updated 08:55 am EDT, Fri September 7, 2007
MS Win Media Extenders
A series of new network hubs for Windows Media Center PCs will bring greatly expanded features versus earlier devices, according to Microsoft and its suppliers. A new series of Windows Media Extenders from several companies will take advantage of updated hardware and software to play formats often used by hobbyists but rarely supported by network hubs such as DivX or XviD, allowing TVs and other devices across the home to play these videos without a direct connection. The new update will also allow protected HD video at a full 1080p to be distributed across a network, including wirelessly; devices that use 802.11n Wi-Fi will be able to feed as many as six HD shows across a network at once, Microsoft claims.
Devices are expected to launch near the end of September from Cisco's brand Linksys, D-Link, and specialty home theater PC house Niveus. The latter has already a device known as the Niveus Media Extender. The new network system is designed to stream video at 1080p in up to five zones and will allow two different media types to be played at the same time, according to the company. Cooling will be completely passive through the firm's custom Glacier system, and the design should be mountable in a rack for custom home theater installations. Pricing, performance, and other details should be available for the Niveus hardware by September 27th.