capsule review

D-Link DSM-520 Wireless HD Media Player

At a Glance
  • D-Link DSM-520 Wireless HD Media Player

    TechHive Rating

    The DSM-520 delivers great sound. Standard-definition video, however, was sometimes a little blocky.

D-Link's DSM-520 Wireless HD Player provides exceptionally beautiful sound. It also comes through with a wide selection of music-listening choices. Not only can it stream protected .wma files purchased from subscription services like Napster (using Windows Media Player 11), but it can transmit audio from sources such as AOL Live, Live365, Napster, Rhapsody, and vTuner. Free sample versions of both Live365 and vTuner are included with the player. The DSM-520 HD isn't able to play back AAC iTunes music, however, whether the files are protected or not.

The D-Link's video capabilities, though, are less impressive. Standard-definition clips looked a bit blocky, while HD videos (which can include .wmv, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 files) came through somewhat better. The DSM-520 can output video at resolutions up to 1080i over HDMI.

The DSM-520 was the only player that gave me absolutely no Wi-Fi setup trouble. D-Link assured me that using the DSM-520 with a D-Link router provides no advantage. The player permits you to enter the password via a point-and-select screen or a remote-control phone pad. Or you can skip these two options and set up the network with a flash drive prepared in Windows' own Wireless Network Setup Wizard--an excellent method that no other player I looked at offered.

Setting up the DSM-520 to take full advantage of my TV was another matter. With my input choice (HDMI) selected, I couldn't alter the resolution at which it output video to my TV; the unit simply grayed out the option. To work around the difficulty, I changed the output to component, altered the resolution, and then changed the output back to HDMI--but having to go through that routine didn't inspire confidence. (D-Link is working on a fix.)

Once set up, the D-Link sports a promising, eye-pleasing menu system. But despite its large, colored buttons and comfortable fit in the hand, the remote seemed unresponsive. Sometimes I had to press <Enter> a second time because the first press accomplished nothing.

Besides supplying the unit's own server software, the D-Link CD contains an excellent 122-page .pdf manual with one of the best guides to cables I've run across.

Lincoln Spector

This story, "D-Link DSM-520 Wireless HD Media Player" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    The DSM-520 delivers great sound. Standard-definition video, however, was sometimes a little blocky.

    Pros

    • Easy network setup
    • Great audio-streaming options

    Cons

    • Blocky standard-definition video
    • Buggy video setup
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