Pros Stream radio, plug/play, ^ quality 420 to 1080, back-up all DVD’s to DIVX/XVID/MPEG4_SP( Read note on DivX), Buffer
Cons Fst fwd rwd slow (4 times normal), USB Capacity, Support_ all vendors R bad, need bookmark 4 video
Summary Reviewed 4 different Media Centers & Dlink 520 is the BEST
I have tried the Media PC (Dell), the Linksys (Cisco) , Xbot and Dlink and the Dlink is the best media center by far. However, if you are mainly a game player, go for the Xbot.
Dlink-520 = 9
Media PC = 7 (High Price – too much functionality for need)
Xbot = 6 (Fair Media Center and GREAT game center)
LinkSys = 5 (High price not much functionality)
About 1.5 years ago I tried the Dlink DSM-320 and I kept it just under 30 days and returned it for a full refund because it had many deficiencies. As such I didn’t expect much from the DSM-520 but to date I have been truly amazed and I plan to keep it.
1) You can stream radio from many different internet sources & most are free.
2) System is pretty much plug/play. If you have media on your computer it will play on your TV through the 520.
3) I back-up all my DVD’s into DIVX format and 520 can read this format. However you must rename extension from .divx to .avi.
4) 520 increases the quality. I have a HD TV and with an HDMI cable quality is better then normal DVD even though with DivX a movie is compressed from >5GB to <700MB.
5) You can set up different media centers on different computers. As a result your entire family can log their media onto the 520.
6) Buffer – Evidently some buffer is present. I rebooted my computer during a movie (accidentally) and the movie continued to play for over 3 minutes. Once it stopped it picked back up where it left off once computer was restored.
1) Fast forward & rewind very slow. Probably about 4 times max normal speed.
2) USB Drive – I connected a 250GB USB drive and system couldn’t see it. Dlink support told me 200GB was max so I connected a 150GB and still no connect. I connected a 20GB and success. So, I imagine max is somewhere between 20GB and 150GB. I will let you all know once I figure this out.
3) Dlink support is about as bad as all the rest. I reached 2nd level support after 42 minutes and they still gave me the wrong info on the USB drive (2 above).
4) Doesn’t have a bookmark for video. So if you want to stop a movie & want to return you will experience #1 above.
1) PC Configuration – XP Home, 2.0 Ghz, 512MB mem, Hyper Thread.
2) Updated PC and Dlink to current software/firmware.
3) Running wireless but installed $12.99 9DB attenuators from CompUSA (on sale) on the 520 as well as my Linksys wireless router.
4) What I Paid for 520 - $202.37 which includes ship/tax at Amazon.com. This includes a $30.00 discount for charging on a new Amazon credit card which I will throw away when I get it.
I have had this 520 since 2/05/06 (1 week). It took me about 2 hours to connect to my home network. I have over 300 movies and 4,000 songs on my 6 home computers and they are now all available on my TV. The kids love it but I must admit I, the family tech guru is the most impressed. I have heard that this unit has a delay. I have not noted this and believe anyone that reports such is doing so based on the 320 version.
If requested I will give you an update after my 30th day.Updated
I've had this for 4 months now and I still love it. In fact the whole family loves it. I've experienced no problems with it and as i mentioned if you want to run this wireless you need a G router and a 9DB gain on both ends.
I've also added a DSM-G600 which connects directly to my router and with this my entire media collection is available without having to turn on the computer. My family and I have placed our entire DVD\CD\Picture collection on this server and it works flawlesly. When I purchase a new DVD I copy it on the server as well and and save my DVD so it doesn't get damaged.
I have several friends who have purchased this on my reccomendation and they also love it. I know of no one that returned the unit.
Pros Plays videos, pictures, music stored on your computer or external hard disk
Cons does not allow you to play music using media platyers like window media player etc on your laptop - you have to use TV displayed menu
Summary I'm reviewing this item based on my individual need which may no apply to someone else's.
My need was that I wanted to be able to play music on my laptop/computer using any one of the computer based programs like Windows Media Player, Winamp, JetAudio etc with on my home stereo system (a Sony receiver hooked up with 4 sattelite speakers + center + sub-woofer via cords). I wanted to be able to re-utilize my stereo system without running any wires and having to get up and go to living room where stereo system is setup and browse through albums and start or shuffle. I wanted to use my laptop for all musing playing control + user interface at the same time.
This product does not do that for you. While it is true it plays music stored on your lapttop/computer harddisk or an external hard drive, you are still bound to use your TV to browse through different songs/albums/playlists etc to play them because the menu to play audio/video displays on your TV. Because of ONLY this reason I am returning my unit. Otherwise I would have kept it.
For my need, I am going to use Motorola's two bluetooth adapters, DC800 Home stereo adapter that goes into stereo, and USB PC stereo PC850 adapter that goes into laptop/computer USB port. That does the job wonderfully.
Using these two adapters, the sound quality is exactly what you're playing on your computer. Or at least I could not tell the difference. This also means that if you are using a good quality media player software like JetAudio to play your mp3 files then you can use various equilizer settings to enhance the sound even further. Of course, the biggest thing is that now you are not bound to save and play your music in a particular format (mp3, wma, aac, avi, mpc, whatever) because of regardless the file format, whatever you can play on laptop/computer, you can listen to on home stereo all without running any wires/cords!
