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New XBMC Port Promises ARM-Powered HD In the Palm of Your Hand 123

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the melts-in-your-mouth dept.
Engadget has a recent teaser video promising HD content via XBMC running on a 600MHz Beagleboard. This could mean great things for home theater putterers, with the Beagleboard tipping the scales at a modest $150 and the ability to fit in the palm of your hand. Already running on everything from MIDs to AppleTVs and now moving to ARM-powered devices like the Beagleboard, it looks like XBMC needs to be renamed from "Xbox Media Center" to "ubiquitous media center."
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New XBMC Port Promises ARM-Powered HD In the Palm of Your Hand

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  • Cheapest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by manekineko2 (1052430) on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:55PM (#29951718)

    This looks incredible if they can pull it off, but until this is out, what is the cheapest XBMC machine I could throw together that would be able to play any content I throw at it?

    I'd love to jump on upgrading from my vintage Xbox XBMC, but I'd hate to drop a few hundred on an upgrade only to find out that it plays 99% of videos out there, but chokes on all high bit rate 1080p MKVs with lots of action, or something like that.

    • Re:Cheapest (Score:5, Informative)

      by Henriok (6762) on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:58PM (#29951758)
      600 MHz ARM-processor won't be able to play 1080p MKV. This can almost play 480p apparently.
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by aicrules (819392)
        so we just need two of them!
      • Re:Cheapest (Score:4, Informative)

        by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday November 02, 2009 @01:08PM (#29951884)

        Hardware Decoder...

        Right now people are working on getting the CrystalHD from Broadcom working under OS X and Linux. Supposedly they can't release it for NDA reasons. [xbmc.org]

        Then there is also VDPAU. I know there isn't an ARM port (YET!). Feature Set C decodes nearly everything in HD. I was playing 1080p with 10% CPU.

        There are a ton of those set top box devices from WD and other companies that advertise to 1080P with a small fanless device.

        • Correct. Western Digital's WDTV, Asus's O!Play, and others...

          Texas Instruments has the OMAP 3530 playing back 1080p H.264; all that remains is an open source codec being created to do the same task...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          There are a ton of those set top box devices from WD and other companies that advertise to 1080P with a small fanless device.

          The problem with this notion is that those devices usually can only decode a limited set of video codecs at 1080P, using a companion chip or coprocessor. Many of those OMAP devices don't even have the power to play an AVI and upscale it to 1080P if they have to do it with the CPU. Most of them will hw decode most MPEG streams, but they won't even handle all of those.

      • Re:Cheapest (Score:5, Informative)

        by RattFink (93631) on Monday November 02, 2009 @01:19PM (#29952032) Journal

        The processor on the board, a OMAP3530, also has a ~500mhz C64x+ DSP and a POWERVR SGX video accellerator. There is plenty of power on it.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Its not really the Arm doing the heavy lifting here. Its the coprocessors. Beagle board is based on the TI OMAP 3530 chipset that has hardware acceleration for a large number of video codecs and definately supports at least 720p HD video output.

        • by Goaway (82658)

          Except there aren't really any opensource tools that can take advantage of that hardware on the OMAP3.

      • There's already a distribution of Angstrom Linux that'll do 720p24 decode using only the ARM + NEON acceleration without any optimization IIRC (surf around on beagleboard.org). To go much further though, they'll need to take advantage of the TMS320C64x+ DSP also in the OMAP.

      • You're right, a 600MHz ARM can not decode 1080p HD video, a 2-odd GHz Core 2 Duo (with no other hardware acceleration) struggles to do that.

        The Beagleboard also has a ::href="http://www.bdti.com/procsum/tic64xx.htm">TMS320C64x DSP that can decode HD video.

        TI also make a DaVinci SoC [ti.com] that can do realtime HD transcoding - decoding and reencoding.

        Over on YouTube [youtube.com] is a beagleboard doing 720p HD video already...

    • Re:Cheapest (Score:5, Informative)

      by Vuojo (1547799) on Monday November 02, 2009 @01:02PM (#29951812)
      Anything with Nvidias ION board can handle high bitrate 1080p movies without dropped frames. Here is a link to the board I used for my XBMC http://pden.zotac.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=169&category_id=15&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1 [zotac.com]
      • Have there been improvements since this post? I just headed over to the XBMC forums and looked for relevant posts, and came across this post claiming they had some dropped frames with the Zotac IONITX-C-U and the Zotac IONITX-D-E:
        http://www.xbmc.org/forum/showpost.php?p=411435&postcount=5 [xbmc.org]

        Thanks!

