We love
Cheap, streams media and impressive format support
We hate
Clunky, Wi-Fi isn't built in
Verdict
Frankly, this is the best media streamer for under £100 we've tested
Launch Price
£89.99
10 Pages
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Digital-Stream-DPS-1000-review

The Digital Stream DPS-1000 isn’t the smallest media streamer we’ve ever seen. It’s far from the most beautiful, and it lacks the smooth, sleek interface of the new Apple TV. But unless you own a complete array of iOS devices for AirPlay streaming, we’d still recommend it over Cupertino’s own attention grabbing set top box. Read on for our Digital Stream DPS-1000 review and we’ll explain why.

In the same vein as the Asus O!Play HD2, the Digital Stream DPS-1000 is a low price (£89.99) little box that sits under your telly, and streams media from the internet and your local network through to your flatscreen.

It’s certainly not as powerful as the Boxee Box, and lacks the IPTV offerings of the Sony PlayStation 3, but, it’s markedly cheaper – it’s the sort of thing we can see tech savvy teens and young adults installing in their parents’ living rooms to give them BBC iPlayer and shut them up. In a good way.

Buy the Digital Stream DPS-1000 now

Design and build

It's in offensive enough, if cheap looking

The Digital Stream DPS-1000 isn’t as outlandish as the Boxee Box, as gorgeous as the second generation Apple TV or as mutely compact as Western Digital’s HD Media Players. It’s simply a metal shell lacerated with “speed” holes, and a black front face. You can park it under the telly and forget about it, as it’s far smaller than your average PVR. Around the back however, it still finds space for HDMI-out, Ethernet, two USB ports and a SCART socket if you’re still kicking it with a cathode-ray boobtube, so it’ll work on almost any telly.

I think you should see a doctor, that swelling doesn't look healthy

Sadly, the remote is a catastrophe. Now don’t get us wrong, the buttons are all laid out correctly. It’s just we’ve never seen any bit of consumer electronics which looks quite so much like a root vegetable. The bulbous end with which you grip it is an offence to our sensibilities. The keyboard button, which brings up an on screen QWERTY, is also rather picky and choosy about which apps it’ll let you do this in – more on that below though.

Best media streamer Top 5

Other than the irksome problem of typing in login details with a remote control (Which you only need to do once, and you can have several profiles for different users), set up was painless. That is if you’re plugging it straight into your router for a hard wired connection. The Digital Stream DPS-1000 is supposedly Wi-Fi friendly, but it’s bring your own dongle and we weren’t able to test this feature. Hope your router’s in your living room!

Software

The Onyx Media Browser is easy to use and feature packed

The big selling point of the Digital Stream DPS-1000 is the software it runs: Oregan Networks’ Onyx Media Browser. You might not have heard of it before, but it’s the secret sauce to the rather delightful Cello internet TVs sold by Marks & Spencers which we’ve lauded before. The experience is almost identical in fact – it’s just like buying one for a no-net telly and plugging it in.

Now we can’t say that it’s a particularly pleasant UI, or even very fast, but it is simple, and packed with options. As well as BBC iPlayer streaming, there’s support for Lovefilm, Blinkbox and a variety of video podcasts, plus home network streaming. Basically, almost everything the Apple TV does, and then some.

A la carte movie streaming? You got it.

BBC iPlayer and Lovefilm are exactly what we’ve come to expect from set top boxes: standard definition and slightly muddy picture, but they get the job done. Of much more note is Blinkbox, which allows you to stream new release movies a la carte (Lovefilm requires a subscription, and its online viewing selection is still rather meagre). We watched Due Date (£2.99 for 24 hours, with a 30 day limit on first pressing play) on it with no hitches, and playback began instantly. If you’re lacking a games console with movie download service, this is the next best thing, and will definitely come in handy on a rainy day.

Also worthy of note is the set top box’s local media playback skills. You can pop in a memory stick into one of the two USB ports and play back just about any file: to our surprise, it handle even HD MP4 and MLV files without stuttering, as well as your usual DivX AVI files.

You can play back just about any HD movie file off USB

You can also stream media from your home network. PCs will work just fine, and it played nicely with all our server software on our Mac, like EyeConnect and even PS3 Media Server, though only standard definition videos play over the network, it appears.

Sadly, the www. button on the Digital Stream Internet Television’s remote will set you up for a fall: there’s no web browser yet.

Verdict

Forget the Apple TV. Without an iPhone or iPad, it does nothing. The Digital Stream DPS-1000 does more for less, and is still head smackingly easy to set up.