D-link media player costs around $217 at amazon (cheepest among all) and it's best used with a 54 mb/sec wifi card which is about another $50 which makes a total of around $268. Both Motorola adapters cost me only $157!
Having taken this need out of the way, I do have couple of comments specific to D-link DSM-520:
1- The setup is not as much of a snap as many have mentioned if your wifi networks is protected by WEP enabled key. I am using 128bit-hex key at home and it was pain in the neck to manually enter a combination of numeric and alphabetical characters using remote control. 128bit-hex means 26 characters and you're bound to make a mistake while entering using remote control and looking at the TV screen. I made the mistakes about 3 times after which I gave up. You also have the option to use Window xp's Start -->accessorieds -->communication-->wireless netwok wizard (product manual has the steps, see it) and put config on flash drive and plug into d-link dsm-520 that automatically reads it and configures but somehow that did not work for at the end of the day. It read and used the configs but still I was not able to connect and have my media server recognized over the network. The final solution was that I disabled the WEP encryption in my routher and then it worked. I guess you'd have to spend some time to make it work using the WEP encryption. It's a bit of "thumbs down" as far as rating goes in that regard. But I still think it's not a deal breaker. You can make it work if you're a bit patient and get used to it's working arounds.
2- Functionality - Like I said in the earlies part. I you want to play music using menu/user interface on computer/laptop instead of TV then this is not the product you want.
3- Sound quality and playing - If above two points are not of much value to you then this product will definitely please you. I'm returning this product ONLY because I want to use my laptop to control which song/album I'm not TV. As little as I was able to set this up and play some music stored in the fomr of wma and mp3 file format, the quality was great. You can't tell the difference between playing on computer or d-link or CD in CD player.
So. If your need is more on the lines of the #3 above them I'd suggest ignore everything else I said before that and go ahead buy it. If however it's same as my need (#2 above) then don't buy this product. I'm going to return mine for the sheer reason.
"D-Link DSM-520 Media Receiver is one the best among it's class and affordable too."on by saketkumar
Pros Stream music, photos, video from any UPnP AV compatible media server, stream online radio from radio@AOL, live365.com, direct USB thumb drive support, stream Windows Media DRM protected content.
Cons Photo thumbnail support is horrible, UI can be improved, no support for bread crumb, no music album art, video forward/rewind functionality can be improved.
Summary If you are in the market for Media Receiver/Hub then you may end up buying this. Direct connection to the USB drive open up lot of option for many users.
D-Link DSM-520 Media Receiver (D-link call it MediaLounge) is one the best among the available media receiver in the market. Not only it's much better than it's predecessor DSM-320, but with ton's of additional features it's affordable too. Having USB thumb drive support in the front gives option to the user to play video files directly from the external hard drive.
It works great with Windows Media Connect and TwonkyVision media server. Besides all kind of video support, DivX support was surprise for me.
Detail review at http://mediaproductreview.blogspot.com/
Pros high def output, internet radio
Cons extremely buggy, poor user interface, slow user response
Summary This device has all the features I want and need, unfortunately it is extremely buggy and has an underpowered CPU which makes for a slow and frustrating user experience. Examples of bugs, the aspect ratio for photos is wrong in high def (16:9) mode, but video aspect ratio is fine. The FF, REW, etc., buttons for video playback (standard def) don't work. My review is based on firmware as of March 2006, future firmware versions (if there will be any, it has been a long time since the last update, and tech support page of D-Link doesn't even list the DSM-520, only the standard def DSM-320) may fix some of the bugs. As it is, what kind of QA lets incorrect aspect ratios for photos get by??? It's such an easy fix and such a high priority bug. Let alone the FF ane REW functionality...
All in all, there is a lot of potential in this device, unfortunately the firmware doesn't let it shine through.
Pros Stream music, photos, video from wireless network with Music Server (any PC). USB thumb drive or MP3 player plugs into front for use w/o PC. Watch auto photo slideshow while listening to MP3s.
Cons USB direct only supports 20GB so you cannot plug in your large external drive and run without a PC.
Summary HD or std TV support, 802.11b or g support. All standard outputs supported (composite, component, optical, S-Video, HDMI).
You can even run this without a PC, but you will have to limit the USB to about 20GB (?). This is not specified, but my 300GB USB drive was not recognized. My 1GB MP3 worked fine.
Loading S/W on PC and dragging directories to play into the "shared folder" is a snap. These files (music, video, photos) can then be accessed from the remote TV/Stereo unit (usually at the other end of your house).
Live AOL is free (similar to cable TV music offering - not on demand). Others require subscription. But above method allows no cost streaming.
I first purchased the MSNTV system because they offered a $99 rebate and claimed to do nearly everything D-Link will do (w/o HDTV). But soon discovered there is NO wireless access - box says otherwise. The box also will not work at all without first subscribing to MSN. Salesman said otherwise. I should have known as I have been burned by MSN products in the past.