It seems that nVidia Ion has a serious competitor – Broadcom with its Crystal HD Hardware Decoder. The biggest advantage of Broadcom is a common API for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X and possibility to add it to the old boxes without upgrade graphical adapter. One of the first who added support of Broadcom was XBMC. Currently you can checkout XBMC with Broadcom from SVN repository and build it from the sources. Of course, you need Broadcom Hardware Decoder to test it. For example, that $69.00 PCIe Mini Card. That gives you possibility to decode mpeg2, h.264 and VC1 video content up to 1080p using Broadcom card. So, weak CPU won’t be a problem for HD video playback. Happy testing and Happy New Year!
Finally nVidia confirmed that the next generation of its popular platform Ion will be released in Q1 of 2010. That’s good news for all who’d like to have a compact and power HTPC. The nVidia Ion2 will be compatible with Intel’s new Pine Trail platform and it should be faster and more energy efficient. So, if you decided to buy Ion based motherboard or nettop it’d be better to wait a bit. Because the new Ion 2 will give you more options while price to the Ion 1 products should be reduced.
Lenovo offers a great alternative to Logitech diNovo Mini for HTPC users. Its mini wireless keyboard with track ball has palm size and gives an easy and handy way to control you media center. It uses 2.4GHz radio frequency and lets 10 meters control distance.
The price of the Lenovo Multimedia Remote is $59.99 which is nearly three times cheaper then diNovo Mini ($149.99)! Good deal isn’t it? That remote is compatible
with Windows® 2000 Windows® XP & Windows Vista® & Windows® 7. It’d be great to know how it works under Linux. Theoretically it should be supported.
By the way personally I still prefer old school IR remote control. Because it controls not only HTPC but TV, satellite and audio receiver, and much more.
After releasing of XBMC 9.11 “Camelot” and skin Transparency! it’s time for Xperience Beta1. I posted the amazing demo video of that XBMC skin. Know you can grab it here and try it on your HTPC. There is an Xperience Release Thread on the XBMC forum where you can watch the progress, leave your comments or ask help. Enjoy Xperience!