Solwise DMP-1120w networking device - Review

Solwise DMP-1120w networking device - Review

Media streaming on a real budget

Pros: Supports many media servers. Works with memory cards and some USB hard disks
Reasonably easy to set up

Cons: Unappealing text menus. Can't play WMA or WMV files. No HDMI port

Bottomline: No frills but if your streaming needs are simple then the DMP-1120w could be enough

Price: £84

Manufacturer: Solwise

You could listen to music, watch movies or browse digital photos on your PC, but the chances are that they'd look and sound a great deal better on a television screen. A media streaming device such as the DMP-1120w plugs in to the TV and connects to a home network (wired or wireless), so you can browse your media library from the sofa with the supplied remote control.

The DMP-1120w certainly looks good, its white casing and rounded corners giving the product a Mac Mini feel that will sit happily in most living rooms. Setup was easy too, with Scart, component and composite video, and analogue and digital audio available. There's no hard disk and the lack of an HDMI port means you can forget high-definition films, but that's no surprise on such a cheap product.

We powered it up and after a lengthy pause it located libraries of files on our two test PCs, connected wirelessly. The DMP-1120w also connects to media software such as TVersity or Twonkymedia, which means you're not stuck with the supplied software, and can use it with a Mac or a Linux box.
Whether you'll want to make the effort is another question.

The interface is limited and mostly text based, so there's no album art when listening to music. And a Media Player quirk meant our music collection was sorted in alphabetical order by song title, which made browsing rather less convenient than we'd hoped – most such devices allow you to search by artist name.

You'll run into problems if music is saved in OGG or WMA formats, too: the DMP-1120w only plays MP3, AAC and WAV files. There are similar limitations on the video side: MPEG, DIVX and XVID files played faultlessly in our tests, but there's no support for WMV movies.

Still, the basics of the DMP-1120w work well. It connected to our wireless network without problems, video playback was smooth, and there's a wired network connection if you need it. The memory card slots are a welcome bonus, too. If value for money is your top priority, and you can live with its limitations, then the DMP-1120w is a good choice.