        • by Vuojo (1547799)
          I have never had dropped frames with my box. It has 4GB of memory and I'm using XBMC Live installed on a flash card so there aren't any extra processes wasting CPU time. It would be nice to hear if those who are experiencing dropped frames are using stock Ubuntu installs or XBMC Live installs.
          • Oops, actually I just re-read my link, and realized that what he's saying is that the D-E didn't drop frames but the C-U did. Both the D-E and the A that you have use dual core Atom 330's. In fact, I can't seem to figure out what the difference is being the A and the D-E from Zotac's horrible website.

            Maybe I'll look into getting one of the Atom 330 ones like you have for myself.

            Have you tried many of the alternative fancier skins with transparency and title lookup/cover preview? Do those run smoothly on

            • by clarkn0va (807617)

              The A model takes DC input and ships with a 90W power brick. The other Atom 330 model takes standard ATX power input.

              I have watched plenty of trouble-free 1080p on my IonITX-A board running Ubuntu (no XBMC, just smplayer with the vdpau patches) all while seeding multiple torrents from the same internal hard drive.

            • by loutr (626763)

              I'm running XBMC on a Zotac ION MB (A model I think, the one with a single-core Atom and 90W PSU). 1080p videos play without an hitch, skins run smoothly, and the system is passively cooled. Perfect solution for a relatively cheap media center. I'm running Arch but the XBMC live distro seems to work great.

          • I am planning to build an ION system with Tiny Core Linux on flash based media for storage (SATA to SDHC or CF connector). Have you tried compiling anything on it? I worry that the performance may be unbearable since flash can't really handle writing of small files well.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This suggestion is great for downloaded media. The problem these days comes in when you try to stream HD content from Hulu or other sites. Then you can say goodbye to any semblance of hardware decoding -- you're back to relying on a beefy processor.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Plus you can get an Acer Aspire box for $200 which comes with a 160GB HDD and uses x86 so it can do other stuff (XBMC runs on top of Linux so you can install a full distro and run servers etc). The HDD is useful for recording to or using a local video storage, and the nVidia ION GPU does 1080p without problems as well as running many games.

        While ARM is very low power and this is a clever solution, when it comes to the bottom end of the market it will have to be spectacular to compete with generic x86 nettop

      • by Locutus (9039)
        that board you linked to says that it's compatible with Intel Atom( x86 ) and so right there you are talking over 10W of power minimum. The beagle, IIRC, runs at less than 5W so as long as you don't need it to run in your hand or run for very long in your hand, other x86 based configurations would work.

        The beagleboard or more specifically the ARM Cortex-a8 boards are very powerful with little power usage. That's why they are what's in the new smartphones like the iPhone GS and Motorola Droid amongst others
        • The BeagleBoard draws a maximum of 375mA when powered from 5V. This is the whole system running at full tilt, with an SD card etc. That equates to a power draw of 1.875W (0.375 x 5) and realistically you're going to be looking at a much lower power draw than this in regular usage.

          I have a BeagleBoard with Ubuntu installed and did an apt-get ubuntu-netbook-remix on it. It took a few hours of pretty much 100% CPU utilisation and the chip was barely warm to the touch...

          Power figures are quoted from the latest

      • Honestly, I found lower-power AMD chips on AMD 780 or higher boards work extremely well, but you'll draw a bit more power (60-90W from my testing for a full system), lower at S3 idle.

    • Mine cost me $85 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phil Urich (841393) on Monday November 02, 2009 @01:17PM (#29951996) Journal
      I just threw an NVIDIA 8400 GS 512MB PCI card into my ancient PIII 600mHz, and since I'm running Linux (Ubuntu 9.04 although I've seriously tweaked the install) XBMC just uses VDPAU to offload all the rendering to the video card. And yes, it can do 1080p x264 video just fine, which amuses me to no end since the majority of the parts in that computer are from 1999!

