Fiire announced its new products


After a few months silence Fiire has announced its new products for LinuxMCE smarthome system. They include Fiire12TB, FiirePrestigio, FiirePrestigio Lite and FiireInvisible.

New core Fiire12TB comes now with 12TB storage with built-in RAID to store media content. Additionally the box sports Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo 3.0 GHz, 2GB RAM, 500GB system HDD, Dual Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1 HD Audio with analog, SPDIF optical and coax/RCA, nVidia 7150 graphics with HDMI and VGA connectors and DVD RW. It’s quiet and low-heat/power model and fits in a standard A/V rack. The price of Fiire12TB is $1899 without HDD for media storage.

FiirePrestige is an elegant media director fitted into aluminum case a built-in VFD display and i/r receiver. It’s equiped by Intel® Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4 GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD (to use it as a core), Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1 HD audio, with analog and SPDIF coax/RCA fro digital audio, nVidia 7150 graphics with HDMI output, DVD RW. The FiirePrestige Lite has the same spec except luxury case and VFD display. The price of FiirePrestige and FiirePrestige Lite is $899 and $549 respectively.

FiireInvisible is a slim 2″ silent VESA and Wall mount media director. It features AMD BE 2400 processor, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD (for core/hybrid installation), Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1 HD audio, with analog and SPDIF coax/RCA fro digital audio, nVidia 7050 graphics with HDMI, VGA, Component and S-video connectors. Plus VESA and WALL mounting kit is included into package. The price of FiireInvisible is $799.

Fiire core and media director use noiseless components and support HD (1080i), de-interlacing, OpenGL 3D effects, and alpha blending. Also all media directors can be used as core/hybrid as well. Core (Fiire12TB or some of media directors with HDD) comes with pre-installed and pre-configured LinuxMCE 0710.

It seems Fiire took in to account negative experience with its previous hardware. Especially with FiireStation 1″ and 2.2″. According to opinion of folks who bought previous Fiire stuff, only remote with gyroscope FiireChief was a good acquisition. Hope the new Fiire products justify hopes and spent money.

Serious limitaions of FiireStation 1″ and 2.2″

I already blogged about Fiire products: FiireEngine, FiireStation and FiireChief. They should be 100% compatible with LinuxMCE. So, when I came to the point to buy VESA mount media director I started to think about 1″ FiireStation. According to its specification the device supports alpha blended UI2. But practically that’s not 100% true. It supports UI2 with Overlay. But it isn’t the biggest problem. Because it uses VIA Chrome graphical chip the 1″ FiireStation comes with custom image based on Kubuntu 6.10 without KDE and possibility to run MythTV locally. So, if you’re gonna spend about $900 you can do it just buying 1″ FiireStation.

Joyless news is that. The VIA based PC is the only one variant to have a VESA mounted media director. But basically it’ll support only UI1 which is too pure and old looking for the modern on-screen menu.

After discussion with one of LinuxMCE developers I decided to try MM200. It’s based on aOpen motherboard, has Intel graphical chip, supported UI2 with Overlay and supports HDTV (at least 720p). Also it’s slim enough to be mounted behind TV (just need to make custom fasteners) and its price is reasonable.

Invisible Media Director for LinuxMCE

Fiire Station 1

Fiire announced availability of its media client for LinuxMCE – FiireStation 1. It is designed to be installed on the VESA standard mounting on the back of most current LCD or plasma TV. FiireStation is thick, noiseless and power. It features 1.5 GHz processor and 512 MB of ram. High performance graphic subsystem based on Via UniChrome Pro II with a sophisticated hardware accelerated video decoder/renderer allows to display analog and digital video interfaces and resolutions from Standard Definition to 720P and 1080i. Audio support is also nice – up to 7.1 channels via S/PDIF and 2 channels of 192/24 analog audio. The FiireStation 1 supports Alpha Blended LinuxMCE user interface with 3D effects (I suspect that it can be used with Plutohome as well).

The big advantage of FiireStation 1 is its form-factor which allows to hide it (doesn’t matter how it looks like), get completely fanless, ventless and noiseless solution much enough to play full HDTV. The bad things are coming from the good side. Because the FiireStation 1 is gonna be behind TV there is no way to play DVD directly on that media client. Another disadvantage is leak of built-in IR receiver to use ordinary remote control (if somebody doesn’t like the coolest FiireChief).

The price of the FiireStation 1 is not too cheap as we want. It’s about 900 dollars which is more expensive than FiireEngine.

Set your house on Fiire!

Fiire Engine

LinuxMCE is a very young project. It was forked from Plutohome a couple months ago. However, a San Francisco startup Fiire already use it for its solution. The Fiire system includes three main components: Fiire Engine, Fiire Station and Fiire Chief.

Fiire Engine actually is a core/hybrid. It offers up to 6Tb of RAID storage for your media content. The Fiire Engine can be used as media center as well. It supports amazing looking Alpha Blended GUI with 3D effects and Full-HDTV (thanks to nVidia 6200 graphics).

Fiire Station
is a diskless, noiseless PC which is used as a client for Fiire Engine. It is available in 3 versions: a 1″ fanless vent-less wall or VESA mount, a set-top box, and a 2.2″ wall mount or horizontal mount. They have approximately the same set of features (maybe set-top-box includes more) and differ a form-factor. So, you can choose appopriate one. All Fiire Stations also support Alpha Blended GUI with 3D effects and HDTV although they use modern Via UniChrome Pro II PC graphics.

Fiire Chief basically is remote control. But it isn’t ordinary one. Thanks to built-in gyroscope the Fiire Chief combines remote control and pointer (like Gyration mouse). The remote uses RF to send commands with a range of approx. 50’. It has 3 specialized ‘gyro’ buttons in the middle that let you control every function using only those 3 buttons and gestural movements. Another cool feature of Fiire Chief is ‘Follow-Me’. Before only mobile phone with running Mobile Orbiter offers that feature via Bluetooth. Now because Fiire is able to track each remote individually, you can use it with your remote. Sure, the Fiire Chief can be used as ordinary remote. It has has a universal i/r remote built-in with both pre-stored codes and learning.

The Fiire Engine, Fiire Station and Fiire Chief are available with price $799.00, $499.00 and $149.00 respectively.