When a certain San Diego based storage and network security solutions manufacturer comes out with a device such as the Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link DX HD media player, you can rest assured that we’ll have it over for a review. Modern technologies have one major drawback. And yes, we’re referring to price. Well, there are workarounds too. Instead of drooling over a high priced Smart TV on display at a mall and wishing you could own one, devices like the ScreenPlay are likely to be viable substitutes. That means any television set can be converted into media centric hubs and in a cost effective manner. So sit back and read on to find out the entire list of capabilities this media player has to offer.
We received the Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link DX HD media player in a simple package that looked nothing out of the ordinary. In fact it was highly informative with the specifications and capabilities imprinted all over the surface. This not only provides potential users a brief insight of the device, but can also help them take appropriate decisions through comparisons with other products. Getting the gadget out of its captivity didn’t take us long. And it wasn’t the only thing we got our hands on. We were presented with a remote control, an 802.11n standard Wi-Fi USB adapter, a power adapter with interchangeable wall socket plugs, a Quick Start Guide CD-ROM, an HDMI and composite video cables. The package also includes the downloadable Iomega Protection Suite software, 2GB of free storage on the MozyHome Online Backup service and a 1-year subscription to the Trend Micro Internet Security tool.
Design and components
Similar to most media players, the Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link DX flaunts a compact and lightweight design. Not only does it portray a stylish form factor, but also it comes covered with a smooth glossy black surface that glamorizes the entire look. The dimensions of this entertainment hub read at 6.89″ x 4.34″ x 1.19″, whilst in terms of weight, the device has a mass of around 0.65 pounds. The design isn’t all that the gadget flaunts. On its front, we found 2 USB ports powered by the 2.0 interface and a LED notification light. When flipped over, we ran into an HDMI as well as another USB port, an Ethernet socket, composite RGB ports and the power input socket. Moving on to the remote control, the company has opted for a broader design compared to standard sizes available today. Also, the build quality appears to be good along with a decent layout of buttons.
The setup process
It didn’t take us long to get the Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link DX connected to one of the HDTVs in our review lab. In fact, it barely consumed 5 minutes of our time. Once we got all the necessary ports connected, it was time to finally power on the media player. The startup guide took us through a few license as well as T&C screens after which the UI was presented in a matter of seconds on hitting ‘Accept’. To obtain the best viewing experience, we hooked up the device through an HDMI port. For TVs which aren’t equipped with one, the company has also provided an alternative – composite video sockets. However, the idea of expecting high quality audio as well as video through RGB cables is a bit too farfetched. The TV Link DX automatically detects networks on the first start and provides the option to switch between LAN and Wi-Fi connections.
Accessibility and the interface
On the word go, a software update notification flashed on our screen. Since it seems wise to review this media player whilst it was running on the latest firmware, we went ahead and started the process. Within a span of 10 minutes, the device downloaded all the necessary files, rebooted a few times and installed the upgrade without having us press any button. The interface sports a clean and simple layout through which 5 options comprising of settings, music, video, internet and images were presented to us. Flipping through menus was really smooth and to add to the convenience, the remote comes equipped with shortcuts to quickly access all the features. We also ran into a few pre-built applications such as YouTube on the way.
To view content, we tried various sources such as USB flash drives, network folders and media servers. From all of these, the TV Link DX was unable to access any of our smartphones. Additionally, we prepared a few media files for testing the compatibility and playback. Well, the video quality was up to the mark and we’ve got no complaints about the audio quality. However, we did face a few issues with certain functions such as rewind and fast forward, that for some unknown reason just didn’t work. One movie just exited after two minutes of playback too. Putting all these things aside, the rest of our tests went on smoothly, leaving us satisfied with the outcome. We managed to get a DLNA certified smartphone connected for streaming content wirelessly. File formats that are supported by the media player include AVI, ASF, IOS, VOB, MP4, FLV, MOV, WMV, FLV and MKV for video as well as most popular audio and image formats.
The TV Link DX is highly convenient to setup and hosts an intuitive UI.
Most test videos played smoothly without any delay in audio or frame loss.
The built-in web browser supports video playback on sites like YouTube in 1080p full HD.
The built-in web browser is still in the beta stage and performs a bit sluggishly.
A few functions didn’t work whilst previewing certain media files.
Music playback stops when the web browser is opened.
Inputting text through the remote control is a hassle as the keys are too small as well as a bit hard to press.
Smartphones in USB mode aren’t supported.
The Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link DX does exactly what its specifications state. And it should be a walk in the park for even inexperienced users when it comes down to setting up this device. Needless to say, with its offerings of various connectivity options, an intuitive UI and a price tag falling under $200, we’re more than happy to give this media player a 7.8 out of 10 rating.