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Niveus Media Denali Limited Edition Media Center PC Print E-mail
Friday, 09 May 2008
ImageThe 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, you can output Blu-ray discs at 1080p/60 or 1080p/24, and the Denali, which uses Nvidia’s PureVideo HD technology, has earned ISF certification. On the audio side, this model has Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converters, a 118dB signal-to-noise ratio and the ability to decode both Dolby and DTS formats. You can output digital audio via either HDMI or coaxial digital, and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs are included. The Denali has six USB 2.0 ports and two FireWire ports, as well as RS-232 and dual IR blasters for controlling an external set-top box. Niveus’ Glacier Passive Cooling technology allows for quieter operation and gives the chassis its unique design, with fins along both side panels that help dissipate heat. The unit comes with an IR remote and a wireless RF keyboard with a built-in trackball mouse. The Niveus system includes some special features: My Server lets you access and control an external Niveus A/V Storage Server, Media Center Companion lets you control the Denali remotely via other Windows XP or Vista devices and the Niveus HD Media Store takes you directly to partner sites like MusicGiants, where you can purchase high-resolution music.

The Upside:
The Denali offers excellent connectivity, ample storage and Blu-ray playback. It is an ISF-certified Media Center PC, so you can expect a higher-quality video experience. The Passive Cooling technology really works, so this unit is much quieter than other home theater PCs. The player can decode high-resolution audio formats from a Blu-ray disc and send them over the analog audio outputs.

The Downside:
The unit uses less-traditional BNC-style component video connections, but component video isn’t the most desirable output option anyhow. The standard configuration does not offer access to premium HD channels and the Digital Cable Receiver is a pricey addition to an already pricey unit. This model lacks built-in Wi-Fi and card readers.

The Denali is built and priced for the more demanding theaterphile who wants to enjoy a Media Center product without sacrificing audio and video quality. It is only available through custom retail channels.

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