Movie World Enclosure
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 06-21-2007
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Assuming you've plugged the power supply/cable into the Enclosure and connected the USB cable to your computer, the first step prior to copying files is to format the drive. If you're using Windows 2000 or XP however this could present a problem as the format must be FAT32 and 2000/XP are limited to 40Gb partition size when formatting in FAT32. Since the drive I am using is 120Gb I did not even have the option to format it using FAT; the only choice for the file system was NTFS. If NTFS is used, the World Enclosure will still function as an external USB drive. That is, you can read/write files to it from Windows, but built-in software that allows multimedia playback will not recognize an NTFS partition.

One option might be to format the drive from a Windows 98/ME system but this presents its own set of problems if you're using a drive larger than 137Gb as those operating systems don't support sizes bigger than that. The user manual suggests using Partition Magic software to format the drive, however this is not a free program and it is not included with the unit. Fortunately there are 3rd party freeware utilities that work in 2000/XP that allow you to format FAT32 partitions greater than 40Gb. The one I used is from Ridgecrop and is called fat32format. Once the drive is formatted in FAT32, Windows 2000/XP can access it just fine. The 40Gb limitation is only on the ability to perform the initial formatting.

Now that we're ready to start copying data, some thought must be put into how you will structure your files. As you will see in the screenshots of the GUI below, you'll likely want to use subfolders to keep your various media file types organized. Copy everything to the root of the drive and things will quickly turn into one big mess. Additionally, it took me a while to figure out how best to rip DVD movies for proper playback on the World Enclosure. Unlike the TVisto that Shawn reviewed, the Movie World Enclosure can not play directly from an ISO file. Simply copying the VOB files or even the entire VIDEO_TS folder also causes problems. Although VOB files are little more than MPEG videos of a different name, the Movie World Enclosure interface doesn't recognize all of the packs that allow proper navigation between chapters and audio sync. I solved this by using another 3rd party utility called DVD Decrypter to rip the files, splitting by chapter so that I could use the next/previous buttons to jump through the movie. Doing it this way typically results in 20-40 chapter files and I found it necessary to create subfolders for each movie title.

The Movie World Enclosure onscreen GUI is extremely simple to use. There are four different modes (views) you can select from. The first (and default) is File Mode, which like Windows Explorer, has two panes. The left pane displays the folder structure and the right pane lists the contents of the current folder. You can either use the left/right up/down arrow and select buttons on the remote to navigate or simply press the button that corresponds to the number displayed next to each selection.

The three remaining modes, Picture, Music and Movie, are similar to running a search in Explorer, looking for certain file types. All the files are listed alphabetically, regardless of what subfolder they may be stored in. If you don't have many JPG/MP3 files on the drive or you just want to go through all of that type of file in alphabetical order, these views can be useful. The way I ripped my DVD movies into chapter files renders the movie view too cumbersome to use. If you don't care about the ability to skip through chapters in your movies you could rip an entire DVD as one file which would simplify this browse functionality.

If you select an image file to view, after a few seconds the World Enclosure will automatically display the next picture in the folder (or the next one by name, depending on which mode you're in) and the next one after that in a slideshow type format with varying screen transitions in between. Or you can select a Photo Digest, which displays nine thumbnails at a time on the screen, with forward and back buttons to navigate pages. Like the photo slideshow, playing a music file will automatically continue to the next file in order until all the files in the folder (or on the entire drive, again depending on the mode) are cycled through. Presumably the unit performs the same with movie files, giving the potential for nonstop days of back-to-back movie playback, if you were inclined to watch that long.

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