If you liked D-Link's easy-to-use MovieMate streaming-media player but were hankering for a bit more content, the company will soon be launching a beefed-up version called MovieNite Plus. Though at $80 it costs a bit more than the current MovieMate—which sells for $49 at Walmart—the Plus version has access to a lot more apps and channels, and is still considerably less expensive than D-Link's flagship streaming player, the $170 Boxee Box.
Like the MovieMate, the MovieMate Plus (DSM-312) can stream TV shows and movies from Netflix and Vudu, get videos from YouTube, stream music from Pandora, and display photos on Picasa. But the Plus also gives you access to more than 130 apps and channels, including photos from Flickr and streaming music from Rhapsody, and lets you interact with social-media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Hulu Plus will be added shortly after launch, the company says.
Like many of its competitors, such as Apple's revamped Apple TV and some newer Roku 2 devices, the small, squarish box supports 1080p video and 5.1-channel audio, and includes an HDMI out as well as composite audio-video outputs for connecting to older TVs. You can tap into your home network using either a wired Ethernet connection or the player's built-in Wi-Fi.
The included infrared remote control has one-click dedicated buttons for several of the services, including Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, and YouTube. You can also download an app that lets you use an iPhone or Android smart phone as a remote.
Unlike the current MovieMate, which is available only at Walmart, the MovieNite Plus will be available at several online and brick-and-mortar retail locations. And Amazon.com is currently taking pre-orders; the site indicates the player will be available July 4th.
—James K. Willcox