Mar 15 2007

News - Netgear Releases News Digital Entertainer HD

Is it an extender for any of the major PVR projects? No? I pronounce this DOA! I have to say it looks like a solid product but without support for a major PVR/media center software package, it just doesn't interest me.

Press Release:

The Digital Entertainer HD automatically discovers HD movies, TV shows, music files, and personal photos on a home network, across multiple computers, and organizes these into a single media library displayed on a TV without the need for media server software running on the computer. Users of the innovative Digital Entertainer HD can play HD movie downloads, including those from BitTorrent™’s new online marketplace, as well as stream HD movies and Internet videos to their TV from Web sites such as YouTube. The Digital Entertainer HD also accesses photos directly from Flickr™ without a computer. It enables music lovers to enjoy an improved audio experience by listening to their iTunes libraries and iPod®s on their home theater system. The Digital Entertainer HD even plays Internet radio directly and can access RSS news feeds and NOAA weather and maps.


Mar 14 2007

News - Asus HDMI/HDCP Video Cards

Hot Hardware has a couple of Asus cards up on the test bench today. Although the 1600Pro and 7600 are your typical mid-range cards in terms of gaming performance, these cards to offer HDMI and HDCP capabilities.

From the article:

ASUS EN7600GT/HTDI/256M/A - At about $200, the EN7600GT/HTDI is a bit pricier than non-HDMI equipped 7600GTs, including Asus' own EN7600GT Silent. Although, the price has come down rapidly over the last few months. While the performance of this card was relatively good, we caution prospective buyers to sure this card is a good fit for their usage model. Gamers should probably look for something a little more powerful as they could easily pick up a much more capable card, such as the Asus EN7950GT, at a similar price. Media Center builders should be on the lookout as well, because some slim-line cases require half height cards, and they might be put off by the noisier fan as well.

Mar 14 2007

News - Hitachi-LG to Exhibit Blu-Ray/HD DVD Drive for PCs at CeBIT

Thank you to Jenny for sending in this article about Hitachi/LG's combo drive for the PC. Ticking in at $1200, they must be targeting folks who have the money to burn and are oblivous that a Xbox360 HD DVD add on is under 200 and a Blu-ray burner fo ra PC is only $700.

From the article:

The drive dubbed GGW-H10N “Super Multi Blue” drive can read, record, or re-write CDs and DVDs (10x speed for DVD±R, 8x for DVD±RW, 6x/8x for DVD±R DL) as well as playback, read and record single and dual-layer Blu-ray discs (4x or 3.5x speed). Moreover, it has the capabilities to playback HD DVDs. The drive is said to make to the shelves in May for an expected price of $1200.

Mar 14 2007

News - Avermedia Launches New HD And Analog Combo PCI Express TV Tuner

MILPITAS, CA - (March 13, 2007) – AVerMedia® Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of digital multimedia and presentation technology, announced today the release of the AVerTV Combo PCIe High Definition and Analog PCI Express TV Tuner. Utilizing the latest component technologies, the new AVerTV Combo PCIe is the perfect TV Tuner solution for desktops with separate Analog and ATSC/QAM tuners on one PCI Express card. Certified for Windows XP, XP Media Center Edition 2005 and Windows Vista Premium Certified 32/64 bit, this new TV Tuner will take PC-TV viewing to the next level.

The AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCIe is a pure PCI Express x1 Low-Profile TV Tuner featuring combo High Definition and Analog TV Tuners. The PCI Express Low-Profile form factor is the perfect solution for the home media / entertainment center. Complete with an ATSC and Unencrypted “Clear” QAM capable TV Tuner, users can watch ATSC TV both Over–the-Air, or through a standard coaxial cable for Unencrypted Digital Cable content. Featuring a World-Wide Analog TV Tuner with advanced 3D Y/C Comb Filter with Ghost Reduction, as well as hardware compression, the AVerTV Combo PCIe enables users to watch/record both crystal clear Analog and High Definition TV on their desktop PC using Windows Media Center or AVer MediaCenter Application.

“The new AVerTV Combo PCIe provides an Analog and Digital TV Tuner solution in a new PCI Express form factor, turning your PC into a High Definition multimedia entertainment center,” says Felix Kolotinsky, Product Manager for AVerMedia Technologies, Inc. “The additional Unencrypted ‘Clear’ QAM capabilities allows for HD content viewing from both an Over-the-Air Antenna as well as Unencrypted ‘Clear’ HD content through Digital Cable. Combined with extensive PVR capabilities, users can enjoy exceptional TV entertainment virtually anytime.”

Pricing and Availability
The AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCIe (Media Center Upgrade Kit) including Windows Media Center Remote Control and Receiver is available now for $119.99 MSRP. AVer MediaCenter software including QAM capabilities is currently available for download from AVerMedia’s website. For more information about any of AVerMedia’s other digital multimedia products, visit www.avermedia-usa.com or call AVerMedia at (408) 263-3828.

