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Introduction

Updated 6/17/2008: Added D-Link products in closing

D-Link DPG-1200 PC-on-TV

At a Glance
Product D-Link PC-on-TV (DPG-1200)
Summary Remotely displays your Windows PC desktop on a TV via wired or wireless network connection
Pros • Easy way to get your PC displayed on your TV
• No video / audio codec hassles
• Relatively inexpensive
• No fan, no noise
Cons • Picture breakup with full-screen video
• Windows only
• Doesn't display DirectX apps

When the High definition DVD format war was finally won by Blu-Ray, many assumed that with the uncertainty out of the market and consumers would quickly start migrating to the new HD standard. But sometimes the market has other ideas. Consumers are still not moving over, and sales may even be dropping. Instead of a physical disk, perhaps consumers want video delivery over the Internet. You can just put a little set-top box in your living room and play back all of your content, both local and remote.

I've tried a lot of these types of boxes, but I always have trouble getting them to recognize everything in my library—there are just too many video types in use. And typically you can't update them with additional video codecs. One strategy to handle these format issues is to push the hard work off to a full-fledged PC where the audio and video decoding takes place.

That's the strategy taken by D-Link with a new DPG-1200 "PC-on-TV" device that does all of the audio/video decoding on your PC and mirrors the result back to your TV. D-Link advertises, "If it's on your PC it's on your TV". Note that this isn't a Windows Media Extender like other devices on the market. It's more like a remote desktop projector for your PC.

The Windows-only device (Vista, XP SP2, or 2000 SP4) operates either wirelessly over an 802.11b/g connection or over a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet connection and outputs a video signal at up to 720p resolution. Although the PC-on-TV technically handles HD, in reality it can't be compared to true high definition video, since when displaying video, D-Link drops the output resolution to 720p x 576p. Also note that any application that uses DirectX won't work with this box. But in this review, I'll check it out to see just how well the PC-on-TV lives up to its slogan.

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