D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player review

Getting media from your computer to your television is now big business as more and more companies stray into the arena. The latest is DivX, but can it offer to meet your home cinema needs? We get streaming to find out.

If you are looking for an alternative to Apple's Apple TV then you've found the right device.

While no where near as well designed from the outside as Apple's content streamer, the inside of the D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player do a good job of making the content on your PC accessible - without ghastly-looking menu systems that have been designed by a tech head who doesn't know the first thing about user interfaces.

Instead you get moving images, album art flying in from all sides and the option to show content thumbnails or lists depending on your preference.

Like the Apple TV, content is broken down into a number of key areas - Music, Photos, Video - and you can stream everything either via a wired Ethernet connection or the included wireless b or g connectivity option in the device.

But that's where the similarities stop. Firstly there is no hard drive on the D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player meaning you've got to have your PC on at all times to stream the content.

This of course has its benefits and disadvantages. The benefits are that you can keep everything on the one PC and then connect multiple players to the network allowing you to stream content around the house irrelevant of what room you are in as long as there is a streamer. Want to finish watching a movie in the bedroom rather than in the lounge? It's simply a case of pressing the stop button and the resuming in the other room from the same point. However, the downside to all this is that you've got to have your PC running at all times.

Beyond streaming music, photos and video around your house internally, which by the way is very good, users can opt to stream content from the Internet via DivX's Stage 6 website or other partners as they come online.

Due to the fact that the D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player isn't actually available until November these "other partners" have yet to come online in our review unit so we were only able to test it with Stage 6.

As for the experience, it is a pleasurable one, with the option to download or stream content on the fly. Depending on the size of the file and your internet connection speeds there is some buffering to be done but on the whole you shouldn't have to worry about download speeds and buffers as long as you've got a 2MB ADSL connection.

Not just stopping at the streaming angle and hoping to utilise the internet connection to the max, DivX, have allowed DivX Connected to be an open platform - a far cry from Apple's Apple TV offering, and this means that with the help of a Software Developers Kit you can build or more likely download plug-ins for the unit.

So far plug-ins include everything from accessing web content from sites like The Last Word, to viewing Google Maps and live traffic data, however the options and scope for this are endless.

Verdict

If you are a fan of the DivX format then having a media streamer offering you DivX in your living room will be a no brainer.

What we really like here is the open platform angle meaning that this unit will grow with time to include a host of plug-ins and other content partners. It might not as yet have the offering of Microsoft or Apple when it comes to getting content in your living room, but from what we've seen, it sure has the potential to be a great media streamer.

The D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player is out in November.