Technology & Gadgets

D-Link DSM-320 and DSM-520 review


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A friend of mine lent me the DSM-320 (it’s coming back soon, Patrick) and I evaluated it to decide to buy the ($229) DSM-520. Both boxes are UPnP AV streaming devices that let you stream audio, video, etc. from a PC.


Here’s the differences (all in favor of the DSM-520):

  • Supports WPA encryption on wireless
  • Supports high definition component and HDMI outputs
  • Has plug-in on front for USB drive

First impressions:

  • The box is quick and easy to setup, and found Windows Media Connect, NeroHome and D-Link Media Server without problems.
  • Firmware on both is clunky, and has even crashed a few times on the DSM-520 requiring a reboot
  • D-Link Media Server software is poorly implemented, alternatives including the live video transcoding capable NeroHome (my favourite)
  • Few video formats can be read “out-of-the-box”
  • The current firmware strangely can only be set to FF/Rewind OR jump to location. This is most annoying.

After a few months:

Overall, I still really like the DSM-520, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a high-definition streaming video player for a big-screen TV. It’s relatively inexpensive, and works quite well.

  • You can rip a DVD (I use DVDdecrypter) and play it back later. This is great, but several DVDs change audio language abruptly in mid-movie, requiring the rest of the movie be watched on a computer.
  • NeroHome is my preferred media server, supporting many more video formats for live transcoding than the D-Link Media Server
  • Only D-Link Media Server and NeroHome support fast-forward and rewind (Windows Media Connect 2.0 chokes)
  • I intend to buy an Infrant ReadyNAS NV, which will allow me to stream directly off that, without ever having to keep or turn on a computer in the house (supports UPnP AV).
  • I really wish they’d improve FF/Rev, including both jump, and some kind of “jump forward or backwards a few seconds”
  • I would love to see some kind of webbrowser built-in.
  • Pictures are still broken (either stretched to the wrong aspect ratio, or too small). This needs a bug fix desperately from D-Link

By Dave

He was born in Canada, but currently lives in Boulder, CO up in Boulder Heights.

4 replies on “D-Link DSM-320 and DSM-520 review”

[…] My XBOX360 is for sale. I really like the DSM-520, and can wait for Halo3 and the HD-DVD add-on drive for the XBOX360. The DSM-520 is really good at what it does! See my review on that in upcoming posts. The XBOX360 is just not what I wanted or needed. I suppose if I had a terabyte of storage on a noisy Media Center PC in another room, this would be an awesome solution for me, but right now it bites. […]

OK, I linked to a different site with DVDdecrypter, maybe folks will tell me which alternate implementation they like best (AnyDVD, etc.).

Do yourself a favor and DO NOT buy this. It is garbage. Firmware and Active-TV software from Mediamall is VERY buggy.

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