Hands-On Review: D-Link’s MovieNite Streaming Player Not Worth Buying

P1010081Over the weekend I picked up the new D-Link MovieNite streaming media player, a $48 box developed in conjunction with Walmart and sold exclusively in their stores and via the Walmart.com website. Of all the streaming media devices I have reviewed and tested, I don't think I've ever told readers not to buy something, until today. For what is suppose to be a very simple player aimed at a non-techie crowd, this player falls far short in just about every category and is not worth the money.

The player supports 1080p video streaming and has 802.11n WiFi, 10/100 ethernet port, HDMI out and composite video connections. The player only supports content from Netflix, Vudu, YouTube and Pandora and has no support to play back local content via USB and no slot for any kind of memory card. While some of those shortcomings would be just fine for someone who only wants to use it to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix and Vudu, I'm afraid even those simple tasks are painful with this player.

The box supports 802.11n, yet no matter what I tried I could not get it to connect to my WiFi network. Another issue is that the name of WiFi networks are cut off, with my network only showing up as two letters in the name, out of seven. Putting in a call to D-Link's tech support number was no help as they couldn't solve the problem. My router sits ten feet from the box, has ten other devices that can connect to it via WiFi, yet the D-Link player kept telling me it could not connect to the network. D-Link support had me reset the box over and over again, with no luck. They then asked me to wait on hold for at least 30 minutes while they "called headquarters", but I declined to wait. On a side note, I know that most companies these days outsource tech support calls to foreign countries to save money, but trying to diagnose a tech issue, with someone who does not speak English fluently, is never a good user experience.

Hoping my WiFi issues were just a software problem that could be resolved with a firmware update, I tried to update the box under the maintenance option, but was given an error message of "Memory space is not enough for upgrade! Do you want to reboot now?" So if you can't download updates for the box, I'm not sure how D-Link expects to ever add fixes and features? For my last option, I actually broke out the printed three page Quick Install Guide in the box, but that was useless. But I did get a good laugh when step three told me not to plug in an ethernet cable if I wanted to use WiFi as the "on-screen setup wizard will allow you to configure your wireless settings". Now I get what they were saying, but if this box is really targeting non-techie's, step four should not be telling you to plug in the power supply when step three is talking about an on-screen setup wizard.

Giving up on trying to connect the box via WiFi I plugged in an ethernet cable which saw my network right away. Since the box only supports four content services, the remote has dedicated buttons for Netflix, Vudu, YouTube and Pandora. The bad news is that the software interface for this box is slow and buggy. Netflix takes nearly twenty seconds to load and videos take much longer to start up when compared with the Roku or WD TV Live player. D-Link does have a note on their website saying that they have released a product software update that resolves issues with streaming content from Netflix, but they don't say what issues they are fixing and there is no way to force download the update.

To get the update on the box D-Link says to "reboot it by powering it off and then back on, wait for the update message to appear, and select ok." Problem is I don't get that message when I reboot it and I have no way to know if that means I already have the update or not. The entire user-experience with this product was not well thought out and it's a really poor interface. I don't know why this box is so slow, but there is a lot of lag time with the software and the box froze on me twice, forcing me to pull the power plug.

Overall, there is nothing to like about this box and consumers would do far better spending $30 more for a Roku HD. And if 1080p isn't required, you can get a Roku LT for the same price as this box, which will also give you hundreds of content channels, instead of only four. The only advantage D-Link's MovieNite box has over Roku is their support for YouTube, something Roku is still missing for some unknown reason.

While I could understand D-Link and Walmart's desire to want to put out a really cheap streaming box in the market for those who just want to stream Netflix and Vudu, it's really pointless when every connected TV, Blu-ray player and streaming box already has Netflix on it. This box really doesn't fill any void in the market and isn't worth buying.

  • erik

    Or, or, you could spend $30 and get a Sling Adapter through Dish. It gives you the ability to stream your live TV and DVR to your phone, tablet, laptop, PC and more. I love that I have a ton of movies available through the Blockbuster @ Home package, and Dishonline.com is another great streaming site. Lol, it should be fun to watch Wal-Mart overcharge everyone else for movies!

  • xx

    I had no problem setting up mine. It worked right away, and is not slow at all.

  • tagabeach

    mine worked fine and love it…it’s $38 at walmart right now…i think this guy gets paid by ROKU or someone else…bad review

  • Juanito

    I bought two today
    May buy 3 more
    Kids love it

  • well the guy is correct mine work horrible and my wifi i can connect but my wifi connect kept disconnect every two min and i know there nothing wrong with my wifi cause i have roku in my living room that work just fine.

  • Philip Robar

    I just bought one of these a couple of days ago as the Roku 2 XS I bought recently is currently incompatible with my Pioneer receiver. It was $38 at Walmart. My experience was very different from the reviewer’s. I didn’t even bother to read the manual. I just plugged it and followed the on screen directions. WiFi configured correctly via WPS and the unit immediately proceeded to update itself to the latest firmware. After a quick reboot and a pass through all of the simple and easy to change system settings I was good to go. (You’ll need to do this if you’re using HDMI and an A/V receiver to get 5.1 audio working—it defaults to stereo audio.) I’ve only tried Netflix and Pandora so far, but both worked as expected. Interaction via the remote or content loading were quick enough that they aren’t an issue for me. The Android remote app works well. If you’re after the least expensive way to get the best level of Netflix video quality (1080P) and 5.1 audio then it’s the box to get. On the other hand I’d recommend spending a few more dollars and getting a Roku, WD TV Live (if you care about streaming your own content or need an optical audio connection, but don’t want Amazon Instant) or a Blu-ray player (the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 seems to be choice of most reviewers), all of which have more channels, if you can afford it.

