HD Streaming Goodness
I found out about the NeoDigits Helios X3000 networked media player when I saw it being offered at EngadgetHD as a prize. This thing sounds pretty sweet! It handles all sorts of audio and video codecs, streamed directly from your PC or on various optical disc media. It streams HD content and upscales DVDs. It also seems to have some online component, where it can stream internet radio, podcast, and RSS feed info to your home theatre setup.
In reality this device doesn’t do anything that my Mac mini (which is hooked up to my HDTV) doesn’t already do. However, we have been looking around for a way to stream our recorded shows from the Mac mini to a TV that we’d put in the dining area, or to a TV upstairs in the bedroom. At the moment we don’t have a TV in either room, because we spend most of our time in the family room, the media hub of the house. 🙂 But it would be nice to try this device out.
True, at almost $400, it’s starting to creep up into “buying another Mac mini” territory, which we probably will do at some point, to upgrade the current one to a MacIntel. But still, the Helios X3000 is an intriguing device… It would be more of a media kiosk that might be nicer to operate if you want a strictly media player interface, rather than opening up various programs to access different media on a computer, like we have to do with the Mac mini. I “hacked” my Mac mini to run Front Row, and EyeTV now has a Front-Row-like, full-screen menu to offer a kiosk mode, but because I have the lower-end, G5 Mac mini, running stuff like that is kind of slow (more the Front Row than the EyeTV). So I just access the DVD Player app, or EyeTV directly via the computer interface. I don’t mind it, but it does shatter the home theatre experience for other people.
Certainly this is not the only networked media streaming DVD player out there. And I bought one by D-Link (IIRC) a while ago, but promptly returned it a day later because its interface was crap, and it couldn’t handle most of my media. This NeoDigits device sounds like it has all of the kinks ironed out, plus HD streaming, but I’ll be scouring the web for user reviews to see if this is true or not. At any rate, if you want to stream media, even HD content around your house and you don’t have some kind of XBox 360/Windows MCE setup, perhaps this will fit the bill.