Dune HD - CES 2012
Anyone who's read our reviews of the Dune HD media streamers, know that they provide an excellent local media playback experience but there are some gaps around 3D Blu-ray and video processing where it would be great to see some improvement. Fortunately both of these will be addressed when the Dune HD Pro (click through for a gallery and further discussion) ships because it is based around Sigma Designs 8910 flagship system on a chip (SOC) which includes HDMI 1.4 and VXP. Unfortunately due to some issues around the availability of the 8910 the actual date for delivering the Pro has slipped from March to June/July (as a best guess). This delay should not impact the release of VUDU for Dune HD players as the port is complete and it is intended for all models.
The Pro is targeted at high end/custom installs and priced accordingly at around $2000 for the main (center) module. Two companion modules providing Blu-ray optical and additional hard drive slots will be offered alongside, but their prices have not been finalized yet and Dune HD was unable to confirm whether the larger (bottom) module will be available in the US (it may be EU only). Because of the price point it would be easy to dismiss the delay as inconsequential to the mainstream buyer, but it will in fact have a cascading affect on the availability of updated down market models as well as slowing the release of Dune HD's updated UI.
I didn't schedule anything with Sigma Designs before CES, so this provided some impetus to track them down and seem if they could demo VXP or provide some answers around what was going on (or wrong) with the 8910. Unfortunately when I found them they couldn't (or wouldn't in the case of the 8910) provide what I was looking for, but I did have an excellent discussion with one of their VXP experts about the technology, where it is currently used, and the problems it addresses - all of which was very promising.