  • Stacie

    I loved this review because it beautifully articulated my thoughts about this product. I am having the exact problems as described.

  • Baishta

    Paid by Roku? This review is dead on. I bought one of these pieces of garbage and took it back as soon as walmart opened the next day. I’m glad I didn’t break it first on purpose. It’s a total headache, super buggy and slow. I got a Roku and its like comparing a Ford pinto to a lamborghini. Do not buy this ever the software is useless!!!

  • Jeff

    Junk. Mine is going back tomorrow. Had family over, tried to get on Youtube and the thing would not even startup.

  • jim

    i am going to agree with all of you,tonight my Netflix froze so bad on this dlink playey which I paid 90.00 for it a few months ago,so heres what I have decided ..I tried the app vudu and guess what..no problems at all ..I know your going to say have to buy the movies,true but hey you can own them for the same amount that Netflix charges monthly and no bugs,so Netflix is the real issues and not the dlink player

  • Jennifer

    I just bought one 3 days ago and want to smash it! I thought is was my internet and found out that it’s the dang D-link box. I am out $48 because I tossed out the box and all, once I got it up and running. Mine booted just fine, but now it freezes up all the time and buffers constantly in the middle of my programs. My kids have a playstation 3 and it works perfectly for netflix. I am going today to get a Roku. Losing money on the D-link is worth my sanity. Wish I would have read the reviews BEFORE buying the D-link.

  • TODD

    I bought the D=Link box…was easy to set up…in fact I now have 3 boxes and 2 are wireless..the suystem is fast..if you have Xfinity..but you can use dail-up or a slow system to use it…sounds like the guys problem…one of the boxes I take with me when I travel…No Problems at all I can use my comptuer as a hot spot and jump to any t.v. with simple port plug in.. I am told you can have up to 6 boxes on the same monthly fee…and I have many…I love it..and now I Nevre watch HBO the Sucks and plays the same crap over and over…and now with AREO local tv for local channel streaming ..I am saying good bye to the Big Over Chaging cable companies.. best deal on the market …gone from $158.00 per month to $15.85 all the movies my family can watch and local t.v. with AEREO

  • Wes Douth

    I hate this fn (player???) <<< what a frustrating joke. Every 9 out of 10 tries to start Netflix results in – "were unable to connect you to netflix. Please try again…bla bla bla" after trying to over and over with same message my kid is upset and I want to destroy this POS.
    Every other device (ipad, phone & laptop) will connect instantly (everytime) while this POS says same mess (same room-same settings-reboot-reboot-regarbage).
    BTW- what's with the FAKE + REVIEWERS…for…this…device. Any reviews supporting this garbage are most likely (its software developers) or sales Aholes. Stupid Fks.

  • tusshara

    Easy set-up and works the way it is described. Worth $30 I spent on the refurbished one. I can control my youtube videos directly from my iPhone/iPad…really cool.

  • mother

    i hate my d link runs so slow when it works netflix takes forever to come up then it lags i am getting a different box asap i would not recommend this box to any one

  • Kristopher Herring

    Total POS. Within a month and a half I began having issues connecting to netflix, where says “Try Again” but refuses to actually attempt a second connection without powering the box down and waiting for it to boot up again, prompting a several minute process that usually has to be done 4,5 or 6 times before it will actually connect.

    I’ve worked technical support specifically for home networking in the past and have eliminated my router being an issue and there is no wireless interferance nearby — It’s the box. If you are considering buying this, I would suggest putting a few more $$$ with it to get a model that (hopefully) wouldn’t have these issues.

  • MikeMillz

    Definitely a piece of crap. I have it wired to my router and more than half of the time when I start the device it says not connected. Smh obviously the quality control department dropped the ball.

  • Dan

    It is a streamer not dishnetwork. U put it in the guest room and it works perfectly. Take it to work hotels with wifi. Not too hard to figure out. It is suppose to be simple……da…….

  • kb

    I LOVE my dlink. It only took me 5 minutes to set it up and I never have any problems with it!!

  • Kareem Lawson

    Piece of pure shit…!!!!!!!

  • Sonya

    I have dish network and have been trying for days to get my dlink to work with it and can’t figure it out. I don’t have an hdmi port on the tv and I don’t know if that’s the problem or what. It works great on my flat screen in the livingroom if I unplug the dish from the tv and plug in the dlink. Any help would be great.

  • Sarah Sigle

    D “minus” Link…It often loses the connection, lots of buffering, very long lag time between remote and box, sometimes the bell works…sometimes not….wish I hadn’t purchased…oh yea* n* the problems start after the 90 day in store warranty ends…LOL, it’s a joke on consumers!

  • Billee

    For what it does it can’t be beat. The only problem I had was confusion in my netflix email accounts. (2 addresses) Once that was taken care of I was on like gang busters…IN MY BED…lol

  • Christine

    Bought mine and I can’t even get the darn thing to turn on, a green light is suppose to come on and it’s always yellow..

  • Nonnie

    I bought one for my granddaughter for Christmas. It works great! My son had one and loves his.

    • Nonnie

      I forgot to add, my son has had his for 2 years.