ZyXEL DMA-2500 review

Price when reviewed

Recent months have seen the market flooded with lookalike media players all vying for a place in your lounge. The allure is simple: rather than enjoying your favourite movies, music and photos crowded around a PC, you can decamp to the lounge and enjoy your media from the comfort of your sofa.

ZyXEL’s DMA-2500 follows the usual glossy black design cues, and while it’s not as cutely diminutive as Western Digital’s WDTV Live, it won’t draw undue attention to itself in a lounge. Look to the rear and there are enough ports and connectors to suit most setups, too. An HDMI socket – albeit one that adheres to the older 1.1 standard – is complemented by S-Video and composite outputs, while a coaxial S/PDIF and stereo RCAs take care of audio. Access to media files, meanwhile, is exclusively via the single USB port or the 10/100 Ethernet port, which allows the DMA-2500 to access media stored on a network.

Zyxel DMA-2500

Fire up the DMA-2500, though, and things rapidly start to go downhill. The interface is as ugly as they come, with heavily pixellated text and sloppy layout. Worse still is the realisation that the menus are aggravatingly sluggish. Our array of high definition video clips all played back from a USB hard drive, but most regularly stuttered and some paused for extended periods while the hardware seemingly struggled to keep up. With no downmixing of DTS audio to the stereo outputs to compound matters, the ZyXEL’s video performance is disappointing.

Turn your attentions to music or photos and the ZyXEL utterly fails to redeem itself. The amateurish menus look dreadful blown up on a big HDTV, and flicking between photos is infuriatingly slow. In its favour, the DMA-2500 handles pretty much every audio file you could possibly throw at it, but trying to navigate back to the file menu often caused the unit to pause for several seconds or become totally unresponsive.

Unlike Asus’ O!PLAY Air HDP-R3 there is support for streaming online services such as YouTube and Live365, but it’s simply not enough to rescue the DMA-2500. The dreadful interface, lacklustre performance and an obscenely high price succeed in only one regard, and that’s to make our current media player of choice, the WDTV Live, look even better value for money.


Display typeN/A
Screen sizeN/A
Resolution1920 x 1080

Software and OS support

Software suppliedN/A
Operating system Windows 7 supported?yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes


Dimensions width186
Dimensions depth114
Dimensions height38
Dimensions186 x 114 x 38mm (WDH)

Audio format support

MP3 supportyes
WMA supportyes
AAC supportyes
OGG supportno
FLAC supportyes
ATRAC supportno
WAV supportyes
ASF supportno
AIFF supportno
Other audio codec supportAC3

Video format support

DivX supportyes
XviD supportyes
H.264 supportyes
WMV-HD supportyes
WMV supportyes
AVI supportyes
MP4 supportyes
Other video codec supportN/A

Ports and communications

Remote control?yes
UPnP media server?no
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportno
802.11g supportno
802.11 draft-n supportno
Ethernet interfaceyes
Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
RCA (phono) outputs2
3.5mm audio jacks0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports1

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