When Asus first showed off the Eee Keyboard , no one actually expected it to ship. It was more an exercise in engineering than a product people would buy. But after a number of delays, the Eee Keybaord is on its way to shipping later this month. Asus really promises to ship it this time, and we're willing to believe them for now.
The Eee Keybard is basically a netbook's chipset in a keyboard form factor. There is an integrated 5-inch 480x800 resolution capacitive touchscreen display in place of the number pad. It has an Atom N270 and runs Windows XP. Though, Asus has added a skin to XP making it more finger-friendly. Users will also find 1GB of RAM and the option for either 16 or 32GB SSDs. The real star here is the addition of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) for wireless audio and video. The Eee Keyboard will come with a small receiver to plug into a TV or monitor allowing the signal to be streamed from the safety of the couch.
In its original form, the Eee Keyboard didn't make much sense for anything. With the UWB technology, it has at least a shot at being a passable media center PC. The price is expected to be between $400 and $600. Anyone going to take one of these for a spin?
Leave it to Brando to really talk up a product. The “Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard” is apparently pretty awesome if you take their word for it. It has 26 “dazzling” LEDs backlighting the keyboard. As if that wasn’t enough to sell you, it is designed to be easy to carry; by being small apparently. Then there’s the “notebook trackpad”. If you still have doubts, just remember this: it also has a laser pointer. How can they power all this awesome? Well the Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard has a “Built-in rechargeable more staying power lithium-ion battery”.
In all seriousness though, it doesn’t look like a terrible solution for a media center PC controller. The keyboard layout looks a bit awkward with the trackpad shifting the keys to the left. It uses a standard 2.4GHz wireless radio with a 30 meter range. The price is a little steep at $92. That’s maybe too much until you consider that you get “iPhone style craft, classic style” according to Brando. Get it here, if you wish.
The chaps at PiixL, a London-based startup, announced on Saturday a crazy thin home theater PC (HTPC) called the EdgeCenter 3770. But unlike other space-saving HTPC setups, this one's designed to be mounted directly behind any flat screen TV with a VESA mounting interface and a screen size between 37 to 70 inches.
That means you can hide your HTPC out of sight rather than taking up a shelf in your home theater's rack. And though it measures just 30mm thick, the base model EdgeCenter 3770 supports up to two TV tuners, an Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processor, integrated Nvidia 9300 graphics, up to 4GB of ultra low profile DDR2 RAM, up to 2TB of hard drive space, optional 7.1 audio, an optional Blu-ray reader/writer, and Windows 7 Ultimate in either 32-bit or 64-bit form.
There's also a couple of higher-end configurations, like the EdgeCenter 3770 Maxxed Up Edition. This one boasts two Intel Xeon processors, up to a staggering 24GB of DDR3 memory, and videocard options ranging from the ATI HD 4670 on up to the HD 5850 (the 5850 negates the ability to mount the EdgeCenter on a 500x400 VESA pattern).
PiixL's new EdgeCenter models are available now starting at about $3,650 on the low end, and about $8,050 for the dual-Xeon configuration.
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.
We've seen TV tuners added to PCs before -- not the least of which includes AMD/ATI's once immensely popular All-in-Wonder series -- but Bristol takes it a step further and has added a complete PC to a TV for the ultimate hybrid.
The 22-inch and 32-inch ViewSurfer PC/TVs come with a FreeView tuner and an integrated netbook-esque PC complete with an Intel Atom processor, a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of memory, four USB ports, Ethernet, and Windows XP. It also comes with an air mouse and wireless keybaord.
"This is a full digital television set," said Paul Fellows, Brisol Interactive's chief executive officer. "The red button works, and the TV is completely independent of the PC functions. You don't have to be in Windows to watch TV."
Bristol plans to launch the ViewSurfer PCs in October with the 22-inch model priced at less than £500, or about $815 USD. No word yet on how much the 32-inch model will run.
S1Digital announced recently that they’ve completely redesigned a Media Center HTPC, starting from square one.
The new Media Center features a custom designed, “living room friendly” case primarily cooled by heat pipes. But, more importantly there’s some impressive hardware under the hood. It’ll feature up to four CableCARD HDTV or two ATSC/QAM and NTSC tuners, 3TB of RAID-5 storage (standard), a Blu-ray drive (profile 2.0), Gigabit Ethernet, 4GB of memory, an Intel E8500 Core 2 Duo, an ATI All-In-Wonder 3650 (sporting HDMI, DVI, component and VGA outputs), a Logitech DiNovo Mini Bluetooth keyboard and a media center remote. It will also support “up to three zones of audio and video streaming (via Extenders or other Media Centers).”
So how much does something with that much hardware run the average consumer? Why $5,999 of course! And that’s standard (though, to be fair, the standard load out is mighty impressive).
As part of my testing for this month’s cover feature, I spent a few
quality days watching movies from the iTunes Store on my PC and in my
living room. By necessity, I had to integrate a newly updated Apple TV
into my entertainment center, which is a fairly common closed cabinet
with a few air vents in the back. All of my other electronics
devices—my receiver, my TiVo, my Xbox 360—live happily in this
environment (although I do open the cabinet door when I fire up the
We’ve been waiting for media-streaming devices to catch up to 802.11n, and the Linksys DMA2200 does it in style—geek style, that is. The box isn’t particularly attractive, but we dig the dual-band Wi-Fi radio inside that’s capable of operating on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands.