The Perfect Extender

The perfect extender! Is there one to satisfy us all? I doubt it, but based on recent reviews, I think there is lot of potential to improve upon existing designs that are in the marketplace today.

File Format

There are a million and one different ways to encode a video. I have alot of respect for communities that slice and dice files with open source software. However, I do not expected companies to support every container out there. I would like to think they could release a good set of tools that would allow us to convert to proper file formats. It is a compromise but that is the reality of the situation. A few major formats/containers should be supported.

.mts streams from Blu-ray discs

.mkv containers (DivX, H.264, VC-1)

.dvr-ms (the file format Windows Media Center uses, soon to be replaced by .WTV, so any extender should support the new file type too).


That "should" take care of the majority of the file formats out there. SageTV’s extender comes pretty dang close.

Operating System

Obviously it should support whatever program you are working with like Vista or SageTV. Alternatively, I would like to see an alternate boot up environment (like HP’s MediaSmart UI) and have it open sourced. Why not? It sells more hardware doesn’t it? At least have a solid API and active developer community so users can add plug-ins.

Optical Disc

If ripping your media library isn’t your thing, have an optional Blu-ray/DVD drive. Why not? I think a lot of people might be on-board with that and pay for the option. Or make an add-on that folks can buy.

Storage Options

I like the idea of USB ports that would recognize USB hard drives or even cameras. I wouldn’t go as far as HP’s personal drive slot but they are on the right track. If you truly have a headless server, why not be able to use these USB ports to transfer content to your server?


The GUI will obviously be based on the host program you choose. However, the chipset should have no problem rendering the animations. 🙂


  • Low power consumption
  • Quiet
  • Looks good 🙂 We like stylish
  • Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n
  • 1080p output
  • Support for home automation applications

There are no doubt some obvious points I am missing. Given that this could replace an entire rack in a home theater, there must be some other things I am missing here like quality analog outs, HDMI 1.3 advanced audio support, etc.