Friday, August 3, 2012

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How the D-Link MovieNite Plus (DSM-312) Streaming Media Player Tops the Roku

We fired the cable company a few months ago....mostly. We stopped the phone and the television services from our provider keeping just the broadband for Internet access. We still watch just as much TV as we ever have and make plenty of phones calls.

How did we do this? We did this by buying streaming media devices for each TV and a similar device for our phones. The primary motivation was the savings (nearly $100 a month!), but there are other benefits as well.

This review is not really about why we made the change, but rather about the devices that made it possible. When we made the change we chose Roku for our streaming devices and have been pleased.  Once we adjusted to our new arrangement I never thought about the hardware again, until Karen asked me if I wanted to try the D-Link MovieNite Plus.

I was hesitant at first because we already had what we needed.  What could another brand possibly do that's different? The hardware is just the medium to get the content to your TV, right? I decided to try it anyways as I love to try new tech products and I have always been pleased with my D-Link gizmos in the past.

The MovieNite Plus is slightly larger than our Roku boxes, but the Rokus are absolutely tiny so the D-Link is still very small. In fact, even though a bit larger than the Roku, it can still fit in the palm of your hand. The remote control is similar in size to the Roku's, but has more controls and is a little better looking. The MovieNite Plus also has a power button, something that the Roku doesn't have.  It's more energy-efficient to be able to turn the box off when not in use.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

Set up was easy as I had expected it to be. If you know your Wi-Fi login information it takes just a few moments. I immediately saw that the MovieNite Plus graphics and text were noticeably sharper and crisper than the Roku's. This really stood out to me because I was not expecting it, I had just assumed that what I had was good, until I saw better. The response time and speed is also markedly better, another area in which I was not expecting to see an improvement.

Once logged in, the home menu is similar to our Roku's with a few content option differences. This I expected as with most (all?) streaming media devices you can customize the media available to you. On the default selection, all the usual content was there, but Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a few others were there by default as well.

Another difference I was not expecting at all was that the menu's within the content providers were not the same. I had always assumed that Netflix was Netflix no matter where you accessed it. I was very wrong. I was so pleasantly surprised to be presented with a choice between regular Netflix and "Netflix Just For Kids" without needing to change any configurations or install additional apps.

The feature that blew me away was the MyDlink app. We own two D-Link wireless cameras and the MovieNite Plus has an app installed by default that allows us to view the camera right on the TV! Not only can I watch them, I can watch them both at the same time on a split screen. I can't even do that on the computer!

Overall I am extremely pleased with the MovieNite Plus. I was not expecting a dramatic difference between my current device and another one and I was very surprised. The MovieNite Plus is faster, sharper, and very nicely configured out of the box. The remote is better featured than the Roku's remote and although the box itself is larger, it is still very small.

The MovieNite Plus is an excellent choice for streaming media and an significant improvement over what we have been using.  You can learn more about this device on  This item retails for $79.99, but is currently available on for $69.95 with Free Super Saver Shipping.  You can also purchase the MovieNite Plus at the D-Link Shop, Best Buy, Circuit City,, Sears, Target, Walmart, and many other major electronics retailers nationwide.

Thank you to D-Link for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon.