Home entertainment company GlideTV on Tuesday announced a new device the company says combines the functionality of a keyboard, mouse, and AV remote all rolled into one.
The GlideTV Navigator, as it's being called, won the 2009 Best of Innovations Award at CES earlier this year. It includes a remote, charging station, USB wireless receiver, and works with Windows, Mac, Sony's PlayStation 3 console, and any set-top box that supports standard mouse and keyboard HID devices, the company said.
"Up to now, consumes who wanted to connect a computer to the TV to take advantage of digital content had to bring office equipment to their living room, making the experience bulky and cumbersome," said Chris Painter, President and founder. "With the Navigator, GlideTV brings simplicity to accessing internet-based entertainment and ushers in a new era for computing in the living room."
Some of the Navigator's features include backlit AV buttons, dedicated Esc, Enter, Back, and Function keys, an on-screen keyboard (Windows only), and rechargeable battery. GlideTV says its remote will work with all the media apps you're used to using, including Windows Media Center, iTunes, Boxee, SageTV, Firefox, and more.
In the small form factor graphics market, Nvidia’s Ion has been stealing the headlines lately, but it turns out VIA might be gearing up to give them a run for their money. Built on a new standard known as “Pico-ITXe”, the company has released their EPIA-P710, which claims to be capable of full 1080p video playback using nothing more than passive cooling. Of course we were skeptical at first, but they have finally backed up their claims by posting a short clip on YouTube showing the board in action.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this new part is how full featured it is given the size. It sports 3 USB 2.0 ports, has both SATA and IDE, as well as Gigabit Ethernet support. As you might expect, the current build is pared up with a VIA C7 1.0 GHz processor, but apparently this is still more than enough to handle anything the VX855 Media System Processor can’t handle video wise.
Seagate announced the release of their new FreeAgent Theater+™ HD Media Player in a press release today. With a modest prices increase over the previous version--key features include 1080p HD, Dolby DTS, HDMI, network support, and new file-format compatibility.
The FreeAgent Theatre provides a turnkey solution to media center PCs, making it easy to explore media in your living room. The new device features the docking system developed for FreeAgent drives as well as two additional USB ports to attach any storage device to the player. Further, when attached to the network it can pull content from file shares, NAS devices, and the internet.
The new player is available immediately from Seagate.com and online retailers. To find a complete listing of features and specifications visit Seagate.com.
Case manufacturer HD Plex looks to make noisy HTPC enclosures a thing of the past, as the company just announced a new HTPC case devoid of any fans. Instead, the all-aluminum chassis relies on heatpipes to get the cooling job done.
"We set out to create a family of products that look good when combined with high-end A/V equipment, and are silent and affordable," said Larry Liu, CEO of HD Plex. "We ended up accomplishing our goals. Our new line of H-series HTPC enclosures combine skillful engineering with an eye for minimalism design, heatpipe cooling for silent operation, and all at a price piont competitive with the current market."
HD Plex says its fanless case comes in three different sizes and variations, including mATX (H10), mini-ITX (H5), and the H3, which the company claims is the "smallest ever heatpipe cooled enclosure." All three models include an LGA775 heatsink and heatpipe kit and an anti-vibration mounting kit for 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives, along with an optional chipset cooling kit sold separately.
Thanks to a prominently featured 24-inch touchscreen, the Medion X9613 HTPC promises to be a welcome addition to anyone’s home theater.
The X9613, which has currently only been announced for Europe, will come with Windows 7, a Core 2 Quad Q9000 processor, Nvidia GT240M graphics, 4GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive and a second Slideshow monitor (speculated to be the small screen in the middle of the sensor bar). All in all, pretty generous stats for an all-in-one.
The expected price is anywhere from $2,100 to $2,700 – but that’s after conversion. No idea if/when it’ll be made available to us here in the states. If you’re interested in seeing more though, check out a video if it in action here.
Finnish modder Jani Pönkkö scores major geeks points, both for holding onto a 25-year-old cellphone and for breathing new life into the mobile monstrosity by modding it into an HTPC.
Pönkkö started off with the handset, installing LEDs, a WiFi card, a soundcard, a speaker, and the crème de la crème - a 128 x 182 OLED display.
