Updated: Belkin responds to Media Reader file transfer issue | iLounge News


Updated: Belkin responds to Media Reader file transfer issue

Brian VanHarlingen, Sr. Technology Manager for Belkin has submitted an official statement to iLounge regarding Belkin’s position on the Media Reader transfer issue.

A reader at dpreview.com has discovered that transferring large files from large capacity compact flash cards is a slow process. A 500MB file transferred from card to Media Reader took 22 minutes. Other transfer tests indicate slow speeds as well - about 1 minute to transfer a 20MB file at 0.300MB per second. Belkin has acknowledged that there is a problem with large file transfers. Belkin is said to be working with Apple to solve the problem. If it’s an hardware issue, Belkin says it will replace the units. If it’s a software issue, Apple will most likely release a firmware update.


It’s a pleasure to hear from you.  Most of us here at Belkin have become regular, daily and sometimes hourly, visitors to iLounge.com throughout our product development and launch process.  Your site is an extremely valuable source of feedback for us.

In regards to your questions, Belkin does not have any plans to modify the hardware design of the Media Reader for iPod in the immediate future. The current product balances several hardware considerations, including street price, transfer speed, battery life and portability, with software considerations. Design decisions have been made to address the needs of the largest percentage of owners of digital cameras and iPods, and we believe the product to be successful in doing so.

The Media Reader for iPod is optimized for the majority of digital camera users, shooting images of 1MB-3MB in size, and using the predominant sizes of memory cards being purchased today at retail: 64MB and 128MB. The transfer speed we are seeing on the current media reader hardware is, with most media brands/types and using iPod software version 2.1, a little over 300KBps. This results in a transfer time of between five and six minutes for a full 128MB card. There is the possibility of modest speed increases via software; however, we cannot speculate on the likelihood of any software optimizations being introduced.

The iPod has always been first and foremost a digital music player. We welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Apple to bring additional utility to iPod owners, including the current digital wallet capabilities, and hope that these products bring great value to their users. 

Note that we are adding information to the FAQs on our website addressing Media Reader speed today, copied from some of what I’ve written here.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.

Brian VanHarlingen
Sr. Technology Manager

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Wow… that’s a seriously discouraging thing to hear. Those of us who are serious amateur photogs with 1gb microdrives and giant flash cards could use something like this, but not if it’s slow. There are other solutions (Tripper, DigiBin) that are much faster, though more expensive. Those devices unload a gig card in six or seven minutes. I dunno… $100 for Belkin’s little box seems steep if that’s the best it can do.

Posted by jeffyjones on October 24, 2003 at 1:12 PM (CDT)


No way will I buy one of these unless the transfer speed is improved for large transfers.  Their response is definitely disturbing.  Perhaps they will learn a lesson when people avoid their product in droves.

Posted by Mike Oetting on October 27, 2003 at 3:40 PM (CST)


when i want to backup 128 megs of data from my $200 digital camera - i know i say to myself ‘hey, why not spend $600 to transfer files to an iPod?”

Basically, this means that someone needs to step up and make the RIGHT device.. the one that uber geek photographers want… a CF/IBM microdrive slotted reader that goes FAST and is SMALL.

128 meg cards go for what, $15 bucks?  I could buy half a dozen of them for the cost of their reader - thus completely eliminating the need for their POS reader in the first place.

EVERY single person i know (3) that bought this has returned it because they are Mac weenies, and they own $2000 SLRs.. and they don’t want to transfer their files at 300kpbs.  Belkin obviously did little or no market research before they went into production of this device.

This may very well be a legitimate reason for what they did - it just means that they “don’t get it”.

Posted by sonny bono on October 27, 2003 at 3:43 PM (CST)


OIne word: Lyra. I have one, I get to load my 128 MB CF cards in around 20 seconds, and I get to watch the video, still photos, or listen to the audio contained thereon immediately.

I used to have an iPod—the only thing I miss on the Lyra is a jogwheel for stepping frame by frame through video… that woould be awesome.



Posted by Lyra on October 27, 2003 at 6:21 PM (CST)


“The ipod has been and first and foremost a digital music player’

But we welcome this opportunity along with Apple to squeeze another 100 bucks out of you.

Bottom line folks

If they see no need to fix it .
It isn’t worth 100 bucks in its present form

Enough said!

