The Linksys KiSS 1600 shares a common feature list with other media players we've reviewed. And with a new price of £200 it's more of a bargain.

Linksys' latest foray in to the world of digital media players, the Linksys KiSS 1600, is actually a product of the Danish media company that Linksys acquired last year. The Linksys KiSS 1600 shares a common feature list with other media players we've reviewed.

The Linksys KiSS 1600 can play a variety of audio and video formats delivered to it across a network. But the Linksys KiSS 1600 shares a common feature list with other media players we've reviewed. It also houses a DVD player, and thus can help reduce clutter from around your TV.

The Linksys KiSS 1600 is designed to pull media across a network via its wired or Wi-Fi connections, but there's a USB 2.0 port for playback from a local source too. The Linksys KiSS 1600 relies on UPnP (universal plug and play), and uses Windows Media Connect or the supplied PC Link software to serve up digital media to your telly.

It offers the best range of AV outputs we've seen on digital media players: HDMI 1.2, Scart-RGB, S-Video, Component and Composite video. On the HD front the Linksys KiSS 1600 supports 720p playback resolutions – including upscaling DVDs to this resolution – but not 1080i. Plus there's support for analogue stereo audio RCA/phonos, SP/DIF and co-ax digital outputs.

Codec support is equally good and covers DVD, WM9 and WM9HD, Mpeg1-4, DivX/XviD, H.264 AVC and Nero Digital. The bundled software includes Nero Recode to help you transcode any other video formats.

In terms of audio, play Ogg Vorbis and AAC-LC files, as well as the usual suspects. And you can access thousands of internet radio stations with the Linksys KiSS 1600 – a feature that's simple to use.

Which is more than can be said for the Linksys KiSS 1600's user interface, which is a bit limited and ponderous to use. Although we found the KiSS easy enough to setup without resorting to the quick start guide, it's a bit harder to actually use. Browsing folders on a Vista PC was slow and confusing at times, and selected video files took a long time to actually play. The absence of visual clues such as thumbnails or album artwork makes it painful.

The Linksys KiSS 1600 also lacks time searching and image controls. Still, at least its firmware is internet upgradeable.

Linksys KiSS 1600: Specs

  • Windows PC, 54B/G Wi-Fi, 10/100 Wired network, TV with HDMI, SCART, composite, component or S-Video inputs
  • Windows PC, 54B/G Wi-Fi, 10/100 Wired network, TV with HDMI, SCART, composite, component or S-Video inputs

OUR VERDICT

The Linksys KiSS 1600 aims to be an all-in-one media solution. It has many plus points – the DVD, good AV connectivity, wide format support - but the inadequate interface is a let-down, which hinders its easy use. Recent reviews. See also: Apple iTunes Plus review and Creative Zen Stone MP3 player.

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