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This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
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Categories in section: Home Theater Media Servers
Home Theater/Media Center PCs (24) Music Servers (30) Satellite & Cable Receivers/PVRs/DVRs/TiVo (15)
Video Servers (4)

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Friday, 09 May 2008 ,  Written by
Okoro OMS-CX100 Home Theater PC
The Basics: Okoro Media Systems has six different Media Center PC lines, with varying degrees of functionality and connectivity. The OMS-CX100 is one of the lower-priced models, hailing from the CableCARD Series, but it still has a lot of features and is highly configurable. The specs listed above reflect the base configuration, but you can upgrade the video card to a higher-level Nvidia model and up the hard drive size to 1TB. The system comes with a DVD/CD burner and a single ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner, which includes one CableCARD, Clear-QAM, an NTSC and ATSC tuner. (You can upgrade to two ATI tuners for $250.) Okoro even allows you to replace the Windows Vista Ultimate OS with SageTV Media Center V6, SnapStream Media Center Suite, or no software at all. The OMS-CX100 has a solid connection panel, with DVI in ...
Friday, 09 May 2008 ,  Written by
Alienware Hangar18 Media Center PC
The Basics: The Alienware Hangar18 is a highly configurable Windows Media Center PC, with different disc drive options, hard drive sizes, RAM levels and peripherals. Its base price is $2229, but the specs above reflect one of the highest-end configurations, with a 2TB hard drive, 4GB of RAM and an integrated, slot-loading Blu-ray/DVD/CD burner. One option we did not include is the Media Center Extender upgrade, which adds a Linksys extender and 802.11n capability, recommended for those who want to stream HD video; this feature ups the price to $4533. The Hangar18 has a well-rounded connection panel, with HDMI, VGA and component video outputs. For audio, you can use HDMI or your choice of optical/coaxial digital outputs. This product contains its own 1,000-watt five-channel amplifier, so you can attach speakers directly to it, with a subwoofer output to direct bass to an ...
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, ...
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