|At a Glance|
|Product||Linksys Media Center Extender with DVD (DMA2200)|
|Summary||"Version II" Windows Vista Media Extender with HD support|
|Pros|| HDMI Port |
1080p HD Support
Dual-band draft 802.11n wireless
Upscaling DVD player
|Cons|| Limited audio and video format support
Windows Vista only
Fonts too small for across room viewing
Every time I review a network multimedia player, I get feedback suggesting
that I check out what the Microsoft Media Center can do. I've always been a bit
hesitant, because I've never been a fan of using a noisy,
But in this review, I'm going to check out one of the "Version II"
One of the first companies to release a Version II extender
is Linksys. Linksys markets two versions of their extender, one with a
Visually, if you ignore the three 802.11n antennas, the 2200 doesn't look much different then a compact DVD player. It is designed to fit right into your entertainment center. The back panel of the device (Figure 1) shows the various connections that the device supports.
Figure 1: Back Panel
802.11n is designed to give you the bandwidth you need for streaming
One curious connector is a USB 2.0 port that is documented as being "for service only", but was likely originally intended for external storage. You'll also note the absence of a fan vent. In use, the device is fanless and silent. While running it draws around 12 W, and none when off. It completely shuts down.
Setting the 2200 up was fairly straightforward. Figure 2 shows the initial setup screen on my TV after I plugged everything in and powered it up. (Please excuse the quality of the user interface screen shots. I had to do a standard-definition capture and the fonts are pretty small.)
Figure 2: Initial Setup
Since I have Ethernet support in my entertainment center, I first set the 2200 up using a wired connection. Figure 3 shows the setup screen where a network type selection can be made.
Figure 3: Network Setup
A few screens later, I was given a unique "Setup Key" that I used to pair the extender with Windows Media Center, running on a Vista laptop (Core 2 Duo, 1.73 Ghz, 1Gig RAM, Home Premium Version) that Linksys was kind enough to supply me with. Once I paired the two up, I was ready to explore. The whole setup took around 10 minutes, start to finish.
I'll note here, however, that one morning when I turned the 2200 on, it acted as
if it had never been set up. I had to go through the whole initialization and
"pairing" process again. Measuring the time it took from