Posted by scrins on October 27, 2003 at 6:36 PM (CST)


Ever tried transferring large files to a USB pen drive? Also painfully painfully slow. Makes me think Apple needs to investigate this.

Posted by martin on October 27, 2003 at 6:41 PM (CST)


That was my post at dpreview that started bringing all this to light and I am PISSED.  What fricking idiot decided that people who buy 128 MB cards would spend $100 to transfer files to their iPod?!!?!?  Every person I know with 1 128 MB card doesn’t even KNOW what a digital wallet IS (no offense) because they don’t take a lot of pictures and don’t NEED one!  If they take a lot of pictures they buy, listen up here Belkin, BIGGER COMPACT FLASH CARDS!!!!  I am returning mine tomorrow and will be avoiding Belkin at all costs in the future.  Shame on me for believing someone actually did their homework before they released a new product… hopefully I helped a few others go through this stress and frustration;)

Posted by David on October 27, 2003 at 8:20 PM (CST)


Belkin’s Official Respone: FU…

What a joke. The iPod has firewire and USB 2.0 connectivity and a hard drive that can easily sustain a transfer rate of 6 MBps, and your average CF card is capable of 4 - 8 MBps. Add to that that my $15 1 cm thick, credit card sized USB 2.0 card reader seems more than capable of keeping up with any card of any format and Belkin honestly expect $100 for a huge device DESIGNED to be slow… I’ll certainly be waiting for someone else to do it right…


Posted by ric on October 27, 2003 at 9:37 PM (CST)


My problem is quite simple. The back of the box. (front too)

In the ad for retail, printed on the back of the box, Belkin clearly states,

“Using software support that’s already built into your iPod (with software version 2.1 or later), transfer the pictures quickly via FireWire technology and you’re ready to start shooting again. When you get home, simply connect your iPod to your computer to retrieve the images.”

There is no mistaking this statement. When I connect my iPod to the dock my 90 Mb file test transfered in about 5 seconds. To get that 90 Mb from the card onto the iPod via the Belkin took a little over 5 minutes. Using my Zio usb card reader plugged into my iMac, the transfer took 4 min 30 sec.

So this thing is going a little slower than my usb 1.1 card reader. It’s using usb technology then.

The 128 mb card thing is pure BS. The sweet spot in the market is 512 Mb cards running at 130 USD average (or less for you super deal finders). By the spring or summer of 2004 the market sweet spot will hover around 1 Gb cards at the same price.

If Belkin is going to issue a statement, it should appologize for using the term FireWire technology. Then tell us wether the problem can be fixed or if we are all stuck with it. If it can’t an open refund policy between them and Apple ( I bought mine from the Apple store ) should be established.

It’s not likely that I will return mine due to it’s present cost benefit over 1 Gb cards. I have as yet to field test the device. I mainly want to know if I will run my iPod battery down making these long winded transfers.

All I want is the truth.

That’s all.


Posted by E. Gray on October 28, 2003 at 2:06 AM (CST)


After reading this statement i’m definitely sticking to my iPAQ and it’s CF/PCMCIA jacket. All i have to do is hook the iPod up to it via the firewire PCMCIA card, stick my CF card in and copy across. Granted it’s a bit expensive but it’s a hell of a lot better than waiting around for a full 512 CF card to copy with the media reader. Plus, instant viewing of my pics.

Posted by NJ on October 28, 2003 at 6:14 AM (CST)


After reading this statement i’m definitely sticking to my iPAQ and it’s CF/PCMCIA jacket. All i have to do is hook the iPod up to it via the firewire PCMCIA card, stick my CF card in and copy across. Granted it’s a bit expensive but it’s a hell of a lot better than waiting around for a full 512 CF card to copy with the media reader. Plus, instant viewing of my pics.

Posted by NJ on October 28, 2003 at 6:14 AM (CST)


I can’t believe people like this work at Belkin!  Where did they find this idiot—at their local DMV?  Has this guy ever used a CF card?  Has he ever used a digital camera?

Belkin should fire this guy and get some people that understand technology.

Sr. Technology Manager—what a complete joke!

Posted by JB on October 28, 2003 at 9:52 AM (CST)


I always had high thoughts of Belkin.

Now…. well…

The R&D have clearly made a piece of sh*t work.

