KISS pioneered the hard disc recording market years before todays endless list of similar devices were evern conceived.
The DP-558 promises a lot - networked device, CD, DVD, DivX player, hard disk recorder, online EPG, remote scheduling and recording, web radio, the list goes on.
It's unfortunate then that a device with so much promise fails to deliver on so many fronts.
As a hard disc recorder it is second to none. Recording in VOB format the quality is superb, though this can be set in the options to vary the quality and thus the space required. This though is an unusual feature as VOB MPEG2 format is the most space consuming format of all and why MPEG4 was not chosen instead is a mystery.
Time shift recording 'Pausing live tv' is also a doddle; simply hit the pause button and the recorder clicks in. This great little feature though is c anceled out by the fact that the pause button and play button are one and the same and as such playing a DVD by hitting the play button actually results in you pausing and thus recording your current channel.
Playing media from the hard disc is thankfully a fairly straight forward issue. The main menu makes searching and viewing the contents of your drive easy. Playing a file is equally easy though the system does sometimes crash mid play and with no bookmark feature the tedious task of searching for the spot you left the movie at can be even more frustrating.
More curious though is the machines inconsistant inability to play DVD discs. Marketed as a machine that plays almost any media type I found it very frustrating being unable to play something as simple as a DVD - either original or DVD+/-R often I would give up after several attempts only to have the machine play the same disc perfectly at a later time. More curious is the machines insistance that you have a disc in the drawer when it is in fact empty.
Networking the device is thankfully a superb feature that works well. Installing the provided software on your home networked PC and you can browse it's contents from the DP-558 and play movies, pictures, or music very efficiently.
Going the other way you can browse the machines drive from your home PC using FTP via your normal web browser. This ease though was counterballanced by the slowness of the connection.
Despite fiddling with the connection parameters the best I could do was transfer a 600MB DivX movie either to or from the machine in around 2 hours! Aditionally organising the content of the machine is only avalable by transferring the contents to your PC first as moving between folders on the device itself is not possible.
Other features worthy of note are the epg 'electronoc program guide' which is a doddle to use and far better than most I have seen. Additionally the web radio and weather features are a bit gimmicky but work well nonetheless.
Ultimately this is a device that does it all - allbeit a little slow and cumbersome.
There are some excellent features hidden amongst some frustrating bugs. I would guess that as the market matures better devices will find their way to he market and without some serious thinking from the guys at KISS they are likely to leave this pioneering company behind.