Today we got a chance to go hands-on with the DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player that D-Link debuted last month. This media player is a handy piece of wireless-capable hardware that bridges the gap between your computer and your TV bringing your downloaded digital media into the living room at up to 720p, and in our tests it did so with ease.
Setting up the DSM-330 was actually, and surprisingly, a little easier than we expected. Since we were planning on taking advantage of the wireless feature (you can use it “wired” if you would like in order to make things slightly faster for HD, but it’s not nearly as cool) we assumed that we would first have to physically connect to the device to do some configuration, but this was just not the case.
The first step is to install the software on your computer which acts as the server to stream out the media to the media player connected to the TV. The software supports only Windows XP and Vista; in our tests we used Windows Vista. The server software was a very quick and simple installation. We set the directories for the software to seek out music, images and video and it started crawling the computers drive to get an inventory of the media. The server software is nothing fancy to look at but enables you to connect multiple wireless HD media players on different TV’s to this same server and all have access to your media.
The DSM-300 comes packaged a few options for connecting to your TV including A/V composite cables, SCART and HDMI which of course was our choice. Once we had the device connected to our HDTV we simply turned on the DivX Connected device and our TV, changed the input and followed the on-screen instructions. We have a secured wireless network that broadcasts the SSID so the media player found it immediately and provided a guide to enter the key code with the remote control. Within a few minutes of setup we were listening to music and viewing pictures and movies from our computer on our high-def television without having to interact directly with the computer at all.
DivX Connected Interface
The DivX Connected interface from the D-Link HD media player for us was very intuitive and easy to use. By default there is a stylish background and a large rotating menu that allows the use of the remote to navigate between the different media types and additional online resources.
The interface reflects the directory structure of media on the computer and allows you to select pictures movies or music, or you can have the music play continuously and view a slideshow of photos, even at the same time. There are also options to customize the look of the interface with different presets or even by making a custom background of your own. In addition, the player comes with some default “screen savers” that you can take advantage of to add some ambiance to the room through a full-screen crackling fire or salt water aquarium.
The D-Link DivX Connected media player also had some additional features that we were just not expecting but were a very pleasant surprise. These additional items gave us that warm and fuzzy feeling we like when we find devices that have the potential to keep on giving after the initial purchase.
From your computer you can navigate to the DivX Connected Plugins page to browse and download plugins to use through the DivX Connected media player in addition to viewing your own digital media from any TV in the house. The plugins for the most part were very small in size and downloaded in just a few seconds. Some we tried out included software to connect to Google Maps, obtain news, online videos through YouTube (beta, no sound yet), pictures through Flicker, Picasa and SnapshotCity, cooking, National Geographic videos, HD movie trailers, Comic-con videos and music through Last.fm, Connected Radio and Seeqpod.
The DSM-330 worked very well for us as an easy-to-use and easy-to-setup device to bring our digital media in the living room. The server software that supports multiple devices is great to bring the content from one source to many TV’s but the Connected devices have no on-board storage for media so it requires that the computer serving the media always be on. This is a little bit of an inconvenience but probably keeps the price of the media player down to a more accessible $299. Also, the additional features of online content from multiple sources, plug-ins and the potential for more plug-ins and features makes us feel better about getting something that can be updated with additional content and features in the future.