Mar 13 2007

News - Recommended Reading by John

John has a couple of articles he passed my way this morning. Both have to deal with the storage systems. We really wouldn't have this type of storage problem if you guys and gals would quit recording American Idol in HD.

Storage Market Spins Out Of Control:

The market for external disk storage systems was up $272m in the fourth quarter of 2006 to $4.8bn. In just the fourth quarter the total disk storage market grew by 4.9 per cent to $6.9bn from the same period last year. The total storage capacity shipped last year was 1, 030 petabytes, an increase of 48.5 per cent.

NEC warms up unlaunched storage grid

This HYDRA's talents don't end there. NEC also claims the system, if geographically spread, will do away with the need for a disaster recovery system.

NEC says the product is aimed at medium to very large data centres. It will ship in the second half of 2007.

I have seen some pretty hefty HTPC setups over my years. I pretty sure one or two would qualify as a medium data center.

Mar 13 2007

News - New Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 4000 launches at CeBit

tvsquad has word that Hauppauge has a new tuner out that is capable of receiving all UK TV broadcast formats.

From the article:

It's capable of receiving all UK TV broadcast formats, including analog, Freeview digital, satellite and High Definition (HD) satellite.

It should be available mid-March, at around £180, and comes in PCI format.

The card is packed with the usual Hauppauge features, and will undoubtedly drop in price as the year rolls on -- but you should expect this kind of card to be the standard for a PC-based TV tuner/PVR in the UK in the very near future.


Mar 12 2007

News - ATi RV610 Series & Performance

I noticed VRZone has specs of the upcoming mid to budget range cards from AMD. While the 3D Mark numbers look bad, the fact that they will have a TDP of 35W and have hardware assisted H.264 is a good sign for HTPC enthusiasts. Hopefully we can get our hands on a couple of these and test performance.

From the article:

Mar 09 2007

News - CableCard for Windows Media Center finally arrives

This is all for Jennyfur in our forums who I'm sure will be ecstatic to see. I say that with a grain of salt, as this isn't the first cable-card system we've seen "demo'd," so let's just wait & see if it ever sees the light of day.

Exceptional Innovation is demonstrating CableCard support in Windows Vista at the Electronic Home Expo. CE Pro reports that Exceptional Innovation has a demo unit consisting of a Sony XL3 Media Center PC and 1080p Sony Bravia TV. 

Read the rest here . 

Mar 03 2007

News - Cooler Master CM Media 280 Convertible HTPC Case

cooler.jpgMy Coolermaster experience of years gone by has left a VERY sour taste in my mouth. In fact, anything with proprietary PSUs have been scratched of my possible list of purchases. The 280 seems to do away with a lot of my old gripes with large fans, standard PSU and a MCE compatible remote system.

From the article:

This case looks right at home in my home theater rack, and there is not much more I can ask for in a home theater PC case. While my use of it is for a home theater system, that should not stop you from using the CM Media 280 as a normal system case! If you want to place this on the floor, the mid-tower configuration works as well as the HTPC configuration, and the display could be used to provide business related information during those "work" sessions.

There are a few minor issues with the software and the case. The softwar
e could simply do with some refinements, and perhaps Cooler Master will provide updates to keep the software up to date and fully functional. The biggest issue I have with the case is that the optical and floppy drive bay doors scrape when you open them. Not a big deal, and this could be related to the pre-production nature of the sample, but the front USB and dual 5.25" drive bay covers do not scrape at all.

Mar 03 2007

News - Zalman HD160XT HTPC Enclosure Review

Zalman, long known for their cooling supplies, has taken the HTPC market by storm with their latest cases. Of course, they appear to from good heritage ;). The HD160XT is the grand daddy in Zalman's lineup and sports a 7" touchscreen, MCE compatible remote, card reader, and a nice array of media buttons on the front. Although most HTPC case reviews say they will fit into any entertainment center looks wise, I think this particular case actually fits the bill.

Regarding the LCD, I have I really have no experience with this particular model. It looks to have decent functional software. I clearly need to get one of these in to test out.

From the review:

In a chassis like the HD160XT, air flow isn't a problem for the components. The HD160XT has 2 x 80mm fans mounted to the back inside of the chassis, 1 x 80mm attached to the bottom just behind the 5.25 drive pays, and 1 x 80mm fan installed inside the hard drive bay against the chassis wall. All of these fans are situated in such a way that air flow immediately gets to the warmest components inside the system. There is an extra fan port in the back left chassis wall if you feel the need to install another 80mm of choice. And if this isn't enough cooling for you, the case lid has an adjustable and removable vent plate located right over the 5.25 bay and internal bottom 80mm fan to increase air flow.

 Picture taken from Zalman's website.


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