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Digital Media Players: Actiontec and Prismiq

In the last few years, the typical living room has transformed itself into a true entertainment center. Gaming consoles, home theater systems, PVRs (Personal Video Recorder), and living room computers are present in many homes. Moreover, an operating system (Windows XP Media Center Edition) has even been put on the market to suit this shift. However, we always want more out of products; we can’t content ourselves with a gaming console that only serves to play games.


Approx. USD $199

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Approx. USD $199

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Today’s devices have to be able to accomplish multiple tasks (i.e. the PS2 can also be used as a DVD/CD Player). Therefore, electrical appliances since as Digital Media Players have been created. With these objects, the meaning of “entertainment center” has taken a whole new meaning; they enable a person to stream media stored on a specific computer onto a television or an audio system. In other words, a Digital Media Player lets you network your entertainment center.

That being said, today we present to you two Digital Media Players courtesy of Actiontec and Prismiq and battle them out to see both their strengths and weaknesses. Let the fight begin!

Round 1: The Units

I will start by presenting each unit. Let’s start with Actiontec’s offering.

The Actiontec Wireless Digital Media Player package’s features the unit itself, a remote control (which we shall discuss later), a power cord, an 11 Mbps wireless PC card, a triple RCA A/V cable, an S-Video cable, a quick start guide, two AAA batteries for the remote, and a software CD. As for the unit itself, it is of a slick and stylish silver color. With dimensions of 9" x 1.25" x 6”, it snuggles quite easily in any room. This device which weights 4.05 lbs is mostly made out of metal. Therefore, when it is in your hands it feels and looks robust; it sure doesn’t leave you with the feeling that it will break at the slightest impact.

In front of the unit, we can find a remote IR receiver and three LED indicators: Power, 10/100 (wired connection), and Link/Activity (wireless connection). On its left side, we can find a wireless slot (CardBus/PCMCIA card slot). As for the rear of the unit, we can see the following connections:

- 1 Power Port
- 110/100 Mbps (Auto-sensing and auto-crossover) Ethernet RJ-45

- Audio Out Ports
S/P DIF (RCA and Optical) 1 Left Channel (RCA)
1 Right Channel (RCA)

- Video Out Ports
1 Composite Video (RCA) 1 S-Video
1 Component Video (RCA x3) 1 DVI connector

That’s sure is a handful of connections! With this digital media player, you are sure that you will be able to connect it to any television, computer (or network) or sound system. I can proudly say that the first time I saw this device I was both quite amazed and surprised to see such flexibility.

Now let’s examine Prismiq’s offering.

This company’s WDMP package is composed of the main unit, a remote control (we shall also discuss later), two AAA batteries for the remote; user’s and setup guides, a quick start card, an Ethernet cable, a triple RCA A/V cable, an S-Video cable, and a power adapter. In addition to this, you can also purchase a wireless keyboard (which has great functionality and will also be put to the test along with the remotes). The unit itself is made mainly of thick dark plastic and measures 9" x 1.5" x 5.25" (W x H x D). It’s a tad taller than the model from Actiontec. However, it only weights 1.5 lbs; when you hold it, it practically feels like there is nothing in your hands. Therefore, I did tend to handle this device a bit more carefully. I’d also like to say that although this unit is still somewhat stylish, it doesn’t looks as good as the DMP011000-01 (Actiontec’s model) in the living room or on top of a TV.

As for its rear we can find the following connections:

- 1 S-video
- 1 composite video
- 1 S/PDIF
- 2 RCA audio (L/R stereo)
- 1 Ethernet interface, 10/100Base
- 1 CardBus/PCMCIA card slot

As you most certainly noticed, the Prismiq Media Player is not as garnished as the DMP011000-01. Quite frankly, I was kind of disappointed when I saw so few possibilities. Nevertheless, this unit was launched in 2002 (unlike Actiontec’s device which is fairly new) and still offers the basic needed connectivity.

Now that we’ve examined both units and their package, we can say that Actiontec wins Round 1. The wireless card in the package is a plus for Actiontec, even though Prismiq offers higher quality guides and an Ethernet wire. In addition, the DMP011000-01 is more stylish and offers a better output interface. In terms of connectivity Prismiq might offer what you need, but Actiontec gives not only is necessary: it gives u a whole lot more!