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Dane-Elec So G Stream review

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Our Score:

7

When we first heard of Dane-Elec's arrival on the media player scene we were rather excited. Its G Stream was set to cost the same as the much loved Western Digital WDTV and use the same chipset yet also include built-in Wi-Fi. This sounded like a killer combination of features so as quick as possible we've got one in for review. Unfortunately, it's turned out to be a bit of a let down.

Aesthetically, we couldn't have been happier. Its top and sides are black in all the right ways and the silver strip that runs round the top is a perfect little highlight. Its super slim profile also means it stands a better chance of squeezing in among your DVD player, Sky box, and receiver than many of its rivals. Being quite wide it also looks more at home, and less toy-like, among all the above boxes.

The build quality is also exceptional with both the top and bottom panels finished in painted metal rather than the usual plastic. This makes it feel very strong and also gives it that all important plus point of just feeling nice, a measure that can be overlooked all too often. This solidity does make the G Stream markedly heavier than many of its rivals but, frankly, we couldn't care less about this in an AV device.

Looking round the device we see yet more positives, including a satisfyingly tactile power button on the top towards the front right. We also like the addition of a multi-format memory card reader on the left edge. This sits alongside a more customary USB port and provides instant access to SD, MMC, and MS memory cards so you can bypass a computer and watch your pictures and video clips straight from your camera.

On the rear is an aerial socket for that all important Wi-Fi (an aerial is included in the box) and accompanying it, from right to left, are sockets and ports for Ethernet, optical digital audio, stereo analogue audio, composite video, HDMI, and power. We're glad to see Dane-Elec didn't decide to go for just Wi-Fi and added in a wired network connection as well. Not only does this provide greater flexibility but also file transfers will be much quicker over 100Gbps Ethernet than 802.11g Wi-Fi.

Remotes can so often disappoint by being generally cheap looking, poorly laid out, or just unresponsive and difficult to use, but we were pleasantly surprised to find this one to be a good size, not offensive to the eye, logically laid out, and responsive. The only significant fault is an apparent lack of a home button which necessitates pressing the 'Return' button multiple times to get back to the home screen.

Pbryanw

August 14, 2009, 4:51 pm

Looks like I'll have to wait until the inevitable WDTV wireless update, before I buy one of these.





Also, I know they had to keep the price down but by going wireless G, can the Dane-Elec stream HD content?

HDRE

August 14, 2009, 5:05 pm

I whole heartedly agree with TR, the interface, the file format support have let this down for me. Considering it has the same chipset as Western Digital's media player this is big mistake, especially as comparisons are inevitable. My money is staying in my pocket until the above is fixed via a firmware update. As I have a Wireless Network at home this could have been the clincher for me. Now I'm tempted to stick with my little WDTV media player and await for Western Digital's response.

Chocoa

August 14, 2009, 11:11 pm

"...Most importantly, it doesn't support the essential HD codecs, VC-1 and h.264 so nearly all HD media is out of the question..."





WHAT! I was almost interested until the above. Why would they include HDMI and leave out popular codecs that support the format. - For me, H.264( as x264) plus AC3 & DTS in MKV are mandatory. Hohum





BTW Still waiting for the Xtreamer ( http://www.xtreamer.net )review guys.....

HDRE

August 16, 2009, 5:11 pm

Just to let interested parties know... Western Digital are back with an update to their WD TV HD Media Player. Network is supported via an Ethernet Port, with is a plus, along with dts decoding. It's a shame about the lack of wifi support. Looks like my wait may be longer than i had hoped aferall, but I'm reserving judgement. Until Dane-Elec and other competators get serious with decent codec support and provide a intuative and customer friendly interface to their media players, Western Digital will remain in a League of their own.





For more information go to





http://www.engadget.com/2009/0...





@Chocoa


The Xtreamer does look interesting. It would appear they are going head to head with WD and are turning mine.





http://www.xtreamer.net/107/co...

Pbryanw

August 16, 2009, 9:17 pm

Thanks for the engadget link HDRE (wow - hot off the press - posted 16 August). I've just installed a powerline in my living room, so the ethernet connection isn't a problem. If they can release it about the same price as the original WDTV, I'd be tempted.

folau

December 4, 2010, 2:57 pm

Looks very nice. Works very well. But no FLAC no WMV makes it useless

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