|Allio ATVI-3G4542 LCD HDTV-PC|
|Home Theater Flat Panel HDTVs LCD HDTVs|
|Written by Dick Ward|
|Tuesday, 07 April 2009|
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Silicon Mountain’s Allio sets out to be the realization of a concept tried and tested by a great many companies over the years: a fusion of PC and TV that doesn’t inhibit the abilities of either. This was tested not only under standard conditions, but as part of a 14 hour long, post-apocalyptic film fest to push the limits of the machine.
The PC side of the Allio is feature rich, with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor, fairly powerful as processors go, and 4GB of DDR2-800 RAM. A built in 2x Blu-Ray player is an excellent touch, but the biggest attraction is the massive 1TB hard drive. Enough for all the music and movies on both my laptop and desktop, it was fantastic to be able to transfer it all over with little effort. Of course, it didn’t require transferring, as streaming from alternate sources is completely supported.
During setup, the rear of the Allio felt cramped. 6 USB ports are available, but their positioning makes plugging things in incredibly awkward, and at one point I was forced to make a choice between the wireless keyboard adapter and my thumb drive, even though two spots were available. On the PC side, I was disappointed with the amount of setup required to make the Allio work the way it should. I was fully expecting the unit to do everything I needed it to right out of the box, but I spent a great deal of time with it before it was ready for use. Though some may consider it nitpicking, Windows Vista was not set up for performance in any way. With graphical options set at high and widgets enabled, the on board graphics card proved not to be enough in some circumstances. Simply turning off graphical Windows Vista enhancements did the trick.
I find it unfortunate that a system meant to satisfy all video and audio didn’t include all the proper codecs pre-installed. The Xbox 360 can stream Divx files straight out of the cardboard box, and it’s a video game system. Perhaps Silicon Mountain was going for the ‘new computer’ feel, but properly customizing the machine to fit the needs of the consumer would have made a big difference in the overall setup experience.