At last a sensible media extender?Now if you’re running Windows XP Media Centre Edition and own an Xbox 360, you’ll no doubt be taking advantage of the media extender abilities of the Xbox 360 and have been streaming content from your MCE PC for a while now. Even better, if you have a freeview capable TV card in your MCE PC, you can stream the TV into your living room... cool.
But what if you don’t have Windows MCE? What if you don’t have an Xbox 360? Or a TV card for that matter? To get the set-up mentioned above you’re looking at an investment upwards of £300 and then you’re limited to the formats of movies that you can stream over the network from you’re MCE PC.
Up until now there’s not been much in the way of alternatives, of course, you could just buy a straight media extender box, but these are pricey for what they are and what they do, and you’ve still got to fork or for a copy of Media Centre Edition and a TV card.
This is where the DDream-X5 comes in.
Available in two flavours, DVB-T (terrestrial broadcast) and DVB-S (satellite broadcast), the DDream-X5 is a media extender and freeview signal decoder rolled into one... but it does much more than that too. The boffins at WORLDSAT have developed a nifty bit of software that allows you the media capabilities of Windows MCE but without the need to have anything other than standard Windows XP installed on your machine.
Connecting to your network via the built-in Ethernet port and connecting to your TV via SCART, the DDream-X5 software installed on your PC will allow you to stream any media from your PC across the network and onto your TV screen.
When it hits the UK, the DDream-X5 will retail at approximately £99, making it a third of the price of the Xbox 360 solution and cheaper than many less functional media extenders. You’ll gain access to all the normal freeview channels and be able to stream most any movie, music and still image formats onto your TV.
And if that weren’t enough, the DDream-X5 will even allow you to have PVR (personal video recording) back onto your PC’s hard drive, letting your pause, rewind and fast forward live TV or just do the more traditional straight recording.
Outputs for the DDream-X5 allow for aerial pass through, SCART and a programmable auxillary SCART connections as well as connections for home theatre sound. And superbly, if you’ve more than one DDream-X5, they don’t interfere with each other, allowing users to watch different channels independently, stream different media simultaneously and even play DVDs in the PC’s DVD drive.
We’ll bring you more on the DDream-X5 soon.[advert]