If you have an Xbox 360 or Sony PS3, there’s no need for it, but if you’re new to this media streaming, IPTV lark, it’s a great entry point, and a perfect set top box to shut your technophobic parents up if they’re continually asking how to use this iPlayer thing. Bravo.

  • @rtigs

    “Forget the Apple TV. Without an iPhone or iPad, it does nothing.” This statement is foolish and shows a lack of understanding of Apple TV2 by the author.

    My Apple TV2 runs XBMC on it which allows me to stream any type of file to my television, from a wireless drive loacted in another part of my house. Even without XBMC installed, I can still play every piece of content that is stored in my iTunes library (wirelessly to my tv set).

    I can throw my other Apple products away and this would NOT degrade my Apple TV viewing experience whatsoever.

    Ben- please learn about the Apple TV2 before commenting on it. Either that or stick to your strengths, such as describing the functionality of the DPS-1000.

    @rtigs

    • @rtigs

      Sorry Ben I hope my comments weren’t taken as insults. Just to be clear I very much enjoyed ready your write-up on the DPS-1000. I just wish you provided a more accurate desciption and assessment of the aTV2.

      • Zedthegreat

        @rtigs I think Ben is correct – the AppleTV2 is at it’s best with iOS devices. Sure you have installed XBMC but to do that it needs to be jailbroken and therefore is not out the box and something that everyone would want/be able to do – correct me please if I am wrong. Also if you do not use an iOS device I would imagine you would steer clear of the monstrosity that is iTunes!

        • @rtigs

          “Also if you do not use an iOS device I would imagine you would steer clear of the monstrosity that is iTunes! ”

          Thanks for your comments. You are correct about XBMC need a jb (however the steps are quite simple). As far as a stock aTV2 using iTunes, you still do not need an iOS device in order to use iTunes. The aTV2 user interface was put together quite well. I can view my full list of music and videos (which could be cumbersome) or I can narrow by music playlists, artists genres of music/movies, etc.

          I can’t stress enough that consumers should at least go to the store and try out the aTV2 before writing it off as the author appears to have done. It seems there are some misconcpetions.

          Cheers

          • Anonymous

            Hey Rtigs no worries and thanks for the feedback – I have tested the Apple TV extensively, but what you have to understand is that we have to review products within the constraints of what the average consumer can do with them.

            The average Apple buyer probably doesn’t know how to put XBMC on their Apple TV (even though they should, I agree), just as they don’t know how to install hacks of Google’s Android Market, Google Maps etc on unsupported Android tablets.

            As I actually said in my Apple TV review, you have to rate the product on what it does now and was intended to, not what geniuses have done and providde instructions for on obscure forums. Hope that helps!

    • @rtigs

      Sorry Ben I hope my comments weren’t taken as insults. Just to be clear I very much enjoyed ready your write-up on the DPS-1000. I just wish you provided a more accurate desciption and assessment of the aTV2.

    • Tomlagz

      I agree @rtigs. I have an extensive movie collection all of which I imported into my iTunes library so the new Apple TV has been a tremendous purchase for me. It’s also nice to listen to my entire music library through my home stereo system with a push of a button. I also use the flickr functionality to post my favourite photographs in a slide show on my tv.

  • @jgaddo

    “tech savvy teens and young adults showing their parents”

    I think you may have that the wrong way round. Tech savviness is in very short supply with young people. Unless you include knowing how to turn on the PS3 as tech savvy.

    • Anonymous

      I see what you mean John – but I mean being skilled with software etc, rather than changing a plug socket!

  • Judge

    HD files stream from Buffalo NAS – MKV and MP4. Win7-7MC doesn’t show MKV/MP4 files.
    Also plays HD TS Files from FreeSat and FreeView over LAN (including 7MC)

    GREEN Button changes Audio Track.

    Simple (Basic) Web Browser is available with a USB or USB-Wireless Keyboard – Press CTRL+G and wait about 10 seconds . . . Works with Google, Wikipedia, AVF, GMail (Not suitable for complex sites like BBC – no Flash)

  • Fraser

    Hi there, does anyone know if you can use this to watch normal Free to air channels? I.e. if I don’t have an aerial, sat dish or cable, can I use this to watch normal TV just using an internet connection?

    • Judge

      Hi – Not possible. Only BBC iPlayer built in. You can watch YouTube material as well.

    • Anonymous

      Nope, sorry!

    • Anonymous

      Nope, sorry!

Hot chat, right here!


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