Inside the briefcase-sized Mobira Talkman's base, Pönkkö managed to cram a 3.5-inch form factor motherboard, Intel T5500 Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of DDR2 notebook memory, and a 32GB SSD. The modded cellphone also boasts a DVI port and USB hub.
Maingear has just unveiled its Axess HD Gamer, a low-profile HTPC rig that manages to muscle a fully fledged gaming PC into a low profile design.
"The Axess HD Gamer was conceived to deliver unsurpassed gaming performance fused with advanced media center capabilities all contained within a low profile case, making the perfect cornerstone for any home theater environment," said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear.
The base configuration includes an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 3GB of triple channel DDR3-1333MHz memory, an Asus Rampage II Gene X58 mATX motherboard, two Nvidia GeForce 9800GT videocards with 1GB of GDDR3 per card, 500GB hard drive, 16X DVD reader, Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, and a Phantom Lapboard.
If that's not powerful enough, several upgrades are available, some of which include an Intel Core i7 975 processor, 12GB of memory, Blu-ray drive, a pair of Intel X-25M SSDs, and more.
Stop surfing the internet for a minute (we know, a tall order) and go get your last cable or satellite TV bill. Back? Good. Now skim to the bottom and look at the total amount of money you paid for TV last month. Do you feel like you got a reasonable amount of entertainment for that $60, $80, or even $100-plus? Are you happy about the money you spend for the privilege of watching TV? We’re not. The vast majority of TV we watch is available for free, over the air. Sure, we’ll occasionally watch an episode of Flight of the Conchords on HBO or a documentary on Discovery, but most of the TV we watch is on one of the big over-the-air networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, the CW, and NBC. So we started looking for alternatives.
It turns out that the vast majority of new TV shows are available online, either as part of an ad-driven website like Hulu or TV.com, or available for sale on iTunes or Amazon’s Unbox service. However, having a PC in the living room has traditionally sucked. After all, you don’t want to hear a big, noisy PC when you’re enjoying a movie or a TV show, and using a mouse and keyboard as the primary interface just doesn’t cut it when you’re kicking back on the couch. But times have changed. These days, it’s easy to build a PC that’s quiet enough to be virtually unheard, yet powerful enough to play all the high-definition video that’s currently available.
And making the proposition even more appealing, there are software frontends like Boxee and the new Hulu Desktop that let you harness all that hardware power in an easy-to-use, remote-friendly interface that combines the massive library of streaming video on the web with the DRM-free content you rip from discs or purchase legally on the web. We’ll introduce you to a couple of the options, then help you configure our favorite. By combining a few hundred bucks’ worth of hardware with a free software app and your broadband connection, you can reduce the money you spend on entertainment from $100 a month to $100 a year.
Sorry, we couldn’t resist the headline. For the record: We’re not predicting the early demise of AMD’s new Live Home Cinema reference platform (code-named Maui). AMD sent us a sample build several months ago, but we wanted to live with it for a while before publishing our thoughts on the design.
We’re big fans of home-theater PCs, especially the build-it-yourself variety (be sure and check out the May issue of Maximum PC for Will Smith’s terrific how-to guide to building one of your own). If AMD can resolve one major issue, we think Maui will be the best home-theater PC platform on the market.
With a home-theater PC, you can stream all manner of Hollywood content for free (from websites such as Hulu) or for a small fee (from online stores such as iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon’s Unbox). While you can accomplish the same thing with a media center extender and any PC equipped with a version of Windows that includes Windows Media Center, a dedicated HTPC leaves that other machine available for other tasks. A home-theater PC with a Blu-ray drive can play HD movies, too, but comparing home-theater PCs to Blu-ray disc players—which are becoming increasingly PC-like—is more problematic. We’ll get to that soon enough; for now, let’s take a detailed look at AMD’s Live Home Cinema platform.
While HD-DVD fell to Blu-ray years ago, it looks like Kinetic is still looking to push an HTPC that supports the format.
Though, that may be a bit unfair. The Kinetic HD:Hub has a drive in it that supports not only HD-DVD, but Blu-ray as well (keep in mind though, if you’re looking to pick up some leftover HD-DVD movies at liquidation prices, you’ll actually have the means to watch them!). And under the hood of this beast you’ll find an Intel Core i7 processor, up to four TV tuners, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, and a creative X-Fi Titanium sound card.