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This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver Review
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Review
Denon AVR-S700W& Envaya Bluetooth Speaker Reviews
CLONES Audio 25p Power Amplifier Review
Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speakers Review
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Categories in section: Home Theater Media Servers
Home Theater/Media Center PCs (24) Music Servers (28) Satellite & Cable Receivers/PVRs/DVRs/TiVo (15)
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Friday, 09 May 2008 ,  Written by
Russound Smart Media Console SMC-45 Media Center PC
The Basics: Russound has long been known for its whole-house music distribution systems. The Smart Media Console is the company’s first foray into the Media Center PC market. With Windows Vista Ultimate as its operating system, the Smart Media Console can be a standalone entertainment product or serve as the foundation of a whole-house control system. The SMC is available in six different configurations, which vary in hard drive size, processing power and TV-tuning functions. The SMC-45 is a mid-level model with a 1TB hard drive, a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and two built-in CableCARD/Clear-QAM tuners for receiving HD cable (the SMC-40 is identical in specs, but features internal NTSC/ATSC tuners instead). The SMC-45 does not support high-definition disc playback, but it does have a DVD/CD burner. Its connection panel has all of the desired A/V outputs, as well ...
Friday, 09 May 2008 ,  Written by
HP Pavilion Slimline S3330f Media Center PC
The Basics: Although Hewlett-Packard has exited the living-room Media Center PC business, the company still offers a number of desktop models with Windows Media Center functionality, including the Slimline S3330f. The marquee feature, given the unit’s $949 price, is the inclusion of a Blu-ray/HD DVD player, so you can enjoy both Blu-ray movies and all of those now-obsolete HD DVDs you got for $1 on eBay. The disc drive is also a SuperMulti DVD/CD burner that uses LightScribe labeling technology. The S3330f has a solid connection panel for the price, with HDMI, DVI and coaxial digital audio outputs, as well as six USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire port, a 15-in-1 card reader and both headphone and microphone jacks. It also supports the addition of HP’s Pocket Media Drive, which lets you add up to 160GB of additional storage. The unit has ...
Friday, 09 May 2008 ,  Written by
Niveus Media Denali Limited Edition Media Center PC
The Basics: Niveus Media’s Denali Limited Edition represents the company’s top-of-the-line Media Center PC. Running on Windows Vista Ultimate. This model is designed for a higher-end A/V experience, with upgraded video and audio cards, higher-quality audio components, faster processing and more RAM than the step-down Rainier models. The standard Denali has 1TB of storage (via two 500GB Seagate hard drives) with DVR functionality, and the Limited Edition adds 0.5TB of storage (via two 750GB Seagate hard drives), a Blu-ray drive, and dual NTSC/ATSC tuners to record over-the-air TV content. To access premium HD cable channels, you need to add the $1499 Digital Cable Receiver, which includes two CableCARD and Clear-QAM tuners. The Digital Cable Receiver links to the Denali via USB. The Denali has a thorough connection panel, with HDMI, DVI and component video with BNC-style connectors. Through HDMI and DVI, ...
Friday, 09 May 2008 ,  Written by
Exceptional Innovation Life|media LMS-500 Media Center PC
The Basics: Exceptional Innovation has established a name in custom-retail and home-automation circles for its Life|ware platform, a software-based automation system that runs on Windows Media Center PCs. The addition of Life|ware to a Media Center PC allows you to control compatible whole-house products (lighting, security, HVAC, multiroom distribution) easily through the Media Center interface. It was only a matter of time until EI decided to release its own Media Center hardware, with the Life|ware software preloaded. These new units are called Life|media. Life|media is available in five different configurations, which vary in hard-drive storage, processing speed, graphic cards and overall size. The LMC-500 is a mid-level, three-rack-space model with a 2TB hard drive, DVR functionality, a DVD/CD burner, an FM tuner and two NTSC and ATSC tuners (the step-up LMS-550 replaces the FM/NTSC/ATSC tuners with dual CableCARD/Clear-QAM tuners, but otherwise has ...
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Introduction My father is pretty high-tech for a guy in his early sixties. He has an iPhone and can make his Mac laptop jump through hoops, including wirelessly pumping music (and often vintage jingles from his days as a program director at WIBG in Philadelphia in the late 1960s) to his Wilson Audio and Krell-based audiophile system in his living room. His music students at the University of Southern California demand this level of tech savvy, but where he had admittedly fallen behind was with his home theater system. Installed in an odd niche in his house in Scottsdale, Arizona, this system was pretty state of the art in its day, with a big Sony CRT standard-definition television set, a DVD player and a custom installation in a nifty cabinet. However, by 2008 standards, a 40-inch standard-definition tube TV (which ...
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