Network Mediaplayer: D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected Wireless HD Media Player

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IMPORTANT:

Divx and D-link appear to have now discontinued support for the D-Link DSM-330. We have however decided to provide a mirror so that people can still download the DIvx Connected Installation package and set up their servers (should you have lost the disk!). The software can be downloaded here (we have scanned it with antivirus software but make no guarantees).

 

DSM-330-front

If you don't have the room or the inclination for a media center PC or HTPC, there are various ways of streaming media to your AV setup.  One of these is using a media streamer of some sort.  Previously we have reviewed the Dane-ELEC So Speaky Mediaplayer which acts as a standalone external hard drive media player.  However, although convenient, it does have limitations, with a slightly slow and clunky interface.  Other alternatives for streaming media include using games consoles such as the Xbox 360 or PS3 which have the ability to stream media, however there are limitations to the formats that can be used easily and most importantly the ability to stream Divx media is missing.

D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected Wireless HD Media Player seeks to provide a simple easy to use bridging gap between the PC and AV systems to allow streaming of video, music, photos and also a certain amount of web based content.  Not only that, but it supports DivX streaming in HD (720p).

divx_internetThe unit itself is housed in an unimposing silver case with dimensions of 16.2cm x 26.0cm x 3.5cm and provides outputs for HDMI (including an HDMI cable), Scart (including the cable), S-Video and composite cables.  Connection to the home network is via either ethernet or wireless (802.11b/g).  Included in the package is also a fully functional remote control and a CD containing the relevant software for installation of the media server on your PC.  Additionally there is a USB port built into the front panel of the device although this is apparently not utilised.

We tested the D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected Wireless HD Media Player using the wireless network facility.  Installation was very simple and was fully documented in the quick start guide.  In order to setup the box all that was required was to position the output screen correctly and input our WPA wireless network security settings (the hardware supports WEP, WPA and WPA2).  Following that it was just a case of installing the DivX connected software on the PC to setup the media server and specifying folders for media content.  Surprisingly (based on our previous experiences of network components) that was all of the setup required (really!) and the device was fully functional after this.

connected-screenshot-1The first thing to note was the really slick interface.  Unlike other similar devices the D-Link DSM-330 has a really polished interface, with no hesitation between media files when navigating and the menus looked really slick.  Each folder (video, music or photos) has a picture board effect showing preview images for videos and photos and album art for music which fly in and out when navigating through the lists.

Media playback is fluid especially considering the fact that it is streaming over a wireless network, and the player was able to play all of the files we through at it.  The player is able to support DivX, Xvid with MP3 or PCM audio, WMV9 (transcoded on PC), MP3 (up to 320kbps), MP3 Playlist, WMA (transcoded on PC), JPEG (grayscale, RGB & YCbCy only), JPEG 2000 and BMP (non-compressed).

connected-screenshot-2Playback of videos is easier to control with the ability to fast forward, pause and rewind.  Also the D-Link DSM-330 remembers where you previously left a file so that you can resume from where you stopped.  The image quality of all of the files we played back were truly excellent, although we would recommend using the ethernet conenction for streaming HD quality video, where the limited bandwidth of the 802.11g connection can let the device down.

The device features a series of free internet based services including simple games and videos and also there are a series of third party plugins that allow access to among others Facebook, Youtube, RSS readers etc.  This really does expand on the functionality, but is slightly limited by the lack of a keyboard to search the sites.

This is definitely an improvement over other forms of streaming media over a home network, with probably the best menu interface we have seen and could be a valid alternative to a media center PC for many people.

Available from:

Amazon: D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected Wireless HD Media Player