The remarks being “optimized for 128mb” looks like a pathethic marketing effort to rationalize their poor design.

Posted by Michael Fisher on October 28, 2003 at 10:57 AM (CST)


Why issue a statement if it’s that ridiculous?  Probably better leaving things unsaid, frankly.

Now that Apple has the firmware upgraded for this, I’m sure someone else will come along and do a better implementation

Posted by WL on October 28, 2003 at 12:46 PM (CST)


Belkin, you are mistaken…

I need something that will quickly let me copy files from my EOS Digital Rebel’s 512 meg card. This is the new standard for digital photographers. People that can afford iPods are more likely to afford more than a small point and shoot camera.

A year from now the files and memory cards will be bigger.

While you are at it, redesign the thing so that I can simply dock my iPod into the device and don’t give me a cable that will break over time.

Oh yeah, $50 should be your target price.

So close, but yet so far…

Posted by YuleLogger on October 28, 2003 at 1:15 PM (CST)


“I need something that will quickly let me copy files from my EOS Digital Rebel’s 512 meg card. This is the new standard for digital photographers. People that can afford iPods are more likely to afford more than a small point and shoot camera.”

People who are serious about photography and video probably own a digital handheld that can *display* their stills, audio, and video.

The iPod is a rather feature-limited low-end audio handheld in a fancy shell sold way above its rational price point. I think Belkin did the best they could given the poor hardware base they had to build on.

I traded up from my iPod to an ArchosAV. Blindingly fast CF slot built-in, I can play and edit media on the device, and I can record and playback audio and video directly from the device. It’s changed the whole way I work. And oh yes, it plays MP3s as well.


Posted by ArchosAV on October 28, 2003 at 1:35 PM (CST)


I probably shouldn’t respond to the troll bait posted by ArchosAV, but I can’t seem to resist.

I’m not even going to comment on the first statement about the iPod being feature limited and low end.  Seems pretty absurd, given the rave reviews that the iPod has received.  But perhaps YuleLogger knows something that hundreds of thousands of satisfied users do not.

I will, however, address the contention that people who are “serious about photography and video” owning a handheld that displays as well as transfers.  There are two markets for handheld storage for photos - the type without display, which tend to sell for 150-250 US, and the type with display, which tend to sell for $500+.  As many “serious” photographers shoot in RAW format, some of the display type handheld storage units will not display images anyway.  The archos may, but then again, it costs an arm and a leg (used laptop price of $630 for the link in question).  Some “serious” photographers wouldn’t blink at that, but I would. 

The iPod Belkin adapter, on paper, is the answer to my storage dreams (as I have 10 gigs to spare on my 30 gig 3rd gen).  I have hope that they will wake up and realize that their position is untenable, and fix the xfer speed problem.  If not, perhaps more iPod owners will follow the path of ArchosAV.  I hope not. 

Posted by Mike on October 28, 2003 at 8:12 PM (CST)


I agree with David and Mike.  I have a Minolta DiMage 7i and a 1 GB microdrive.  I thought that the Belkin would be the answer.  Why spend $300-$800 on yet another device I will have to schlepp around when I travel either for business or on vacation?  I could simply take my iPod.  I am very unhappy with the transfer speeds but am likely to keep my reader.  I talked to Brian yesterday before his post was up and he reiterated exactly what was in the post.  I think that Belkin really blew it and if they are smart they will come out with a reader that will work.  I am surprised, I have the Belkin auto adapter and the voice recorder.  Both work as well or better than expected.  Come on Belkin, read these posts and fix this one.

Posted by brad in Boulder, CO on October 28, 2003 at 8:38 PM (CST)


Okay, it’s slow, it’s a dissappointment. But still - I have 2 256 Sandisk Ultra II disks for my 300D. If one is full I could place it in the Belkin Media reader and continue shooting with the other. By the time the other card is full the media reader should probably be done. So it’s still a very usefull solution for me and I can’t wait to get my hands on it when it becomes available in Holland.

Posted by Jay on October 28, 2003 at 11:23 PM (CST)


That’s the idea for me as well Jay. But what I’m reading on this post and the dpreview forum post:


Is that the iPod itself may run out of power due to the long (long long) upload time.

Posted by E. Gray on October 28, 2003 at 11:36 PM (CST)

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