Back in September, together with the launch of the HTC Desire HD and Desire Z, HTC has also announced a small but yet useful accessory - the HTC Media Link. Since the Desire HD and Desire Z will support DLNA, HTC has also noticed that DLNA is yet not widely available in the consumer electronic industry - namely TV sets. DLNA - which was formed in 2003 and stands for Digital Living Network Alliance - is a non-profit organization comprising more than 250 member companies. Alliance members have stated the common goal of using standards-based technology to make it easier for consumers to use, share and enjoy their digital photos, music and videos through wired and wireless networks.
The HTC Media Link is a small WiFi receiver (71.5 x 45 x 8 mm) which connects to any TV set using a HDMI 720p connection. The HTC Media Link package comes with the media receiver, a HDMI cable, a USB to micro USB cable, a power adaptor and a user guide.
On the back, the Media Link features a HDMI connector which connects to a TV set as well as a micro USB connector which connects to a power socket. On the front is a small power switch with a LED which shows the status of the Media Link.
The HTC Media Link requires a TV set with HDMI input. If the TV set also features a USB port, this port can be even used to power the Media Link.
The HTC Media Link can be used in two modes: stand-alone or as part or a WiFi network and supports WiFi b/g/n networks at either 2.4 GHz or WiFi n at 5 GHz. Initially, the Media Link is preconfigured to be used in the stand-alone WiFi b/g/n mode and any DLNA-enabled device can wirelessly connect to the device. However, the Media Link can be also used through an existing WLAN network and it can be either configured through a HTC Android application, preinstalled on the HTC Desire HD and HTC Desire Z or from any other PC or smartphone through a web interface.
Doesn't matter if it is used stand-alone or within an existing WiFi network - as soon as it is connected and turned on, the Media Link is ready to receive music, photo and video streams and plays the received content on the connected TV set. It supports 3GP, WMV, MPEG4, H263, H264 and xVid video files; AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-WB, MP3 and WMA audio files and GIF, JPEG and BMP photos.
The HTC Media Link offers a hassle-free setup and allows users to easily stream content from a PC or mobile device to a TV-set which might not feature DLNA support. The setup is easy and straight forward and doesn't requires any special network or AV knowledge. Right after the Media Link was connected to the flat screen and tuned on, I immediately found the WiFi SSID, broadcasted by the box and from there I was able to stream MP3, photos and even HD videos to the TV set. And while the HTC Media Link was announced as an accessory for the DLNA-enabled HTC Desire HD and Desire Z, in the tests it worked with every DLNA enabled device. For instance it allows to stream content from any Windows 7 PC since DLNA is part of Windows 7 but it also worked fine with the LG Optimus 7, the first and so far only Windows Phone 7 smartphone which comes with DLNA.
The HTC Media Link is even small enough to be carried on travelling, for instance to be used in hotels to playback videos on the hotel TV set instead.
There's only one thing I was missing: a 3.5 mm stereo connector which allows to connect the Media Link to a stereo. However, this is the only drawback of an otherwise great accessory.
While the HTC Media Link was announced back in September, yet it's neither available nor listed on the HTC website. However, it was said to be available anytime within Q4-2010 while a price is yet not announced.
Cheers ~ Arne