000

  • Jomelfrez

    how can i save the said url file how can i do it? for Internet TV

  • lemmor

    i have a annoying problem with this product. it stops for a second and resume while on playback. Any idea how to solve this problem?

  • F_mohammed83

    Guys how can I use the IMS service in this device, it gives error that the service not found for the saved url’s

  • Nayefyar

    i bought it two weeks ago

    first, i connected to my laptop (everything was okay so far). Then i transferred all my movies and the other stuff to the HDD. then i connected to my TV and i also connected a network cable. so, i was watching movies and transferring via network. but when i tryed to connected again to my laptop via USB, it wont… 

    when i connect it nothing appears

  • Sam123456

    Any body can tell, who to recored directrly from Satellite receiver, using Imation Grand Entertainter, and which way the cable should be connected.

    Regards

    SAM

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UMRIHRGCFCA4US4Z4FMWAAWBIU shanavas k

    Will I be able to record video/audio from IP cameras? (Network Video Recording)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Boustany/1466410638 Mark Boustany

    hello guys i have lost the installation cd and it’s not working without it can anyone give me a link to download the driver or maybe upload it on a host site? youl help will be very appreciated thank you

  • Timeout110

    I have two question . what is the quality of the recording and what the the type that it will be record on it ( avi / mwv / mpg ) ?

  • Ahmad Yahia

    i wanna ask about something – Does it read Subtitles files (*.srt) or not ??

    • Joseph

      Yes, it does read subtitle files like *.srt.

  • Joseph

    Guys, don’t get frustrated. I too had a same problem as Rod has. I connected it with my Windows 7 PC and it recognized the Imation Grand Entertainer immediately. I copied some picture and video files and connected it with my Sony LCD TV. It worked well. Then I removed from the TV and connected back to my PC. Unfortunately, my PC was not able to recognize it. I tried many ways but all went futile. Then I removed the power cord from back of the HDD player while it was switched on and connected it back after a minute. To my surprise, my PC started recognizing it. Since then my PC recognizes it whenever i connect. Hope it will help.

    • anonymous

      Correct, had the same scenario last night , i have to admit i got frekish :D since i saw the drive in the Storage management but weren’t able to explore it

  • Pablo

    Will the firmware updates and general support from the Argosy HV359V work on the Imation Grand Entertainer and fix the USB connectivity problem?

  • El Cid

    I have an Imac & it wouldn’t write to this machine so I formatted it to FATS, now I can’t get it too play. Has anyone got any ideas on how to fix this?

  • El Cid

    Any Ideas if I can reset this unit to factory defaults?

  • http://www.facebook.com/saaed2007 Muteri Saaed

    Hi

    I couldnt find hv359v firmware from the website looks like they delete it!!!

    Anyone know anything about that or where can i download the firmware

  • http://www.facebook.com/shehryar.a.ali Shehryar Akhter Ali

    Dear Taimoor,I bought the grand entertainer 1.5 years back from Jareer saudi arabia. Although the box said it plays mkv files and so does your review, I can’t get it to play most mkv files and even when it does, it plays only sound and no video. Also, I have failed in locating the website or any sort of support online. I’ll appreciate if you could help me in any way please.

  • sask

    excuse me can you tell me where can I download the latest firmware

  • Padhu_lp

    Guys, I had the same problem of my Grand Entertainer not being recognised in my laptop after being connected initially. I searched many forums and could not find any solution. Finally,I found a way to make it work. I would like to share it here.

    I have a wireless ADSL modem and router through which I connect my Laptop
    wirelessly to the internet. I connected the network port behind the router to
    the network port in the Grand Entertainer using a Ethernet cable. And, volla, I
    am able to see the Grand entertainer as a network drive in my laptop. I could
    copy, paste and delete files in the Grand entertainer just as if it is another
    folder. Also, go to Setup in Grand Entertainer and set Network-> Network
    Sharing to On. This worked for me and I
    hope it works for others as well.

  • Carl Joy

    Hi, a movie file on my Grand Entertainer seems to be corrupted and I’m unable to delete it (even after connecting my PC), appreciate if somebody could kindly suggest how to get rid of this bad file?…. Cheers!

  • Calistus Jayatilleke

    I have been using an IMATION Grand Entertainer HDD Multimedia Player for the last couple of years without any hitch. Since it has a 1 TB capacity internal hard disk, and because I now need more capacity, say 2 TB, would it be OK if I remove the already installed 1 TB Hard disk and replace it with an identical HD of 2 TB capacity. Would it affect its performance? The specs mention: Hard drive support, Internal Storage: 3.5″ SATA I/SATA II HDD. File system: NTFS/FAT32

  • Col Horatio Bass

    Hi everyone. Can anyone help with my question? How can I copy films onto my Imation 2 tb? I have a feeling I’ve lost a cable or something? Or do I simply plug into the USB port on the front of the device?

    I already have films on there, but it’s been so long since I did that that I can’t remember how to perform that function.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    colbass1987@gmail.com

    Thank you.

  • Njmaddela

    Hi Rod, have you tried connecting the Grand Entertainer to the computer and then pressing the button which is on the front, this is used only when connecting the Grand Entertainer to the PC. Let me know your comments,

    Regards,

    Neil
    Imation Middle East
    04-8818008

  • Tom

    Dear Rod
    Have you manage to connect to a HDD via USB. I purchase the device today and I have the same problem as you had
    regards
    Tom.

  • Tom

    Neil I have the same problem as Rod. Not detecting HDD on Vista.Is it firmware issue, where to get it.regards
    Tom.

  • Tim

    Thanks Neil this worked for me, I was always switching on using the remote – think this should be highlighted in the manual.

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