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As far as home theatre PCs go, you would be hard-pressed to find a design more appealing than the TT concept HTPC from Omaura. The work seems to derive its inspiration from traditional speaker bars, but one look under the hood and you can see that this thing is pure PC. Unfortunately, imagining what it would be like is as close as you are going to get until Omaura decides to make this thing a real-world product. A picture of the interior is available after the break.
Home Theater PC (HTPC) prices don’t necessarily have to be in the $4000-$5000 range, as evidenced by this CX100 entry-level media centre just introduced by Okoro Media Systems. The $1795 HTPC has an ATI digital cable tuner into which you can plug a CableCARD, and its NVIDIA 8500 GT graphics card gives it the video oomph to handle Blu-ray and HD DVD playback. Of course, that $1795 price doesn’t include the Blu-ray or HD DVD drive, but this is the lowest-priced CableCARD-toting HTPC we’ve seen thus far. It other specs aren’t too shabby, either.
With everyone trying to slap more chrome and neon on to their custom PC creations it’s nice to see someone going old school for a change. This enormous stereo form the ’80s has been modded and prodded into a decently capable HTPC complete with built-in 15-in LCD, Hauppauge TV tuner, 1.83GHz Athlon XP 2500+ processor and 500GB of hard drive space. The best part is that the buttons on front aren’t just for show. The volume control still works as does the power button, and the tuning knob scrubs vertically while the function knob scrolls horizontally. [The Lost Pixel via Make Magazine]
This prototype tube amp and PC combo from Shuttle (pictured at right) and ESTI (on the left) is fancy enough to call itself the Digital Video Opera (DVO) series. Don’t be fooled by its old-school tubes, though, because when you team up these two tube-spangled boxes in the home theater, you get a Vista-running system with HDMI, 7.1 channel DTS, built-in Wi-Fi and a remote control.
You can’t see in the pictures, but it has a front-mounted Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) that really sells its tubular style. We’re assuming that each unit is available in either black or silver so they actually do match each other, but neither company is talking about when we might see this pretty pair available in the real world, or at what price. – Charlie White
Tubes are back & custom XPCs crop up [Bit-Tech]
If you’re gonna get a PC for your living room, you might as well go all out and get one that supports the new high-def DVDs. Starting at $2,995, Okoro’s BX100 and BX300 can read both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs from a single drive. And that’s not all—they’re packing some serious tech inside too.
If you thought the Hanger18 looked cool, get a load of AMD’s concept PC. It was created by AMD to show manufacturers the kinds of designs they can dream up when using AMD’s hardware (in particular AMD Live!, which is their media center platform). The PC features an embedded LCD, a slot-loading optical drive, and built-in media controls. If not for the solid gold color, I’d say this was one sexy beast. Do you guys dig it or hate it? – Louis Ramirez
AMD Creates “Ideal” Design for Media PCs [Electronista]
After all the rumors and waiting, Alienware is officially launching the Hangar18 HTPC today. The new system comes equipped with dual TV tuners (you can have up to 4), an onboard 5.1 amp, HDMI out, and an AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core CPU. You can cram it with up to 4GB of memory and 2TB of storage space and choose between a 720p or 1080p capable system. There’s even a Gyration remote to replace your pesky mouse. The system is available today with a starting price of $1,999. – Louis Ramirez
AU: It’s a shame the Australian arm of Alienware is rather dead at the moment. A visit to the site gives no desktops (they’re ‘coming soon’, yet the US site has the usual array available). Just workstations and notebooks. Seems the Dell takeover has only crippled local access to their stuff. We’ll chase up with Dell and try to get some word on what’s going on with Alienware. -SB
The Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate Edition isn’t the first liquid-cooled graphics card in the world, but it may be uniquely suited for home theater use because of its silent operation and multichannel 5.1 audio ports on board. Sure, other companies such as Asus and BFG with their NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX water-cooled cards came first with this quiet cooling idea, but Sapphire takes it a step further. How can a lowly graphics card make a difference in a home theater, anyway?
The folks at Computer Shopper got some inside info on Alienware’s new offerings, and from the looks of it, we’re in for some treats. First up is the Hangar 18 HD HTPC. We’ve talked about it before, but the system is finally expected to launch this week. According to Shopper, Alienware will also give extra emphasis to system design starting in the next few months as they make the push from boutique seller to mainstream. As for those Santa Rosa-based notebooks, they’ll be coming soon, although no solid dates were mentioned. – Louis Ramirez
Alienware to Launch Hangar 18 This Week [Computer Shopper]