- Review Price: £129.99
Although efforts by major broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel 4 have been a bit limp so far, it’s likely there will come a time, some time in the near future, when they’ll have to bite the bullet and make a bit more effort. As broadband rates go up and the quality and richness of downloadable video content improves consumers are going to move away from broadcasting as the major method of watching the TV, and the big players are going to have to join in or suffer a long and slow demise.
It’s already begun to happen with services such as YouTube and Joost, and BT’s Vision service offers a glimpse of this online televisual future from a hardware perspective, with downloadable and streaming content available from a set-top box device. Now D-Link and DivX have teamed up to do a similar thing and make the content of its excellent Stage6 video website available directly on your TV.
On the face of it, its DSM-330 box is a pretty exciting bit of kit. Not only does it provide access to Stage6 website content, but it’s also an HD capable (up to 720p) wireless network media streamer. But alas it misses the boat on several key points.
The first and most obvious problem is that you can’t use the box on its own to connect directly to the DivX website: in order to connect to the Stage6 website you have to have DivX’s Connected server software installed on a separate PC or laptop that’s also connected to the internet. To make matters worse, the box is also locked to this proprietary software for streaming video, music and photos over your local network, which means that if you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up all your media on a UPnP NAS box, you’ll simply not be able to access it.
And if this doesn’t bother you, the implementation of the DivX service on the DSM330 may well do. The second major problem with the DSM-330 is that you can only browse through video content – you can’t search by keyword as you can on the main website, which makes it difficult to find stuff if you know exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a pity because otherwise, it works very well. I particularly liked the fact that, as well as watching videos directly over your broadband connection, you can also ask the DSM-330 to download them for you so you can watch them at a later date. This is handy for bandwidth-hungry HD DivX files that won’t stream smoothly over a sub-8Mbit/sec broadband connection.