Digital Stream DPS-1000 BBC iPlayer set-top box
IPTV and DLNA for sub-par tellies
Review It won't be long before all HDTVs incorporate BBC iPlayer, video-on-demand services like Lovefilm and Blinkbox, and the playback of content stored on USB- or local network-connected drives.
Digital Stream's DPS-1000: iPlayer inside
Heck, most sets from major brands released in the last year or two already do. Case in point: the Samsung that graces the Reg Hardware office lets me do all of the above. So does my telly at home, its iPlayer support having rendered my DVR redundant in less than a twelvemonth.
But plenty of sets don't have all these facilities, and this is where set-top boxes like the DPS-1000, from Korean outfit Digital Stream, come in, gathering content from USB drives, DLNA servers and IPTV services and feeding them through HDMI or Scart ports - the DPS-1000 has both, with a Scart cable included but not HDMI wire.
The DPS-1000 isn't especially stylish, but it is compact, and it supports a wide array of codecs and file formats. It happens to be based on UK company Oregan Networks' Onyx Media Browser (OMB) platform, but that's really of secondary concern to the user experience it provides - and here it's pedestrian.
The designed-for-drives USB ports should be round the front for easier access
OMB is modular, so the iPlayer, Lovefilm and Blinkbox services are delivered through plug-ins, each delivering a UI you'll be familiar with if you've used any or all of these offerings on the web or other devices. I had no trouble watching last week's Doctor Who and a selection of bad sci-fi flicks through my Lovefilm account.
Next page: Disconnected UI
"...its iPlayer support having rendered my DVR redundant in less than a twelvemonth."
As long as you only watch BBC, have an uncapped Internet service, don't want to keep anything more than 2 weeks (so no long holidays) and are happy with the picture quality.
Streaming vs broadcast
It's the general issue of streaming vs broadcast. The author has binned broadcast "in less than a twelvemonth" in favour of streaming. Good luck to him. I am in the "get real!" broadcast camp with my trusty topfield PVR and seperate MP3 players. Streaming clogs up the internets, quality is an issue, and you have to involve your entire home IT ecosystem everytime you want to listen to Thin Lizzy. On the other hand, my hi-fi connected MP3 player boots in under a second.
Re: re: Get Real
iPlayer is fine for those with good ADSL which handles the higher definition mode with ease, but for those with slow connections the standard resolutions is choppy.
I don't really see how the £90 price tag is enough to differentiate it from players like the BDP-S370, which does all that and plays Blu-Ray discs so is somewhat more useful into the future.
If this had wi-fi, I'd buy one for my parents, they have no PVR or streaming capabilities. But as far as I can see, it's wired only, and all options for getting a wired connection where I'd need it are either expensive (relative to the box) or a hassle.
For myself, I'm also in the "get real!" camp, I have iPlayer access on my TV via my V+ box and my HTPC, but never use it. Only having stuff available for 7 days or whatever is weak, and anyway I watch a lot of non-BBC stuff, so recording rules for me.
BTW the "More Info: Digital Stream's site" link actually points to "www.theregister.co.uk" right now?