Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
D-Link Australia DSM-320RD
- Not overly complex, relatively easy to use
- No HDMI, some image noise in DVD playback, some compatibility problems with today's file types
A good player for newcomers to the media streamer scene, the DSM-320RD doesn't do anything special, but does do a respectable job of streaming video and audio.
Price$ 299.95 (AUD)
D-Link's DSM-320RD is a relatively simple mid-range media streamer. With the ability to connect to both wired and wireless networks, it doesn't boast an extensive list of features or supported file types, but it handles its core tasks well enough. Incorporating a DVD player and both audio and video streaming, it is well suited to use with a home entertainment setup, although it could also be used to simply stream audio to speakers.
Streaming on the 320RD is a relatively simple affair. Network setup can be a little tricky, but that's true of all media streamers. After installing the software on our PC, and sharing some test files (which actually took quite a long time), we began streaming. Connecting through a wireless router, we didn't have any problems playing back audio or video files or displaying photos; however, rewind and fast forward functionality did cause some slight problems with video files.
The D-Link supports a respectable list of file types, although one that is beginning to become outdated. MP3, WMA, ogg vorbis, AAC, MPEG 1, 2 and 4, Xvid and AVI are all supported, although newer codecs and WMV files can cause problems.
The DVD functionality is nice to see, but it's not exceptional by any means. Most users buying a media streamer will already have a DVD player, so it's hard to see the reasoning behind including this. Nevertheless, DVD playback is decent, with some occasional noise detracting from otherwise respectable performance.
The interface can pose problems at times, although due to the nature of media streaming this is likely to remain the case until somebody comes up with a way to make typing passwords and directory names with a remote control easy. Still, the menus are laid out intuitively and navigation isn't difficult.
Design-wise, the DSM-320RD is quite attractive, with a slim-line DVD player look to it. The front panel LED screen displays tracks currently playing, while the back panel houses the connection options. Although at the time of its release, the connection options were quite complete, these days the omission of HDMI makes this unit slightly outdated for modern home entertainment systems.
Overall, it's quite hard to fault the DSM-320RD. It's a mid-level media streamer with a DVD player inbuilt, and performs its functions respectably and easily. It may be a little outdated, but it's a great product for beginners.
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