      If you don't have a spare old computer around, or you want to buy a complete solution, basically any of the "Ion-based" nettops should be cheap, tiny and get the job done. There's tons out there, and you can even get one from System76 that already has Ubuntu installed ( http://system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=95 [system76.com] ) at which point you only need to add the XBMC PPA to the repository list, click install and apply, and voila, a tiny cheap machine capable of 1080p video. For some anecdotal evidence on how easily these setups can run you can hunt around the XBMC forums a bit. Basically the key is just to get any kind of machine with a GeForce 8-or-later card in it, and the newer ones have even more features as far as using VDPAU is concerned.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by drgould (24404)

      A recent Lifehacker article [lifehacker.com] suggested the $200 Acer Aspire Revo [newegg.com]. Pros: 160GB HD, HMDI output, Gigabit ethernet, reportably plays 1080p, runs XBMC. Cons: single-core, 1GB RAM, no built-in expandability, WiFi or IR.

      For $320, the Revo's big brother [newegg.com] also has dual-core, 2GB RAM and built-in WiFi.

      • by ZZane (144066)

        There's an open SODIMM slot inside and you can expand to 2 or possibly 3GB (I have 2GB in mine). There also appears to be an open mini-pci slot inside where a wifi card could be installed. Looks like you could pretty easily swap out the HD for a large one as well.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      Check out this lifehacker post:
      http://lifehacker.com/5391308/build-a-silent-standalone-xbmc-media-center-on-the-cheap [lifehacker.com]
      The Acer AspireRevo is $199 & seems to do it all.

    • by WilliamX (22300)
      Personally, I think this isn't a very attractive option at all. The Beagleboard is.roughly $150? The Zatec Ion board (Intel Atom dual core processor using Nvidia's Ion chipset) is around $172 ($190 with the powerbrick), cheaper if you go for the single core version. And would far out perform the Beagleboard.
      • by WilliamX (22300)
        Forgot to mention the $172 and $190 prices include a mini-pci-e wireless card installed. And with a low cost M350 Mini-ITX case, you can mount the system on the tv itself using the wall mounts.
      • you have to add RAM and flash or a hdd to get the mini-itx board going. The beagleboard has all that. So you're probably off by about $50 on the real cost of a Zantac w/ NVidia ION.

        • by WilliamX (22300)
          Beagleboard includes 256MB of DDR RAM, and 256MB of NAND Flash. 1GB of DDR2 ram is $15.00 for the Ion board. So yeah, maybe a little off, but the small amount more gives you a huge difference in system performance, and for HiDef media, the difference would be night and day for what amounts to a small difference in cost.
          • With these sorts of things when you add $100 you typically double the capabilities (or more). But really, a box that can play movies over an HDMI connector (even it only works in DVI mode) is going to be hard to do as a PC for less than the beagleboard. With the low cost you have to accept the limitations. And we're not even adding in a case and power, which ended up being a little bit more expensive for the ION board as well ($50 for smallish case for the ION, but $30 for one for the Beagleboard for exampl

            • by WilliamX (22300)
              $35 for the Ion, and it is mountable on the back of any LCD TV or Monitor. The difference in price is not nearly as much as people here are portraying, and the difference in functionality is so huge that the small difference is barely mentionable.
              • you complain about small differences, but then argue about $5 difference on the price of a case? Does your case include a DC power adapter, mine does?

                I still stand by that it is difficult to build a PC that is 1. small 2. plays 720p videos to a TV 3. can be built for $150-$200. This is especially true for the ION which costs about $130 for one without built-in DC-DC psu, and $155 for one with the PSU option.

                N270 Atom w/ DC-DC (D945GSEJT) is $100. add in case ($35), 512MB RAM ($8), 4GB flash+reader ($15) = $

    • Checkout www.mini-box.com [mini-box.com]
      I am building a system from them to do XBMC on my TV
      The Board I am buying is this one here Zotac ION [mini-box.com]
      • WIFI Card
      • HDMI Out
      • Optical Audio Out
      • VGA Out / DVI Out

      Slap it in a vesa mounted cheap case [mini-box.com] with a laptop hard drive and I'm done.

      My whole media system will be under $300, vesa mounted to the back of my TV and controlled with my existing ATI/X10 Media remote.
      All my cds/dvds have been backed up to my file server which has mountable network shares for XBMC to use.

