Dude ...

memebag

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I love my Xbox 360s for home theater use, but there are a couple of weaknesses. One, they have a very small set of codecs for playing back video files. That can be solved by products like TVersity and PlayOn that transcode on PC and feed them video they like, but it requires a pretty hefty CPU on the PC. Two, they can't browse the web to grab torrents or YouTube video, or watch Hulu or Fancast directly. Again, PlayOn hooks you up to Hulu, but the interface is limited.

I was looking at upgrading my desktop so it could transcode the latest h.264 high def files, but the price is prohibitive because it will require buying a new copy of Windows. That made me look for another solution, maybe a new Linux box dedicated to transcoding, but such a beast isn't available at this time. What I stumbled on was the Dell Inspiron Zino HD:



It's a tiny home theater PC with HDMI 5.1 output, a DVD drive, and (with a factory CPU upgrade) enough muscle to handle h.264 and high def Flash. It comes with Win 7 Home Premium and costs just $324. I could add Blu-ray for another $100, but I really don't think I'll every buy a Blu-ray disc. I'll drop it into my TV room setup where the DVD player is now, and put it on the network cable currently running to my Xbox 360. I found software to help me control it from my Harmony 880 remote, and I can always VNC into it from my netbook when I need a keyboard. So ...

Dude, I'm getting a Dell!
 

Casual Fan

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Really? I don't see it. If I was going to go Blu, now would have been the time. I'm just not motivated to pay for the discs.

Owning a physical copy of a movie is very 20th century. It's just a racket to get you to buy more discs ever time a new format comes out.
 

Jon

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Who said anything about owning disks? That's why Netflix is so popular. I used Netflix when I had my old place, and it was great. I may do it again instead of subscribing to Dish.
 

memebag

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I dig Netflix, but the whole physically moving pieces of plastic through the mail thing is lame. Too slow, too much getting up off the couch to get the mail, shove things into things, feh. Why should I be moving plastic when bits can move themselves?
 

DAB

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I dig Netflix, but the whole physically moving pieces of plastic through the mail thing is lame. Too slow, too much getting up off the couch to get the mail, shove things into things, feh. Why should I be moving plastic when bits can move themselves?

I think that is fine if you happen to have a good broadband service. Unfortunately there are still many areas around the country that don't even have broadband access so moving the little plastic disc around is still pretty important to those folks.

I also agree with Jon these days you don't have to own Blu-Ray disc, you just rent them. I do have some movies that I really like and would likely watch over again several times in my life. I also seem to get these things as gifts a great deal too. I probably have 15 of them most of which I didn't even buy.

I got my Blu-Ray player thrown in for little of nothing when I purchased my 52" HDTV. It also plays regular DVD and actually puts them in a little bit higher format for my TV which looks very good too. Well worth it to me!
 

Casual Fan

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Unfortunately there are still many areas around the country that don't even have broadband access so moving the little plastic disc around is still pretty important to those folks.

I thought Bill Clinton fixed all that. What did that guy do for eight years, anyway?

This is true. Still a great disparity. Many folks are still on dialup.
 

memebag

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To you it may, but the fact is many of us like choices and having both is the way to go!

Oh, wait, you've convinced me. Because some people somewhere have shit for bandwidth, I'll buy a Blu-ray player. Makes perfect sense.
 

DAB

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Oh, wait, you've convinced me. Because some people somewhere have shit for bandwidth, I'll buy a Blu-ray player. Makes perfect sense.

Not trying to convince you just saying that because you see little value in a blu-ray player doesn't mean there isn't! GET IT! Probably not you have tunnel vision!
 

memebag

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Not trying to convince you just saying that because you see little value in a blu-ray player doesn't mean there isn't! GET IT! Probably not you have tunnel vision!

Go back and read my posts. They're clearly about the value of Blu-ray to me, not to anyone else.

What's your deal?
 

DAB

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Go back and read my posts. They're clearly about the value of Blu-ray to me, not to anyone else.

What's your deal?

I understand you were speaking of yourself and so my point was to broaden that to say that many areas don't have broadband and therefore the blu-ray player is likely of value to them. I have no deal, I have broadband and a blu-ray player I wish everyone was as fortunately. :)
 
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xan_user

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Dude, I'm getting a Dell!
Those look sweet!
:agree:(optical is dead to me- netflix needs to start sending usb sticks- :p )

Please let me know how the noise level (fan & hdd) is once you get it.


Im building a similar rig right now, with a zotac mini gf9300 in a tiny case.
 

memebag

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Those look sweet!
:agree:(optical is dead to me- netflix needs to start sending usb sticks- :p )

Atoms are dead to me. Netflix can just send me more movies as bits.

Please let me know how the noise level (fan & hdd) is once you get it.

Will do. There are conflicting reports on the Zino fora I've found, but most say it's quiet. I can't imagine it being worse than the Xboxen.

Im building a similar rig right now, with a zotac mini gf9300 in a tiny case.

Cool. What OS(s) will it run?
 

ProperModulation

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That looks pretty sweet. I've tried a couple of stand alone home theaters (Western Digital HD TV Live and a Sage TV) and they are OK but definitely not ready for prime time. If I get $400 in my gadget budget any time soon I may give one of these a try :).
 

xan_user

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Atoms are dead to me. Netflix can just send me more movies as bits.
You mean atom chips? cause its going to run a Pentium e5300. -but even the dual atom 330 version w/ the same on board geforce 9300 can handle HD/blueray. (at around a couple dozen watts ) that dual atom is what i will probably get for the off grid pad and camper..and also why I need netflix to switch to thumbdrives...No streaming movies allowed on satellite interwebz. :cry:


Will do. There are conflicting reports on the Zino fora I've found, but most say it's quiet. I can't imagine it being worse than the Xboxen.
True, the XBOX seems like its loud on purpose. To make it seem more impressive. :rofl2:


Cool. What OS(s) will it run?
s3v3n.
It will be a jack of all trades...Media, games, everyday work/play. Maybe even let the kids use it if they're good.:p
 

memebag

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You mean atom chips?

No, I mean atoms. Discs and thumb drives are made out of atoms. They have mass and occupy space. Sending them requires lots of energy. Bits, on the other hand, are at a different level of abstraction. They can be encoded in atoms, but they can also be encoded in photons and electrons, and require much less energy to send. Just send me the bits and I'll figure out what to do with them.

and also why I need netflix to switch to thumbdrives...No streaming movies allowed on satellite interwebz. :cry:

Really? That's teh suck.

s3v3n.
It will be a jack of all trades...Media, games, everyday work/play. Maybe even let the kids use it if they're good.:p

Ah. The price of Windows always made me quit trying to figure out how to build my own home theater PC. This will be a jack of a few, TV-centric trades:
  • Play media from network storage.
  • Stream content from the web.
  • Play DVDs.
  • Maybe receive and record DTV signals from the airwaves and maybe cable.
  • Maybe some light gaming.

I keep waiting to invest a big chunk of change in a central, generalized system with lots of horsepower, but I'm ending up spending a little here and there for smaller, specialized devices that get the job done. This reminds me of something ... oh yeah, it's just like the 80s, but applied to my house.

(Posted from a netbook while sitting on the couch in a Snuggie<tm> after watching "Dexter" on an Xbox.)