The Digital Stream DPS-1000 uses the Onyx Media Browser software to offer access to the BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm streaming service and blinkbox directly from your TV for less than a hundred pounds. It’s a darn sight cheaper than a Sony PS3 or a brand-new internet-enabled TV, which offer the same sort of functionality, but as ever there’s a drawback or two to taking the cheaper option.
The Digital Stream DPS-1000 is an unassuming small black box. Aside from the small Onyx logo on its front, a quick glance at its bodywork tells you almost nothing about what it’s for. It’s primarily because this little gadget is much more a portal to other services than a service provider in itself.
It runs the Onyx Media Browser software, which in turn gives you access to a handful of online services including Facebook, Twitter, BBC iPlayer, blinkbox, LoveFilm and a fistful of web TV streams. With all this digital content flying about within the DPS-1000’s brain, it’s disappointing to see that there’s no digital audio output included on the back of the unit. No dedicated audio output at all, in fact.
There’s an HDMI slot, two USB slots, an Ethernet port, power socket and a SCART connector. The lack of an audio output is a sore point here – it’s fine if you listen to movies through your TV’s speakers or use an HDMI-enabled receiver for your entire home cinema system, but for the rest this severely limits the flexibility of connectivity here.
There’s no built-in Wi-Fi, but you can use a dongle to add this feature – hence the addition of the second USB slot. These two omissions are hard to let go of, but then few comparable media player devices offer built-in Wi-Fi at this sub-£100 price.
DLNA support is included, but limited by the lack of built-in Wi-Fi. If your wireless router is in the same room as the DPS-1000, it’s no great problem, but the convenience and low price of the streamer start to lose their shine once you consider having to search for a compatible dongle, or trail an Ethernet cable across your house. That said, using good old fashioned wires is often a more reliable way of connecting up such boxes to ensure a seemless delivery of all your favourite content.
What's more, if your setup is in harmony with the limited connectivity of this gadget though, we’ll admit it is both cheap and convenient. It makes no noise, is small enough to stash on top of another piece of home cinema kit, probably without blocking any heat outlet ports too, and its list of connected features sounds like it could merit the investment – at least on paper. But how is it to actually use?