updated 02:05 am EDT, Wed July 9, 2008
Networking device manufacturer D-Link and DivX have begun shipping the first DivX Connected media player in the U.S. (distribution in Canadian markets is expected to soon follow). The HDMI-connected D-Link MediaLounge DSM-330 offers streaming of music, photos, Internet services and high definition video from PCs to any connected television, ostensibly challenging Apple TV, Apple's device for the living room. The set-top box, however, uses the slower 802.11g networking (or optional wired Ethernet), while most newer devices, including Apple TV, use the new (and faster) 802.11n band. Unlike Apple TV, the device supports a larger range of format, including DivX (including DivX VOD files), Xvid and WMV9 (transcoded on PC) as well as a variety of image formats, including JPEG, JPEG 2000 and BMP (non-compressed).
The D-Link device also supports MP3, WMA (transcoded on PC), M3U, M3U8 and PLS audio, but the companies noted that "remotely accessing certain content over your home network may be limited by content protection mechanisms and require authorization from content owner/service provider." Apple's iTunes uses proprietary FairPlay protection for its DRM protection.
Both companies tout DivX Connected as "a powerful, open media platform that allows consumers to experience and control PC-based digital media on their television using a remote control and is capable of being embedded within many consumer electronics devicesz including digital televisions, set-top boxes, Blu-ray DVD players, and more."
The DivX platform offers SDKs allow users to customize the look and feel of their media experience as well as create plug-ins that leverage internet (data) services such as Google Maps, Last.fm, Facebook and many more. Calling its TV interface "fast" and "intuitive," the companies noted that the included remote-control can access a variety of what they called "trick modes," including skip forward 30 seconds, skip back 10 seconds and virtual chapter points.
The device includes HDMI, component (cable included), composite, S-Video or SCART connectivity and is bundled with HDMI and component cables. The D-Link DSM-330 is available now for $300 and ships with a one-year warranty. The company recommends a 2.6GHz processor, 1GB of system RAM, and a hardware-accelerated OpenGL-enabled video card for streaming HD content, while SD content only requires a 1.6GHz processor and 512MB of RAM.