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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [03.07.06]
Manufactured by: nMedia

 

The HTPC is here...but do we care?

Even though manufacturers have been pushing the Windows Media Center HTPC for quite some time now (Check our CES 2005 Coverage), user adoption has been slow to say the least. As convenient as it may be to have an HTPC manage all of our entertainment needs right from the comfort of our living room, it seems most people took a wait and see attitude.

Now a full year later with the maturity of MCE 2005 and BeyondTV along manufacturers releasing mobile chip based desktop boards it would seem that the time is ripe for the mass user migration that was predicted last year.

With that in mind, no one wants a full tower stuck in the middle of their living room. Though Silverstone has carved out a nice little niche in terms of its line of HTPC cases, there is definitely room for other manufacturers to carve out a niche of their own in the HTPC market.

This is where nMedia comes in. Based in Northern California, nMedia Systems was founded in 2005 with a vision to create future home entertainment PC systems that are optimal for today's consumer electronic gear such as Plasma and LCD TVs, HDTV setups and Home Theater Projectors. Now to me that makes them sound like a system integrator, but as of right now they sell three different models of HTPC cases as well as an HTPC starter kit (Remote/Tuner/Keyboard/Software).

HTPC 200

The unit we'll be looking at today is the HTPC200.

The HTPC 2000 comes in two flavors, one that has a full black front face plate and chassis, and the second, like our review model, has a grey chassis and split black and grey face plate.

The circle on the right hand side that looks similar to a volume knob acts as the power button and glows blue around the edges when turned on. Also notice the LCD display on the left hand side along with the stealth Optical Drive Bay.

The HTPC 2000 offers the ability to use a full sized ATX PSU, along with full sized expansion AGP/PCI slots on any mATX motherboard. There are also two exhaust fans which use honeycomb grills.

The bottom half of the font faceplate flips down to reveal front USB and audio ports along with a couple extra goodies.

There is also a front Firewire port, along with a 9-in-1 card reader. Another big bonus is the front RCA audio and video pass through ports along with a front S-Video pass through port. These are a big plus for HTPC users that work with DV cameras and would like to be able to easily upload their videos to their HTPC box. Finally the little black out of focus nub on the right hand side is the reset button.

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