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Niveus Media Rainier750HD Media Center PC Print E-mail
Friday, 09 May 2008
ImageThe Basics:
Niveus Media’s Rainier line of Windows Media Center PCs includes four models, with hard drives ranging from 320 to 750GB. The Rainier750HD is the top-of-the-line model, with Windows Vista Ultimate, a 750GB hard drive, a built-in Blu-ray drive, internal NTSC/ATSC tuners and DVR functionality. The internal tuners allow you to record over-the-air HDTV/SDTV content, as well as SD content from a set-top box. To record premium HD channels, cable users can add the optional $1499 Digital Cable Receiver, which includes two CableCARD and Clear-QAM tuners. The Digital Cable Receiver links to the Rainier via USB.

The Rainier750HD 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 Rainier, which uses Nvidia’s PureVideo HD technology, has earned ISF certification. On the audio side, you can output digital audio via either HDMI or Toslink. 7.1-channel analog audio outputs are included. The Rainier has six USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire ports and one SD/MMC card reader, 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 Rainier 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 Rainier offers excellent connectivity 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 offers just one over-the-air HDTV tuner, and the Digital Cable Receiver is a pricey addition to an already pricey unit.

The Rainier750HD is a well-built Media Center PC that offers advanced performance and connectivity and is only sold through the custom retail channels.

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