Everything Apple TV never (legally) will be...
Between them they have concocted the ‘D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player’ – a mouthful for sure, but also the most advanced product of its ilk to date.
Like most competing products it works to move your pictures, audio and video from your PC to your TV in the most seamless manner possible and supports both wired and wireless connections. The big news however is that while the DSM-330 has the DivX codec inbuilt, support for 1080p HD and HDMI connectivity it contains something the market has been crying out for: an open source SDK.
Consequently, both companies were keen to stress that the device can be coded to use virtually any codec and features the Gecko rendering engine (the framework behind Firefox) meaning whatever Firefox can run, so – potentially – can the DSM-330. Pre-release early third party work was impressive too with inbuilt Google Maps, flash based games and support for Apple TV’s QuickTime files. A Joost plug-in is also in the works. In fact, the potential is virtually limitless and something the developer community could really get its teeth into.
Furthermore DivX has pulled something of an Apple with the DSM-330 and created a genuinely fluid, intuitive and beautiful user interface and slapped on an extremely reasonable £129.99 RRP (incl. Bundled HDMI cable) to boot. There is a downside however and that is the lack of 802.11n wireless in favour of g, an admittedly short term measure but one that could put off HD fans who have their TVs and PCs a long way apart.
Still, while Apple when down its typical closed box root forcing developers to hack it to pieces just to add basic core functionality (like the ability to play DivX files perversely), the DSM-330 says ”bring it on, I am whatever you want me to be” and in the ever changing world of codecs and ‘Web 2.0’ that is music (and video) to our ears… (and, err, eyes).