ALTHOUGH IT'S an obvious breakthrough in home entertainment technology, the INQ isn't comfortable with D-link's claims over video quality made at the its European launch of the DSM-330 home media box in London, yesterday [9th October].
The whole caboodle is powered by video compression technology developed by France's Divx. And there's the rub. Although the company claims its format is supported by most players shipped in France, Germany, and the UK, the really good content is all on a site called Stage6.
The idea with the 330 is that you an send video content (which hopefully you've already paid for), around the house with impunity and certainly no extra rental fees.
The 330box uses the latest UI software from Divx. and, yes, the 330 is an obviously a piece of cake to use for replaying video files. But then there were huge questions raised of over the range of media files the 330 could play back.
In a nutshell, what the 330 does it take existing content from your PC's hard disk or the internet and then displays it over the latest display gear such as HD flat screen TVs.
Although the box can do transcoding on the fly, the best results are obtained
if you perform the conversion beforehand.
What was totally unclear is to how fast the system performs this task. The official advice seems to be that you put existing video content through the Divx mill before committing yourself to an upgrade in terms of required hardware.
One thing is for certain at present - you can only use the 330 if your PC is turned on and acting as the server. A standalone version appears some way off.
As an obvious means of distributing content – both local and internet based – around the house – especially via a wireless connexion, the 330 is ideal.
D-link Europe claimed quite convincingly that they've over-spec'ed this particular device so it should survive several technological advances before you need to replace it.
It's also competitively priced at £129.99 including tax and a bundled HD TV cable.
D-link's time-to-market advantage with the 330 – due to be released in November 2007, will definitely give it an edge.
But those waking up next to the 330 on December 25th will be left wondering exactly what it is they've bought into. µ
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