Archive for media center

Xbox Media Center [XBMC] Review

rect xbmc Xbox Media Center [XBMC] Review

Open source software has made strides as of recently from full blown operating system, games, and even media management and playback software. The obvious advantages of open source software to the end user is both innovation and cost. The disadvantage with a great deal of open source software has been the user interface and ease of use. Xbox Media Center started as an open source media organizer and player for a modified original Xbox console. Recently the Xbox Media Center project has expanded to support Windows based computer as well as a host of other platforms.

A major benefit to running a full screen media management and playback application is the ability to use it comfortably in the living room with a consumer electronic feel, rather than a computer feel to the interface. In this article I will focus on the Windows version of Xbox Media Center with it’s well thought out interface and how it can be useful in the living room setting for music playback and organization.

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Mvix MX-780HD Media Center With Built-in Torrent Client

mvix mx780hd main Mvix MX 780HD Media Center With Built in Torrent Client

This is one of those little know devices that I am a huge fan of. I own and did a review on one of the first Mvix media centers a while ago, the MV-5000U. Aside from its crude interface, I thought it was a fantastic device being able to play many different formats along with DVD ISOs turning it to a true DVD jukebox. It is still one of my most used devices to this day. So you can see why I am excited to see this third gen Mvix.

The newest version, the Mvix MX-780, adds HDMI out for resolutions of to 1080p (in addition to other outputs, see after the jump). There are many different ways you can play media on the box: stream it from your computer (Wi-Fi or Ethernet), transfer it via USB as a standard MSC drive, connect an MSC drive to the USB host on the back, set it up as a NDAS network drive and drop files on, and of course add an internal IDE or SATA drive. Additionally, you are able to tune into free internet radio for music content.

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Mvix MX-760HD Wireless HD Media Center

mx760hd Mvix MX 760HD Wireless HD Media Center

I was excited to get this press release in my mailbox today because I am a big fan of Mvix’s older model the MX-5000U. (Check out the review) It is something I use nearly every day for audio during the day but mostly downloaded video at night. The best thing about it is that it lets you take full advantage of your HDTV by rescaling to fit nicely on the screen.

My only complaint with the last version is that I had to keep unhooking it to load more content. The new MX-760HD solves this problem with a wireless connection and USB hosting. The media center has component and DVI output for true 1920 x 1080 progressive scan output. One of my other favorite features is the ability to playback DVD VOB or ISO files, but of course it also plays, DivX, XviD, AVI, MPEG, WMV, and ASF to mention the major ones. The MX-760HD will ship next week and sell for $330.

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Mvix MV-5000U Review

mvix mv 5000u main Mvix MV 5000U Review

Stepping out of the PMP and portable MP3 player realm, I wanted to explore some home based devices. This was mainly for my own need of viewing my media in my living room. There are quite a few ways to get your media to your home theater. I wanted to be able to take full advantage of My HDTV, so PMPs like the Zen Vision:M with VGA output were not going to cut it. I also looked at other media center solutions, but they were either cost prohibitive or lacking in playable formats.

I settled on the Mvix MV-5000U. It has its pros and cons, but overall it took care of everything I needed to view my media on my HDTV. This device covers all of the major video codecs including: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI, DivX XVID, DVD files (IFO,VOB), VCD files, and what really sold me on the device, DVD ISOs. All of these can be up converted to 1920 X 1080i. Additionally, it covers most major audio types and JPEG images.

So continue reading for a full rundown of all the features and see if it matches your home theater media needs.

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