Digital Stream is a new name on UK shores having recently produced a Freeview HD PVR. The DPS-1000 is an HD ready media streamer with the added bonuses of social networking and catch up TV.
But is it a living room essential? As a viable alternative to your laptop for BBC iPlayer or media streamer?
Speed is not the DPS-1000's strong point. Using the latest firmware downloaded straight to the box, booting ‘from cold’ takes a leisurely 90 seconds on average though from standby it's near instantaneous.
The DPS-1000 uses Onyx software as found on some Cello-branded TVs which allows you to create user profiles including login details for Facebook etc. Functionality is grouped under three headings - Home Media (for playing your own files), BBC iPlayer and Web TV. The latter offers YouTube, Flickr and an assortment of vodcasts from the likes of Jamie Oliver, UEFA and, er, Sesame Street.
Widget apps for news and weather, Facebook and Twitter appear on the main menu or can be called up while watching a video, using the large remote control, which looks a little cheap and is festooned with buttons which takes time to get used to.
BBC iPlayer gets the TV-friendly 'big screen' interface but while shows were marked as being 'also in BBC HD' selecting this option saw us presented with the SD version instead. The DPS-1000 can play the most popular media formats including MKV, AVI, XviD, WMV, MP4, and MP3. but can only output HD up to 1080i.
The device has no problem playing files stored on USB drives or our networked PC running Windows Media 11 and Western Digital NAS drive. However, video playback via HDMI looks a tad softer in many cases than when using our PlayStation 3 and you can't create playlists either.
Open web browsing is possible using the remote and a virtual onscreen keyboard (you can use a real keyboard but mice aren't supported). The web browser also frequently struggled to load even seemingly simple pages with any haste over a 20MB connection.
The DPS-1000 has no onboard storage so you'll need to connect an external hard or flash drive using the two ports provided or use networked devices such as a PC or NAS drive. A dongle of your own is required for wi-fi too. HDMI and Scart outputs are included but, while Dolby support is claimed, the DPS-1000 doesn't have separate audio outputs.
It may be inexpensive at £90 but the DPS-1000 has too many shortcomings to recommend it especially when there are better products available for around the same money such as the Western Digital WD TV Live (£100) for streaming capability, (though admittedly it doesn't have iPlayer), or even a set-top bo like the Humax FOXSat HD (£120), which offers iPlayer support.
Digital Stream DPS-100 release date: now from John Lewis