"Does what it claims to do"4.0 starson by mjbarak
Pros: With the right help, allows you to play on your TV anything that you can play through Windows Media Center on your computer.
Cons: Expensive alone, and more expensive if you need to buy the right type of router to go with it.
Summary: I think the problem is that many people expect this product to be everything. It's not, but with a little research, you can know going into it exactly what you are going to get. No, this device won't brush your teeth for you - but it never claimed to be able to do so.
Naturally, to be compatible, the device supports 802.11b and g. But don't bother - if you are going to use this wirelessly (unless for music only), you need to use n. Also, many people don't seem to realize that for a "g" network, if ANY device on the network is "b," the ENTIRE NETWORK will only operate at "b" (sort of like you are only as strong as your weakest member). This is not the case with n - if you have or get a dual band n router, your b and/or g devices can continue on with their life while the DMA2100 and your router have a happy n relationship together. But be warned - a good product like the Linksys WRT600N will cost you as much as the DMA2100. So if you thought the DMA2100 was already expensive, be sure to factor in this added cost (if you don't already have such a router and need that wireless performance).
Why Vista only (another complaint I see out there)? Welcome to the bleeding edge of technology. But blame Microsoft for that, not Linksys. There are other devices out there (or coming out) that work with MCE 2005, but it is actually through a different operating interface.
As a rule of thumb, if it plays in Media Center on your computer, it will play here. So don't be surprised by something that won't play. Remember - this is an extension of Media Center. So don't expect it to support formats that Media Center doesn't support. Apple and Microsoft have never played nicely together, so that should be a hint... That said, there are codecs out there that will help (such as with the reported Divx issues). But this is not user friendly - if you don't know enough about computers to get it to work on your computer, don't expect to be able to get it to work on this device either.
A note about playing DVDs... I see a lot of complaints that people can't stream their ripped DVDs using this. This naturally isn't advertised, but there is a very easy way to do this. Can you stream a DVD to the DMA2100? Well, yes and no. Many of you will want to rip your DVDs to your computer and have them stream. There are products out there that can play back ISO files or VOB/IFO files. This isn't one of them. But not many people seem to know that VOB files are just mpeg2 files with a different extension. When you rip the DVD, have it do so to only one VOB (rather than splitting it into 1GB chunks - of course, if your drive is formatted as FAT rather than NTFS, you're SOL). Then delete every file other than the one VOB. Then rename the VOB to mymovie.mpg. Voila - you now have a mpeg file that will be exact DVD quality and stream just fine to this device. You can even name a JPG file (such as the DVD cover art) "folder.jpg" and put it in the same folder as your mpeg file. Media Center will find this and display it. If you need any help ripping the dvd or making it only one vob file, Google it - but if you do need help with that, this may not be the product for you anyway.
If you want something very friendly and easy to use, and if you either use only iTunes or have no problem converting your movies to iTunes, you may want to think about AppleTV (if you have a VERY modern tv). I have AppleTV for my wife (who is tech savy enough to convert movies to iTunes, but that's about it), and she loves it. But my primary use is storing my movies on the computer in native quality and streaming them to the TV. It isn't as friendly as AppleTV, but AppleTV simply can't do that.
Remember, there are other alternatives out there if you don't want to stream. There are hard drive based products where you can (1) hook it up to your computer as an external drive, (2) put ISO (or VOB/IFO) files on them, (3) hook it up to your entertainment system and (4) watch it in native DVD quality. Many people may find that much easier to accomplish your needs - no streaming, no Vista, no router. Let's face it - the only advantage the DMA2100 has over products like that is that the DMA2100 is cooler and doesn't require you to manually copy files from one device to another. But unless you are a total geek like me, wouldn't a product like that be much less of a hassle and cost? [I do have a product like that, but I was ready to move on to the "next thing"].