HTC Media Link review: HTC Media Link

Typical Price: $179.00
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Extremely easy to use. Plays video up to 720p. Establishes a unique wireless network for streaming.

The Bad Expensive. DLNA connectivity only.

The Bottom Line The Media Link impressed us with its simplicity, which, if price isn't a consideration, will serve as a good DLNA media streamer. Just be aware of the alternatives before you commit.

7.7 Overall

Design and features

A gadget with a single purpose is such a rare animal in the technology landscape of 2011 — we have phones that are also cameras, printers with app stores, and TVs with web browsers. Often many new devices fail to be more than mediocre at a number of tasks rather than excelling at a single function.

HTC's Media Link is this rare exception, a small brushed metal box about the size of a packet of Extra gum, the Media Link connects to your TV via mini-HDMI, establishes itself as a Local Area Network access point and streams media using DLNA from a compatible device, like an HTC smartphone. There are no buttons beside its Power button and no remote for inputting passwords or settings.

The simplicity of this approach is commendable. Up until now DLNA networking has often presented baffling networking issues requiring a rudimentary knowledge of wireless networking to overcome them. With Media Link, a user connects their phone to its unique network as they would to any other Wi-Fi network (using the password 0123456789). The two devices pair and then the Media Link is ready to receive media from the phone to display on your TV. It couldn't be any easier.

This does require you to have media streaming software installed on your phone. HTC phones have the Connected Media app preloaded on all devices since the end of last year, while Samsung Android phones use AllShare. If your Android phone doesn't have a media sharing tool on-board you can download one from the Market — we'd recommend the excellent Twonky app. With an app installed you can stream music, photos and videos from your handset to be displayed on your TV or HDMI-compatible monitor.

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