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D-Link DSM-320 Media Lounge - D-Link DSM-320
The Media Lounge is a slender unit that measures 427 x 285mm but it only stands 43mm high. You have to allow for the wireless aerial, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding room for the DSM-320 under your TV or stacked on your DVD player or hi-fi. On the back of the DSM-320 is a row of ports and connectors. Most of them are outputs, with a list that consists of optical and coaxial S/PDIF audio, S-Video, composite video and RCA stereo audio. There are two inputs in the shape of 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11g wireless, as well as a mains power connector. D-Link supplies all the cables that you are likely to need in the box, and I kept things simple by connecting the DSM-320 to a spare SCART connector on the TV and using the RCA audio output to connect to the DVD surround sound speakers, as the DVD player uses an optical S/PDIF connection. Of course I chose the wireless input as that was the object of the exercise in the first place, but you can see that there are a dozen permutations for connecting the DSM-320 to your PC, TV and speakers.
Once the hardware was hooked up I installed the D-Link Media Server software v1.02 on my PC and let it detect the 3Com wireless gateway. Within the Media Server software you decide which directories are shared, and you also select which file types are included when Media Server scans your hard drive. If you’ve ever set up playlists in iTunes or a Steinberg player you’ll find the process is quick and simple.
The files are split into three categories; Audio, Video and Photo. Audio files include AIFF, MP3, OGG, WAV and WMA, supported Video formats are DAT, MPEG1/2/4, AVI, QuickTime, Xvid, while the picture types are JPEG, JPEG2000, TIFF, GIF, BMP and PNG. I have my media neatly arranged in directories or I’d never be able to find anything, so this system suits me perfectly.
D-Link tells us that the DSM-320 will access media ‘from other UPnP AV compliant media devices in your home’ so it would come as no surprise if it is developing other UPnP devices that will act as media tanks to take the burden off your PC. Once the Media Server had scanned my hard drive I turned the DSM-320 on, selected the correct AV channel on my TV, selected the appropriate audio input on the surround speakers, and sat back with an air of expectation. After a few seconds the DSM-320 detected the media server on my PC, and I was able to use the remote control to select the TV show that I wanted. This would only take a moment in Windows, but on the D-Link menu you can only see a small number of entries at one time so scrolling up and down jumps you from one page to the next, and loading took a few seconds so a relatively simple job such as choosing one episode out of 20 became quite a pain, and finding a photo in an album of 50 was a real chore.