Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

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Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:39 am

Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Cutting-edge technology is coming home with the Alienware High Definition Media Server. With wireless high definition media streaming, full digital home automation readiness, 4 terabytes of hot swappable hard disk drive content storage, and Blu-ray high definition movies, your house just got a whole lot smarter. Read on to see our thoughts on a $7,000 HD media server!

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In a world that is moving towards complete home integration, Alienware has drawn first blood and set a high standard for other to beat.


Article Title: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/696/1/
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby martini161 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:03 pm

omg :ANAL: i gotta go change my underwhere.

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how do those ir/audio connections interface with the mother board? and is the preamp of somthing similar availibe COTS?
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:13 pm

It's actually on the board. You will also notice they dropped the PS2 port and 2 USB's off the board to the left of that. Alienware did customize the board a bit from what we can tell, which is also why the BIOS is not the standard one.
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby martini161 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:23 pm

darn, so you wouldnt be able to pick up a preamp for a OTS mobo? and how do those cable cards interface? im assuming its custom as well. never figured out cable cards. do you like get them from your cable provider or something?
Intel’s Core 2 Quad processor powers this beast to talk with every room of the house if necessary. This is a perfect example of how Intel wants to use its Viiv architecture – Intel’s hafnium-infused 45nm multi-core predecessors designed for HD audio and video.

so can you get either a dual or quad core? and what exactly is viiv anyway?
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Digital Puppy » Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:02 am

More info on Viiv here.
The new Intel® Core™2 processor with Viiv™ technology delivers full, gorgeous HD video and luxurious HD audio, without stuttering or choppiness. Available with 2, or even 4, glorious hafnium-infused processor cores, it's the first processor built specifically for a sensational HD experience.

Depending on the configuration you order, you can get the HDMS with either Dual, or Quad core. Also, you can get, one or two CableCARDS, or non with two Coax inputs. You can mix and match the inputs a number of different ways. I believe the Dual CableCARD is the most expensive set up though.
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby DMB2000uk » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:06 am

Man, after reading this review I have silly thoughts running through my head about hardwiring my house with gigabit cable and having a media server too.

Not going to happen though :P

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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Digital Puppy » Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:04 am

Dan-

Give in to the Dark Side...let the Gigabit run through your house.

It is your destiny!
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby gwolfman » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:03 am

Thanks for the review, quite interesting!

What software was used to play the Fifth Element?

Take out the CableCard TV turners and post some pictures please! :)
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby gwolfman » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:05 am

Digital Puppy wrote:Dan-

Give in to the Dark Side...let the Gigabit run through your house.

It is your destiny!

I did that a few months ago. :) I'm too weak, I gave in pretty easily because of "you know who" ====> :snakeman:
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Digital Puppy » Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:16 pm

gwolfman wrote:Thanks for the review, quite interesting!

What software was used to play the Fifth Element?

Take out the CableCard TV turners and post some pictures please! :)

We mainly used CyberLink's PowerDVD. The screen caps that we posted were obviously reduced tremendously. Not sure I have to say it, but the picture looked great!!

The box that Alienware sent us was configured for a Dual-CableCARD. The motherboard is an altered version of the Asus Maximum Extreme so we aren't exactly sure how they integrated the CableCARD inputs.
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Digital Puppy » Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:22 pm

martini161 wrote:darn, so you wouldnt be able to pick up a preamp for a OTS mobo? and how do those cable cards interface? im assuming its custom as well. never figured out cable cards. do you like get them from your cable provider or something?

Your get the CableCARDS from your Cable provider. In my area, they have a slightly lower monthly fee than does the HD DVR boxes. When they first came out Time Warner let me have it for free. About a year later, they are charging about $9-$12 for them.
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby gwolfman » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:21 pm

Digital Puppy wrote:We mainly used CyberLink's PowerDVD...

The box that Alienware sent us was configured for a Dual-CableCARD. ...so we aren't exactly sure how they integrated the CableCARD inputs.

That's the software I use on my HTPC, I was curious as to what they included with the server to see if it would be a good option for me to use. Looks like we're all in the same Cyberlink boat.

Yea, I saw the dual CableCARD setup, and that's why I wanted to ask for more details about it. So far, I don't know of any commercial product (tuner for PC) available to the end-users that can accept cableCards. Anyone? Were you not able to take it apart and peak at them or what?
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Digital Puppy » Thu May 01, 2008 12:30 pm

We took it apart as much as we could without doing damage to the system. The entire back plate was a custom build for Alienware. Inside, it was just as complicated. let me see if I can get read the markings on the photos we took of the interior. It might help to identify the commercial equivalent.
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby gwolfman » Mon May 05, 2008 8:43 am

Digital Puppy wrote:We took it apart as much as we could without doing damage to the system. The entire back plate was a custom build for Alienware. Inside, it was just as complicated. let me see if I can get read the markings on the photos we took of the interior. It might help to identify the commercial equivalent.

Sweet. Let me know if you find anything out. So far all I've been able to dig up on CableCard tuners is that they're specifically released or allowed to be release by OEM manufacturers in specially designed setups (with possibly specific BIOSes) and it must pass some certification before it's allowed to be released. Anyone heard anything one these details?
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby gwolfman » Wed May 07, 2008 9:30 am

Any luck? Does anyone have any suggestions for me: I'm looking to get cable or satellite, but would like to incorporate my tv viewing with my HTPC and I would also like to to record my shows (DVR/PVR functionality). Any ideas on the best way and best hardware to do this? I've been looking at some HDTV tuners, but from my understanding they cannot record content unless it's OTA? or is it limited to non-premium content only? But I'd like to, if possible, be able to record from those as well.
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Re: Alienware High Definition Media Server Review

Postby Digital Puppy » Fri May 09, 2008 8:54 am

gwolfman wrote:Any luck? Does anyone have any suggestions for me: I'm looking to get cable or satellite, but would like to incorporate my tv viewing with my HTPC and I would also like to to record my shows (DVR/PVR functionality). Any ideas on the best way and best hardware to do this? I've been looking at some HDTV tuners, but from my understanding they cannot record content unless it's OTA? or is it limited to non-premium content only? But I'd like to, if possible, be able to record from those as well.

I think for what you are trying to do you, you should start by looking at tv tuner cards like Pinnacle or VisionTek. Most digital cable companies broadcast in ClearQAM (unencrypted digital cable) so that these cards work pretty well (including premium content). Of course you can go over-the-air as well.

Depending on what you are looking for and what your cable provider you have, you should be able to use a tv tuner card for undre $100.

Pinnacle - solutions under $100.

Haupaugge - works with Cable and Satellite

VisionTek - similar to Pinnacle in price and functionality

That should get you started.
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