Updated: March 15, 2013
MediaLounge D-Link DSM-520
Wireless Media Player
Wireless Home Entertainment Systems Reviews
The D-Link DSM-520 was first released in 2007; it is not the latest in wireless digital media player technology and it does not sport 802.11n wireless technology but...
It is capable of solid streaming performance and can handle a vast range of digital media formats up to 1080i. Equally important, the D-Link comes at a price that is lower than most of the competition.
Editor's Update December 2012: For information on the latest wireless media players, please refer to our Wireless Media Players Review page.
The D-Link DSM-520 wireless digital media player is a follow-up to the DSM-320 released way back in 2005.
The DSM-320 and the DSM-520 wireless digital media players are both capable of streaming audio, video and photos over an 802.11g wireless network.
However, the DSM-520 represents a significant improvement over its predecessor both in terms of streaming performance and also supported features. The latter includes streaming of high definition video with resolutions up to 1080i in Windows Media Video 9 or MPEG-4 format.
It also outputs surround sound, and includes support for DRM-protected WMA files purchased from Internet stores, Rhapsody streaming, and internet radio - something that the Apple TV lacks. And at around $200, the D-Link DSM-520 wireless digital media player is more affordable than most of the competition. Measuring 1.5 by 11.25 by 16.75 inches, the D-Link DSM-520 is somewhat larger than the Apple TV or the Roku, but it is within the same size as the Netgear EVA9150 wireless digital media player.
Admittedly, within this same footprint, the Netgear includes a convenient built-in hard drive – something which the D-Link DSM-520 lack. The D-Link is housed in a black aluminum chassis with stylish front panel that blends in perfectly well with other home entertainment gear.
Connectivity includes a USB 2.0 port in the front panel for instant access to music, photos, and videos stored on removable USB flash drives or hard drives.
D-Link DSM-520 Rear Connection Panel
Other connections include an HDMI, wired 10/100Mbps Ethernet, Component Video, Coax Digital Audio, Optical Digital Audio, Composite Audio, Composite Video and S-Video. This means that the DSM-520 may be used equally well with both HDTV sets as well with the older standard definition televisions.
All this is accompanied by a friendly user-interface. The built-in Setup Wizard makes setting up the DSM-520 wireless digital media player straightforward, while wireless configuration is made even simpler than ever thanks to Windows Connect Now. Simply run the Wireless Network Setup Wizard from a Windows XP SP2 or a Windows Vista PC to transfer the wireless settings to the DSM-520 using a USB flash drive.
As stated earlier on, wireless connectivity is over an 802.11g link; it does not sports 802.11n as most of the latest wireless digital media players, but it still manages to do a good job in streaming HD media content. Supported wireless security includes 64- and 128-bit WEP encryption, as well as the latest WPA and WPA-2 encryption.
File formats supported include MP3 up to 320Kbps, WAV and AIFF, WMA for audio, JPEG, JPEG2000, BMP, PNG, TIFF, and GIF for image files, and WMV9, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, XviD and AVI files for video.
What’s more, with firmware version 1.05 and later, (firmware can be easily upgraded via the D-Link DSM-520 automatic firmware update feature), users can also enjoy Active-TV ONLINE internet channels.
This is a new feature on the DSM-520 that enables users to access TV programs, movies, video clips, and podcasts available on the Internet so that they can watch these on their TV. It includes free, subscription, and fee-based online sources such as YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo!, ESPN, Fox Sports, MTV, VH1, Movielink, and much more.
You can also make bids on eBay from your TV. Above all, with Active-TV ONLINE, you can watch thousands of new videos arriving all the time at your convenience.
The bottom line
Equally capable of streaming audio, photos and high definition video, the DSM-520 wireless digital media player comes with an interesting feature set that is complemented by solid streaming performance despite that its wireless connectivity is limited up to 802.11g.
And all this comes at a price tag that is among the cheapest within its category.
For available firmware updates and manufacturer product downloads, please follow this link: D-Link DSM-520 Downloads