Is there any better way to ring in 2012 than to drop 129 bills on a shiny new wireless-enabled DVD burner? Absolutely. But if your New Year's resolution includes archiving smartphone pics to optical media and steaming DVD flicks over WiFi, Samsung is prepared to make those nostalgic dreams a reality, with its SE-208BW Smart Media Hub. The premise here is quite familiar -- little black box takes content from an attached storage device and streams it to connected devices over WiFi, or over the Web. Samsung's twist on the traditional model brings optical media into the equation, however, with a CD/DVD burner enabling music and movie playback, along with remote file archival. You'll need to wait until late January (or perhaps early February) before introducing Samsung's shiny streamer to your wired or wireless network, but we got an early look at the new DLNA-enabled gadget today.
If you've used an external DVD burner made in the last decade, you're already familiar with the form-factor employed here -- there's a slim disk tray up front, with full-size and mini USB connectors, Ethernet and a DC input on the rear. This is strictly a streaming device, so there's no HDMI or other AV connectivity -- you'll need to use an Android, iOS or smart TV app, along with Samsung AllShare or an FTP client to access content. We tried steaming 720p video and a few photos using the Android app and the AllShare application included with most recent Samsung devices, and everything worked as expected, with content loading quickly without any hiccups.
You can access files on a connected HDD or USB flash drive remotely from the built-in FTP server, but you'll need to use Samsung's apps to stream DVDs and music CDs from that built-in optical drive, or to burn smartphone pics or other remote files to a blank disc. You can view content directly on your smartphone or tablet, or on a connected TV, using the former device to control playback. The hub also serves as an internet bridge, so you won't lose web access when connected directly over WiFi. There's nothing groundbreaking here, unless the absence of an optical drive has been keeping you from adding such a device to your collection, but jump past the break to see it in action.