      Long live XBM

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        I just looked and found that XBMC isn't just for xbox any longer...looks impressive.

        I've always played with MythTV...how would people that have used both compare them? Pros vs Cons of each system?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          There's a way to watch/play mythtv recordings/live tv on xbmc using the myth:// protocol [xbmc.org]. I find that xbmc works a lot better than myth for existing media and don't bother running the mythtv frontend.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Eil (82413)

          XBMC is a media player only. If you want to record TV, you still need Myth. If you don't, XBMC is roughly 325 million times easier to set up and use.

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "XBMC is a media player only. If you want to record TV, you still need Myth. If you don't, XBMC is roughly 325 million times easier to set up and use."

            So, it is basically a glorified DVD player?

            • Except that it plays basically any media format off of almost anything you can somehow attach to a computer while organizing it all in to libraries, pulling box art, etc.

              Xvid, WMV, MPEG1/2/4, Quicktime, even freakin' Real. VCDs, DVDs, great!

              Local HD, USB, SMB, NFS, UPnP, iTunes....

              I hope you get the picture. And that's just what I used to use it for with my Xbox years ago. I've been more organized since leaving college and switched to a Windows MCE setup once I didn't need to support millions of sources

              • by slim (1652)

                Xvid, WMV, MPEG1/2/4, Quicktime, even freakin' Real. VCDs, DVDs, great!

                Local HD, USB, SMB, NFS, UPnP, iTunes....

                Here's what the revelation was for me:

                Sometimes I'd get video files packed into RAR archives. I'd grumble about having to unpack them before playing them in XBMC.

                Then by accident, browsed into a RAR from within XBMC. This thing will stream video files from inside RARs on the fly!

                And it plays formats I can't get my Windows box or Mac to recognise.

            • by Eil (82413)

              A glorified DVD, photo, video, music player with networking, streaming, playlist abilities, profiles, and meta-data management, yes.

    • by ZZane (144066)

      Acer Aspire Revo. You can pick one up for $200 at Best Buy in store or buy online at Newegg, Amazon, etc.

      Specs: Atom 230, nVidia ION LE, 1GB RAM (expandable to 2 or 3), 160GB HD, HDMI & VGA, 6 USB 2.0, 1 eSATA, 1 Gigabit ethernet port, SD slot. Pulls 65 watts max and physical size is 7.1"x7.1"x1.2".

      This can play back full 1080p without dropping frames and will run XBMC or Boxee under both Windows and Linux.

      I purchased one yesterday and so far I've run XBMC under Linux and Boxee under both Windows and

    • by psbrogna (611644)
      It's not the cheapest but the Phenom Quad Cores can actually rip a DVD and play hi-def off the hard drive at the same time. I put together a box based on one of these for around $400 (4 Gb RAM + 1 TB storage + DVD drive, used on-board everything else cause it was good 'nuf). If you've got a monster DVD collection you're looking to rip to HD it's all about how many DVDs you can feed it every night without cutting into "theater hours."
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      It ain't dirt cheap like a beagle, but if you want it to work any format you can throw at it something like this [newegg.com] would be your best bet. It has an Atom dual, ION graphics, 2Gb of RAM, 320Gb HDD, and a slim DVD burner to top it off. Put in a cheap capture card and you are ready to go.

      And if you have an XP Pro license lying around you can look up "TinyXP Beast Edition" which is an ultra stripped down XP Pro that only uses 63Mb of RAM and almost no CPU, great for running something like XMBC or my favorite M [team-mediaportal.com]

      • by pjl5602 (150416)

        Yeah, I wish ASRock made a real bare-bones model with no hard drive and no optical drive vs. just no operating system. I'd be all over it.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Why? From what I've seen ASRock generally puts quality parts into their barebone kits, and why would you want to use old parts on a new build? Better to just go ahead and get a quality barebones where all the parts are matched and ready to go, and the ASRock will last you for years and it a quality machine.

          Look at it this way-for $350 you get everything you need to build a nice media center, just add OS and cheap capture card. And $350 for a nice mini like that, complete with dual core CPU, 350Gb HDD, and 2

          • by pjl5602 (150416)

            I stream everything from the network (so no need for DVD.) Linux will be installed on a USB drive (so no need for hard drive.)

            That's around $100 bucks off the price right there...

