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XBMC Eden Beta is Available Now
Tags: XBMC, HTPCs, Boxee (all tags)
The worthy rival of Boxee has launched its latest software - not pulling out of the HTPC space.
With Boxee no longer officially supported, many HTPC users will be looking for a new media center alternative. The XBMC - originally created as the Xbox Media Center - just might be the way to go.
The newest version of XBMC has launched in beta form and there are a significant amount of changes. The default skin got a nice redesign, speeds have been improved and AirPlay support has been added. Version 11.0 is also the first stable Apple TV2 and iPad release.
You can download the media center directly from XBMC.
Boxee for PC Receives its Final Update
Tags: Boxee, Boxee Box, HTPCs (all tags)
User interface fixes, better network and file support mark the end of official Boxee software.
It's a sad day for HTPC owner,s as Boxee - one of the big influencers in the space - is pulling the plug on the program. Today's 1.5 patch will be the final one issued by Boxee.
The patch itself isn't anything too significant. It gives some better network and file support as well as an improved interface but nothing big. Boxee says the program is at around 85% of the functionality of the Boxee Box but due to licensing issues there's not much else they can do.
Andrew Kippen talks directly to HTPC users in the post on the Boxee Blog. "Thank you for all your support," he writes. "We would not be where we are today without you. But we can’t stay here."
Lenovo Introduces World's Smallest HTPC at $349
Tags: Lenovo, HTPCs (all tags)
It comes packed with an Atom processor, Radeon graphics card and four gigs of RAM.
Lenovo's new HTPC is cheap and equipped with plenty of impressive components, but the biggest feature is also its smallest. According to Lenovo, the IdeaCentre Q180 is the world's smallest HTPC at around the same size as a paperback book.
The Q180 uses a dual-core 2.13GHz Atom processor and Radeon HD 6450A graphics to handle your video needs. You can upgrade the computer with a Blu-ray drive capable of playing back Blu-ray 3D titles. Either way, thanks to an HDMI output you'll get 7.1 channel surround and a 1080p resolution. You'll also find USB 3.0 support, for nice quick file transfers.
One of the coolest features of the Q180 is the VESA mount built right in. This allows you to attach it right to the back of your monitor or TV so you don't have to deal with deciding where to put it on your shelf.
VIA Releases an $89 Mini-ATX Motherboard and Processor Combo for HTPCs
Tags: HTPCs, VIA (all tags)
It comes with a 1.4GHz dual core processor, on-board HDMI and room for 8GB of RAM.
When one of your prime requirements for a PC is size, as it is with most home theater PCs, you need to make a few sacrifices. You're not going to get the same graphics and processing power as a desktop setup, but you can surely get enough to satisfy all your requirements for watching movies and listening to music.
VIA's new VE-900 Mini-ITX motherboard/processor combo is designed to give you plenty of power and a nice low price. Along with the board you'll also get a 1.4GHz VIA Nano X2 dual-core processor. The motherboard features an HDMI connection for high definition video and 24-bit 192kHz audio.
The motherboard also has a few connections you might not expect. It features PS/2 inputs, VGA out and a serial port. The one big downside - it's packing a fan. Still, at $89 it's none too shabby!
Lenovo Reveals a New Multimedia Remote With Backlit Keys
Tags: Lenovo, HTPCs, Remotes (all tags)
There are a few improvements to the keyboard, including the elimination of the trackball and a matte black finish.
HTPC junkies are always on the quest for the perfect way to control their setup. There are a lot of options - from wireless keyboards, handheld remotes, motion control mice and more. It's all based on personal preference of course Lenovo's multimedia remotes have always fared well.
The company's newest update to their remote features a few improvements that fans have been asking for. To start with, you won't have that glossy black finish anymore - a nice matte black one is in its place. The trackball is gone as well, replaced with an optical pointer and scrollbar.
Those fumbling in the dark to try and find the right keys will be happy to know that the latest iteration of Lenovo's remote features backlit keys as well.
Lenovo's new remote runs $79 when purchased directly from the company and is expected to ship October 14th.
The Boxee Remote Comes to PC and Mac
Tags: Boxee, HTPCs, Boxee Box (all tags)
HTPC users are finally catching up to the folks that picked up the Boxee Box.
Folks that use Boxee software on their PCs and Macs have been largely ignored since the launch of the Boxee Box. It makes sense of course, since Boxee software is free and the Boxee Box brings in the cash.
With their newest release, the folks at D-Link and Boxee have found a way to please PC users and turn the free version into a profitable business for themselves. That product is a Boxee remote control that can be used on Mac and PC.
"The Boxee Remote Control was one of the most talked about advances with the Boxee Box by D-Link," says Boxee's Andrew Kippen. "We're excited to bring it to all of the Boxee users who've built customized home media centers and want to get even more out of their Boxee software."
You can pick up the Boxee Remote Control now on Amazon and various other online retailers.
Boxee Software Will Get a Fall Update for PC, Mac, and Ubuntu
Tags: Boxee, HTPCs (all tags)
An updated browser, improved playback, and an easier to use open-source version are on the way.
Those using Boxee software on your HTPC, have had to sit by while Boxee Box users get update after update. The Box got a new interface, more viewing options and plenty more while the strictly software option sat idle.
"At a certain point," writes Avner Ronen, "we had to focus everyone on the Boxee Box to make sure we hit deadlines." The founder and CEO of Boxee continues, " All of it came at the expense of the downloadable version. The gap between the CE and computer version grew bigger."
He says that the company is working hard to keep the downloadable version as up to date as they can and the fall update will bring things up to snuff.
"That said," adds Ronen, "updates for the downloadable version will most likely lag behind the versions of Boxee for devices."
Source: Boxee Blog
How to Rip Your Blu-ray Collection With Ease
Tags: HTPCs (all tags)
Lifehacker's guide provides a cross-platform Windows, OS X, and Linux solution to getting your Blu-rays onto your computer.
Having a massive Blu-ray collection sitting on your shelf - or shelves as the case may be - is an impressive sight, but going and getting something off of the shelf is less convenient than simply pulling up the file on your HTPC. Ripping those Blu-rays can be a pain, but the good folks at Lifehacker put together a guide that should help out.
You'll need a pair of programs, one for ripping and one for encoding as well as plenty of hard drive space and, of course, a Blu-ray drive. Once those are installed it's a three step process to get your movies onto your hard drive in whatever quality you desire.
Depending on your preferences, you can cut down the space taken up by your Blu-ray pretty significantly, but if you prefer to stick with a 1080p picture and DTS support you'll end up with something a bit larger. Either way, you'll be well equipped to enjoy movies through your favorite media player.
IOGear Launches Two New HTPC Controllers
Tags: HTPCs, High-Def Retailing, Industry Trends, IOGEAR (all tags)
Two new options are available for HTPC users, including a handheld model and a full sized keyboard.
If you're using an HTPC, things are looking good. You get to scoff at the news of blocked content and chortle at the news of Apple TV preorders and now you even get some cool new gear.
The GKM571R from IOGear is small enough to fit in your hand and features a full QWERTY keyboard as well as a tiny out of the way trackball in the upper right corner. It's also got a closing lid, though it's not exactly clear why.
IOGear's GKM581 is a bit more traditional. It's a full sized keyboard with a trackball on the right and the mouse buttons on the left. It's a bit bigger, but it seems much simpler to browse with.
You'll find the GKM571R at a price of $89 while the larger GKM581 runs $99. Both are slated to ship before the end of the year.
Source: Crunch Gear