D-Link DSM-520 Wireless HD Media Player

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D-Link DSM-520 UPnP Media Player

D-Link DSM-520 UPnP Media Player Overview

Basic Specs

Video Support: SD and HD MPEG2. No H.264 support. Does support WMV.
Video Output: Composite, Component HD, HDMI. 480i, 480p, 720p or 1080i.
Audio Output: Analog and Digital audio output. (Only analog tested)
Network: 100Mbps Wired Ethernet and 802.11G Wireless

Media Player Evaluation

MythTV Version: 0.21svn revision 13117 (May 2007) Media Extender: D-Link DSM-520, firmware version 1.02 Network: 100 Mbps wired ethernet Display: Connected to 27" 720p LCD Panel via Component Video

MythTV was recognized as soon as the DSM-520 got an IP address. Basic functionality looked promising. My list of "pros" is much smaller than the "cons", but in using it I thought the DSM-520 was pretty close to a usable device. But, in the end, I returned it to the store. One of the MythTV features most important to me is the commercial skipping, both automatic and manual. A device that cannot speed me past the commercials is a non-starter for me.

Video playback was Generally Smooth. Did get out of sync and not recover when backend was overloaded. Playback froze a couple times after doing a lot of FF/REW.


   * Good video playback for many HD files.
   * Effortless setup / interoperability with MythTV. 


   * Some video failed to display, 1080i material - possibly too high bit rate. 
   * FF/REW pretty much unusable, barely faster than normal playback.  Speed of FF/REW appears to be related to bit rate of video. 
         o Jump mode FF/REW disabled in DSM-520
   * No bookmarks or any way to resume from anywhere but beginning of file.
   * Response time is not great for remote control input.
   * No easy way to switch among UPnP servers, must go into setup.

Didn't Test

   * Digital Audio output - and support via MythTV streams.  I only had simple analog stereo hooked to my display 
   * HDMI / HDMI->DVI - I didn't have a HDMI->DVI cable handy so I just used component.  Shouldn't matter much. 
   * Myth Music / Gallery / Video - I didn't have these installed on my backend box.

MythTV Suggestions

   * Add option to control categories displayed in UPnP menus.  
         o Hide "LiveTV" Items from all menu areas (at least optionally).
         o Put "Default" Group at top menu, maybe with a different name.
         o Order programs newest first
   * Any improvements in playback control would be great (if possible)
         o Skip commercials on server side (Jump in MPEG stream based on cut points)
         o Pseudo-bookmark via noting last playback point sent to UPnP client & resuming at that point.  Could even present different menu options to allow choice of where to resume.


These screenshots try to give an overview of what the UPnP interface is like when accessing via UPnP rather than a native MythTV client.

Root Menu

DSM-520's Root menu, selecting "My Media" takes you to the MythTV content. RootMenu.jpg

Myth Menu

Top level MythTV menu, giving the main content areas: Recordings, Music, and Videos. Notice the mini view of the program being played. I was playing the program, and navigated out into the menus, it continued playing and displayed in the little PiP window. TopMythMenu.jpg


This menu gives all the options for Recordings groupings. ShowRecordings.jpg

Recordings by Title

List of recordings by title. This has many titles that I didn't record, maybe as a result of the Live TV recording behavior of MythTV. ListNames.jpg

By Group

Selected the "By Group" option. Live TV has a lot of junk in mine, "Default" has the programs I recorded. ListGroups.jpg

Recorded Programs

Selected the "Default" option, which shows my list of recorded programs - oldest first. Programs.jpg

Black Screen

This shows the result of playing a 1080i file which might be at a bit rate too high for the DSM-520. The file Info is showing, and the audio is correctly playing, but no video. Obviously, the displayed bit rate is incorrect. This recording plays fine with a native MythTV client.

TwonkyMedia UPnP server screen

This is the equivalent of the MythTV top level menu, for another UPnP server, TonkyMedia. It is a much better menu, with large icon and highlight bar. Twonky.jpg

External Links

D-Link DSM-520 Product Page