    • by blincoln (592401)

      I'd love to jump on upgrading from my vintage Xbox XBMC, but I'd hate to drop a few hundred on an upgrade only to find out that it plays 99% of videos out there, but chokes on all high bit rate 1080p MKVs with lots of action, or something like that.

      It's been 6-8 months since I last used XBMC, but back then I couldn't even get it to keep the audio and video from an AVI file in sync, it dropped frames when playing DVDs, and functions could only be mapped to a single key, not a key combination (due to the back

      • The atom CPU is a lot faster than most P4 generation CPUs. Also, an onboard 8000 series nVidia is faster than many of the nVidia cpus from 4-5 years ago. It's hard to get a specific comparison though. Also an Atom 330 is dual core.

    • by MikeFM (12491)

      I wonder how this compares to an iPod Touch (about $200 + $50 for cables) for playback quality. I dump HD files on that and play them to my tv all the time and they look good. $150 would be a bit cheaper but not a lot.

      Apple is stupid for not giving playback to tv a nicer interface and including a remote (bluetooth?) with the AV cable for the $50. If it worked as a lite Apple TV it'd be a good way to convert people over.

  • Small Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:58PM (#29951764) Homepage

    The Beagleboard runs at 500Mhz, not 600Mhz (they underclock the processor for reliability. I have one btw)

    • Indeed. Apparently they are releasing Rev C4 [google.com] of it soon with a 720Mhz processor though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sootman (158191)

      And for those who have never heard of or seen a Beagleboard, it's worth noting that it doesn't have a built-in display. So the headline should be "New XBMC Port Promises ARM-Powered HD Source in the Palm of Your Hand." Which is still pretty cool but I thought they were talking about something that I could hold in my hand and watch. Note to headline writers: small is great, but "fits in your hand" isn't too special unless the device is intended to be used while in your hand.

  • I seem to remember a year or two ago there was a call for maintainers of the Xbox port - seeing that they want to get away from it (old/obsolete hardware that few people have left, requires use of Xbox SDK that no one has access to now (legally)).

    Of course, the ability to run elsewhere (Windows/Mac/Linux/etc) has given it a lot more legitimacy in the world, so I think the Xbox side has been downplayed to be almost non-existent now.

    • by Pvt_Ryan (1102363)
      As far as i know the Xbox version is in maintaince only, no new features just big fixes. The never distributed the binary but instead let others do that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Someone is still making nightly builds: http://sshcs.com/xbmc/ [sshcs.com]

        It's getting almost all the same new features and bug fixes as everything else. From what I understand it is one massive main source trunk. Everything platform specific is taken care of by #if statements and the config script.

    • I seem to remember a year or two ago there was a call for maintainers of the Xbox port

      Funny, I recall a few years before that when the XBMC group were positively adamant that they would never, ever do a Linux port because so much of the code relied on DirectX (MS-only) routines.

      I'm extremely grateful they decided to change their position.

  • Although it's easy to still think of it as the X-Box Media Center still, it's been renamed to XBMC Media Center for quite awhile owing to the vast amount of systems it runs on. Lovely fact checking there /. :P

  • by stim (732091)
    But when will it run on an xbox 360?
  • Is that an HD Beagleboard in your pocket, or you just happy to see me in 1080p?

  • Because I've seen some TI driver source code and it's frankly, shit. No wonder they left the camera module off
  • Pandora? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spykk (823586)
    As I recall, the pandora [openpandora.org] handheld is also built on an OMAP3530 and has a video out jack. Video playback didn't work out so well for Sony's PSP, but having a HTPC in my pocket that can stream my videos over the network seems like a good thing.
  • by donj (1588293) on Monday November 02, 2009 @02:11PM (#29952620)
    1. XBMC on ARM Branch can be viewed here: http://xbmc.org/trac/browser/branches/xbmc_on_arm [xbmc.org]
    2. Discussion about XBMC on ARM with a lot more background info is going on here in the official forum: http://xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=35139&page=14 [xbmc.org]
    3. You might want to link to the first source i.e. the official xbmc webpage: http://xbmc.org/theuni/2009/10/23/xbmc-on-arm-gles-2-0/ [xbmc.org]
    4. XBMC is not called Xbox Media Center anymore, just XBMC.
  • Reminds me of the arm-powered watches that you wear on your wrist. They wind themselves by the swinging motion as you walk.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    • A better remark would have been something like:

      "My palm is already arm-powered. Come to think of it, so is my sperm bank dispensal mechanism."

