Viewsonic is best known for its computer monitors, but it also offers HDTVs, mostly through online retailers. Now it hopes to expand its living room presence with its first media player, the VMP70.
The good news is that it can handle 1080p HD, though that's not a major accomplishment these days. Perhaps the VMP70 is most notable for its connectivity options—or, rather, its notable connectivity omission. Like most similar devices, the Viewsonic offers an HDMI output, along with component-video, composite-video, and S/PDIF ports. It also comes with a pair of USB ports.
Those USB connection are critical, because the only way you can provide the VMP70 with the media it's designed to play back is via an external drive. There's no Ethernet port provided, nor built-in wireless connectivity. That means any files you want to play on your HDTV that are on your home PC need to be offloaded to a thumb drive or external hard drive.
Viewsonic would probably argue that the price of the VMP70—$129.99 normally, but $98.99 during the holidays—means that you will eschew features like network connectivity in exchange for the low price. Though for an extra $30, you could grab the new Patriot Box Office, a 1080p device that also has an Ethernet port and room to install a 2.5-inch hard drive. Would you miss the network port if you can pay $100 for a 1080p player like the VMP70? Let us know in the TalkBack section.