For those of you DIY-types who lust after the Italian OnCinema TEATRO D1 A/V component sized, aluminum encased MCE 2005 PC with a built-in 7-inch touch screen I discussed earlier, here’s a nice option. Atechfabrication has announced a slick case, complete with a cutout for a 7-inch LCD touchscreen. Not a bad idea to offer this to the home consumer market itching to leverage the MCE2005 approach to home media convergence. Still gonna cost a bundle to build a complete system, but it’s nice to dream about, isn’t it? Meanwhile, my DHS system from Alienware has now been on order since 11/16, even after they called to swap out video cards to avoid a ‘lengthy delay’. Grumble.
It’s Italian. It has a built-in touchscreen. It’s freaking gorgeous. It’s the most lust-inducing Windows Media Center Edition PC I’ve seen to date. The specs – 7” 1280×720 VGA touchscreen, dual layer DVD burner and 500gbHD, dual SD tuners, plus FM and integrated Wi-Fi. I don’t speak Italian, but their web site is worth a look. Meanwhile, it’s been like six weeks since I ordered an Alienware DHS – and no sign of it yet.LINK to Oncinema web site (Italian).
I installed the new-fangled Windows Media Extender for Xbox today. Very simple. Drop the ‘Media Center for Xbox Disc’ (DVD) into the Xbox, connected to the same network subnet as your MCE 2005. Why should you care? Well, if you don’t have a Media Center PC, no biggie. But the promise here is pretty cool. You can have your home PC hidden in your office, or in a closet somewhere, but access the PC’s recorded TV, live TV, pictures, mp3s, and other applications on your living room PC with no wires. NICE!
So, get your Xbox connected to your TV, and then on the same wireless or wired network subnet. Plug the infrared receiver into an unused controller port on the front of the Xbox (it’s just like the DVD kit sold by MSFT), and drop the DVD into the tray and boot the Xbox.
After a few prompts, the Xbox reports a startup code you will need to enter back on your MCE 2005 box. Then fire up the Setup CD in your Media Center, mine being a Qosmio laptop across the room. After a typical Windows application install process of just a few minutes, several EULAs (who reads these?), and numerous progress bars, the installer asks first for the lengthy product key, then the startup code. Reboot the Xbox, and you should be up and running.
It seems to work quite well – although some buttons and interface elements gracefully degrade to have less animation, etc. to optimize performance over the terminal services connection being used. I found television to look quite good, most third-party apps to function just fine as well. More reports to follow!
Yesterday I recieved a new laptop – the Toshiba Qosmio F15 Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 multimedia machine. Amazing little laptop, that – integrated TV tuner, PVR functionality, 80GB drive, Pentium M 745/1.8ghz, NVIDIA GeForce FXGo5700/128MB, etc. Early reactions are that it’s fairly HUGE (14.7″x11.2″x1.7″) and HEAVY (8.6 lbs, plus adapter). So it’s not quite the svelte machine that my TiBook is. But then again, this machine is much faster, has better video, and can watch/record tv. The Media Center apps are an interesting acoutrement, too. Got it up and running pretty easily, but was confounded by *two* audio streams from my DirecTV box. Turned out that you have to mute the line-in audio signal, otherwise you get audio piped directly through to the speakers *and* the encoded audio from the MCE video recorder. Was proud that I figured that out. And what is the deal with user manuals only on the HD for $2500 pieces of gear? That’s B.S., thank you very much. More detailed review soon.