  • I've been waiting for an excuse to ask slashdot this question.

    What is a good resource for finding cheap, small, not overly feature rich hobbiest boards like this one?

    I've done some work with ATmega microcontrollers. Went so far as to create my on little multitasking OS from the ground up based on some knowledge I gained from FreeRTOS. I enjoyed the process and it taught me a great deal about the difficulties associated with task switching. I quit when I realized that I REALLY wanted an MMU, or at least

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You could look at www.embeddedarm.com.
      They have x86 and ARM single board computers. The TS-3000 line uses 386 processors. They have serial ports and many IO lines.
      They don't mention it in the advertising, but I see some headers marked "JTAG" on the 386 boards. That's a little bit out of my area of expertise, but maybe that's what you're looking for?
      I considered getting one of the ARM board to make a very small web server, but the prices seemed a little bit high, and I decided to go with an old, cheap, used

    • by sabbo (203745)

      I would recommend that you check out an ARM board that has good support in OpenOCD. This creates an excellent development platform for the stuff you mentioned.

      Check out the Olimex L9260 board. It is based on an ARM926 core and has plenty of RAM and Flash. It also has SD/MMC interface, SPI, I2C, UART etc
      http://www.olimex.com/dev/sam9-L9260.html

      OpenOCD software:
      http://openocd.berlios.de/web/

      You need a hardware device for OpenOCD to work. There are plenty of options, most are based on the FTDI 2232 chip. Here

  • by sunking2 (521698) on Monday November 02, 2009 @02:25PM (#29952802)
    Or other network media tank? I love my IO-100 and it plays everything I have ever thrown at it. Low wattage, runs linux, excellent audio/video connectivity and is I think 300mhz mips.
    • Or other network media tank? I love my IO-100 and it plays everything I have ever thrown at it. Low wattage, runs linux, excellent audio/video connectivity and is I think 300mhz mips.

      Do you mean the A-100? If so don't they have an overheating problem that the pricier version resolves?

      I've been looking into the best ways to stream the most content from my PC to my TV, currently I am using a 360, but it's limited codec support leaves me wanting. I have researched the popcorn hour, both devices, the media jukeboxes from dvico, now that these nettops are coming out I was wondering too what peoples' experiences was with a pre-built solution versus rolling your own.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sunking2 (521698)
        There are tons of versions and companies that have their own. Popcorn Hour is just the name of the biggest selling company, like Coke for soda. Mine, the IO-100HD from Dragon Tech Corp is completely fanless and runs cool and quiet. Not a single crash. The actual term to search for is Network Media Tank and you'll find tons of reviews for many different brands. Some have had heat issues. I bought mine to do exactly as you want, to replace the xbox 360 and it's worked beautiful. Plays full 1080P mp4 from a n
        • I should have previously stated that Netflix integration is a huge plus, and any unit that could do that too would make it an immediate buy from me.
      • I you want to roll your own, anything with a NVIDA ION based chipset is the way to go. Even the pairing with a single core Atom (230) will play 1080p perfectly and anything else you throw at it. I built a fanlass system for a friend for around 250$ without HDD. With Ubuntu and XBMC it's great media center solution. And it's also a NAS, mailserver, game server and whatever else you might want to have running 24/7.
  • by popo (107611) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:46PM (#29953908) Homepage

    WD LIVE blows this away, and has better playback....

    A much better bang for the buck.

    http://wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=735 [wdc.com]

    • It could very well be the same hardware - just mass-produced by a company, resulting in cheaper prices.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Yeah, except it isn't open. Thanks, but I prefer to go with a solution that I can hack, and these days, that means XBMC or Myth.

  • The market is wide open right now for products like this. Imagine if someone could sell a little black box that runs XBMC and supports full HD for $100. It doesn't seem that far off. It doesn't need to have storage or memory or any sort of drive. The main connectivity option would be ethernet, for connecting over the LAN to a PC which holds all the content. A USB port would also be nice to support an external hard drive, a flash drive stick, and/or a wireless adapter.

    (I know there are already similar produc

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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