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D-Link DSM-520 mini review (not happy)

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5th December 2006 10:37  #1

g8ina2 Member Join Date: November 2006 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 4 Send a message via MSN to g8ina2 Send a message via Skype to g8ina2
D-Link DSM-520 mini review (not happy)
Morning all,

I finally decided last week to order the D-Link DSM-520 from Komplett.co.uk at £172 inc VAT & del. Reasons for buying : I wanted to stream HD movies, photos and music.

Reviews have been mixed, admittedly, but seemed to indicate that this was the best of the bunch. I also looked at the Freecom and the Pinnacle before deciding. The DSM-520 arrived on Monday 4th Dec 2006, and was installed very easily and quickly. That part at least was painless. I used D-Link's own Media Server and also a demo version of TwonkyVision. I couldn’t get M$ own Media Connect to work, and I still can’t figure out why.

Getting wireless working was strangely easy from my Netgear router, and I was offered WPA or WEP. So, at first I used WPA wireless, just for a gag I suppose, cuz I knew it wouldn't work with HD due to the limited bandwidth. It played music and showed off my photo collection really well on wireless, but I quickly changed to a wired 10/100 link, as anything with HD movie content I tried to play simply sat there and stuttered, very badly. I had some WMV9 720p samples from M$ own site, along with several DVD VOB file sets, and a few MPEG2 1920x1080i HD movies "from a friend"

To my horror - none of my HD stuff would play without stuttering ! I’m really not happy, but even if it did stream OK, there are lots of other annoying niggles, some may even indicate a faulty unit so I’ll list all of my gripes here:

* Fails to correctly stream HD content. Stutters too badly to use.

* No sound on some content – particularly wmv9 and vob files.

* When trying to stream HD content, if I use the “jump” feature – instead of FF/RW, you can specify a time to which you wish to jump – it continues to play stutteringly badly as before, then after 6 seconds or so, it just freezes.

* The USB port is on the front and this obviously spoils the lines of the unit if you have it on the top of your hifi stack.

* The blue network LED flashes its silly head off while you are streaming media ! Most disconcerting and distracting.

* When playing photos, you must select “stretch to fit” otherwise the photos will only half fill the screen, and even then they are only played at 480p.

* I even tried to plug in a USB HDD to see if I could get around the stuttering issue by not having to rely on the links bandwidth (if indeed that is the problem) – However, none of my USB devices were even recognised. A 4GB microdrive, and 40GB USB HDD and a 1GB USB pen drive.

* The D-Link media server is actually not as bad as some other reviews make it out to be. One very minor niggle though, was in playing MP3 files from one artist – it showed me the list of tracks, with all Track 1s first, then all Track 2s, and so on. Using the album feature got around this, but the interface is still just very slightly clunky on MP3. The TwonkyVision server seemed to have some good and some bad points too but I’m not reviewing that today.

To say that I am disappointed is actually a huge understatement. Back to the drawing board methinks. I’ll keep you posted on the refund as it progresses.

I may now give up my quest for HD streaming and just save for a MPC !

5th December 2006 21:13  #2

Worst Nightmare Senior Member Join Date: July 2002 Location: Australia Posts: 6,706 Send a message via AIM to Worst Nightmare Send a message via ICQ to Worst Nightmare Send a message via MSN to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Yahoo to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Google to Worst Nightmare
Why didn't you build a cheap PC to do it?

26th December 2006 18:58  #3

mightyoblisk Member Join Date: December 2006 Location: United States Posts: 1
Got the dsm520 a few weeks ago. Not a bad device. One big problem: I have many thousands of MP3's. The interface makes it impossible to find specific artist or album via the TV and flicking page by page through thousands of albums or artists is simply silly!
Any advice? Is there any other server software that will work on the 520 that will make music browsing via the 520 possible?
also, am I right to think that music quality suffered? I have a pretty good sound system and seem to have noticed a significany difference in sound quality compared to playing directly from a CD player. I am new in this media storage game so any advice will help.

Thanks

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