To help, you choose what to record via the DP-558s built in EPG, which fortunately works in most countries in the world. However, unless you get all the channels through your aerial you can’t take full advantage of it. The Kiss doesn’t come with an IR blaster so as if you use a set-top box to view your TV, it will only see the channel the box is tuned to, which is quite limiting. Also, each channel has to be added to the favourites list in the EPG one by one, which makes it quite a tedious task. EPG updates can also only be done over an Internet connection.
Perhaps the most impressive feature though is that Kiss has made it possible to access the players EPG from a WAP enabled mobile phone. Using this you can send recording requests to your player via a portal on Kiss website. Other online features include weather reports, web radio and a few online games, though these are also available on the DP-500 with the newer firmware.
Pleasingly, Kiss has got the network setup right and it’s very easy to set up the DP-558 to access your network and the Internet. The most straightforward way is if you have a DHCP server – this could be your router – as this way you don’t have to enter any settings. But even if you’re using static IP addresses it only takes a couple of minutes at the most to get the DP-558 up and running. Copying files back and forth is done via FTP and the DP-558 can even be set up as a local FTP server, so several users can access files stored on it. You can still stream files to the DP-558 – as with the DP-500, but sadly the PC Link software that sits on your desktop doesn’t show any signs of improvement.
Oddly I discovered while copying files back and forth that the DP-558 is far from using the full speed of the 10/100Mbit Ethernet interface. Using Flash FXP to copy a wide range of files I could never exceed 1.5MB/s which means that a 700MB file took about ten minutes to copy across. The DP-558 also lacks FTP resume, so if you for some reason have to abort a file halfway through uploading, you have to start over from the beginning again.
The remote control hasn’t changed much either. The buttons are now white which makes them slightly easier to read, but apart from this the only changes are to accommodate the recording features. I’m not that fond of the new button layout as it’s actually harder to use than the DP-500s remote and simple operations require multiple key presses. For example, if you want to delete a file you first have to press the mark button which is located at the bottom of the remote and then the delete button which is located at the top half of the remote; hardly ideal.