Once I had made my selection I was able to sit back and watch a recorded TV show and while this was generally OK, it was quite common for the audio and video to get out of sync. After five minutes you would often find that the audio was so far out of sync that the characters were saying each other’s lines, making the movie unwatchable. I bought the DSM-320 with the intention of watching movies that I streamed from my PC, and I had no intention of using it to listen to MP3s as I far prefer to listen to CDs through my hi-fi when I’m in the lounge. You can also use the DSM-320 to view photos on your TV, and here too there were snags. You can view a whole album as a slide show, with each photo staying on the screen for a few seconds and in principle it’s a really good way to browse through your memories. In practice there is an annoying flickering effect, presumably due to the refresh rate of a TV screen, and it makes the still pictures a little uncomfortable to look at.
I bought the D-Link DSM-320 in late 2004, yet by February 2005 I had barely used it and it was on the verge of being declared a failure. In late March 2005 D-Link released a software update so I was keen to give it a whirl. The update for the Media Server was under 8MB and was simple to install. When that was done I started up the DSM-320 and ran the software auto update process. The Media Lounge connected to the D-Link server through my Internet connection and downloaded and installed the new software, which is presumably held as firmware. The job took less than five minutes and was completely painless. Once it was finished the DSM-320 restarted and I gave it a test run. I was overjoyed to find that the D-Link DSM-320 Media Lounge now works more or less as I had originally hoped it would. It seems that D-Link has got round the audio/visual syncing problem by dropping the occasional video frame, so some movies look smooth while others are a bit jerky, but it is all quite watchable and I’m happy with it. D-Link has also worked on the menu selection and it is now responsive and fast enough to use without problem.
D-Link has also added an Internet radio facility but I don’t listen to the iTunes radio service unless it’s a very slow day on Radio 4, so I have no use or interest in this feature. However, there are no doubt many potential users out there who would love it.