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beblu component Media Center system

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JonDixon 11th October 2005, 10:24 Quote
The hardware mpeg decode accelerator makes no difference in MCE as it is not supported. It is supported in one of the linux htpc software offerings but I cant remember which at the mo.
r00t69 11th October 2005, 11:23 Quote
Ask and you shall receive. Thanks guys, asked for this review about a month ago and here it is :).

After reading a review a couple of months ago over at Kustompc's forum about build quality issues and then seeing more build issues here does not bode well. The idea that they sent you a sample with a known quality issue shows either they’re complacent or telling a fib.

I wouldn’t mind but I really want these to be good as I think they’re a great idea and I’d like to buy one.

BTW, as you didn’t mention it I thought I would. Beblu sell the cases on their own so you can build your own system from scratch.
bigd 11th October 2005, 12:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonDixon
The hardware mpeg decode accelerator makes no difference in MCE as it is not supported.

I didnt think Media Centre handled any of the decode / encode of the video - I thought it was all handled by hardware (TV Tuner) and the MPEG codec you install? Don't some codecs support the VIA acceleration (if not, whats the point of it :))?
fev 11th October 2005, 15:31 Quote
Nice ikea table/sideboard thing... i use that one myself at home.

Shame they thought via was the way to go as a launch product.
Da Dego 11th October 2005, 15:44 Quote
Well, Via isn't an entirely bad way to go if you aren't using MCE (or winXP for that matter). But they just don't have a lot of horsepower (what do you expect from a completely fanless chip?)... great idea, sadly poor execution. I'm expecting Via to come out with some new lines to compete again in this area, but what they work best for really is small terminals for network access at the moment (I am building one for the mrs. in the kitchen to access her recipes, for example).

As for hardware, yes MCE supports hardware de/compression (we'll be covering this in more detail soon) and I believe the via chipset is supported..but you just can't do much with a 1ghz processor and onboard graphics.

Finally, there is a sad note to all of this...we're talking about a system that retails for over 900 quid. And it can't even power its OS of choice, and doesn't have dual tuner setup. As slick as the case design may be, we're looking at an overpriced product here, capitalizing on those who don't want to or can't build and configure a media center on their own.
RTT 11th October 2005, 18:32 Quote
£940 for that?
Bindibadgi 11th October 2005, 18:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTT
£940 for that?

Tis a lotta wonga. Kinda nice case, not too sure about the fans but it's ok. VIA EPIAs are desperately under powered, Pentium M, even Celeron M's are the way to go. I like the on switch and LCD and tbh, Wil, it puts your HTPC to shame but it's still yet could do with some improvements:

Slot loading DVD drive
Dual TV tuner?
Pentium M based/Wifi CF
90 degree fan blower like mini-mac? Would make it look better, perhaps.
Nicer feet
Looks a bit "bricky"
Nath 11th October 2005, 19:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
...kinda nice case....I like the on switch and LCD and tbh, Wil, it puts your HTPC to shame

I agree with that, it's quite a well presented system, but still £940 for an underpowered HTPC with pretty lights isn't something I'd go for.
Kevo 11th October 2005, 21:32 Quote
The clean lines of the design are destroyed by the ugly front USB and Firewire ports, I’m surprised they didn't go hole hog and stick some multi-coloured headphone/mic jacks on the front


Edit: Just noticed that they have put some jacks on the front of the thing. Ahahahahaha...

The LCD should also be flush to the front of the case, not stepped back it just looks cheap.
Kipman725 11th October 2005, 21:41 Quote
it looks good but they need a lower price and more powerfull hardware and to mount those ports in the side of the case. Also they could use myth tv on a quick booting linux distro (you don't want to wait 3mins to start recording) and they could save $150 on the asking price.
beblu 11th October 2005, 21:44 Quote
First of all I would like to say thank you to bit-tech.net for reviewing our system and to everyone here that has, and will be, posting their comments.

We would like to respond to a few of the issues and make some comments on both the review and the post above. The unit that was picked off the production line and sent to bit-tech did indeed have some manufacturing issues. It was one of a very few that did go out with these issues, it was unfortunate that it happened. beblu strives for a the highest level of quality and as we are a young company we have had to make some changes. What I would say is that anyone not completely happy with their unit can either return them for a full refund or send them back (at no cost to them) for any changes or repairs. It is our intent to offer a perfect system to everyone.

With regards to the performance: The main reason for launching with a Via based system, knowing they are underpowered for the resource hungry MCE, is that this is a competitive product to Tranquil, Hush Technologies, and a number of other manufacturers. In terms of cost the beblu unit not only costs less, but comes fully integrated with the functionality essential to a living room PC. The Via does though stand up to most MCE activity quite well considering its performance capability and for the non-power user provides a good all-round solution.

Our main activity is manufacturing the case itself and as such can be filled with any mini-ITX standard motherboard to suit individual needs. We will be launching both Pentium Mobile MCE and Via SP8000 MythTV (which is completely silent and outperforms the MCE SP13000 quite considerably) solutions for the end of the year.

We are very enthusiastic about the beblu products and feel strongly that while they may not be the best performing system (compared to a Pentium 4 ATX based system) they are the smallest most stylish set of cases on the market and a perfect solution for a contemporary living room.

I can be reached at susan'at'beblu.net if anyone has any questions.
frankyd 11th October 2005, 22:06 Quote
I’ve had a BeBlu Media Centre for the about a week now, and I’m thrilled with it. I did have a couple of initial problems: The Guide in Media Centre not displaying correctly, and I was unable to get my Media Centre keyboard to work, but a couple of e-mails later to their technical support and I was sorted.

I (thankfully) havent noticed any of the problems raised here - ‘movable’ power button) or the issues with the fan grill (although, I’m sure if I was to press it they would come loose!).



The 1.3Ghz cpu is, as you say, not quiet enough to be perfect, but certainly usable - especially for a home user (like me and my hubby) – hes not allowed near the machine now, too much Corri recorded! :D The only gripe I have with the hardware is the single tuner – as soon as a dual DVB-T card comes out, I’ll be upgrading.

Franky
Da Dego 11th October 2005, 22:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by beblu
Our main activity is manufacturing the case itself and as such can be filled with any mini-ITX standard motherboard to suit individual needs. We will be launching both Pentium Mobile MCE and Via SP8000 MythTV (which is completely silent and outperforms the MCE SP13000 quite considerably) solutions for the end of the year.
Welcome to our forums, and thanks for stopping by! :) It's very nice to see a company strive so hard as to immediately address concerns about their product.

Needless to say, we will be looking forward to your upcoming models, and will be happy to see the forward progress that your company has made with your product. As you can see by Wil's review and some of our readers' replies, there are improvements that we hope will be implemented in the next generation.

But there is no substitute for a company that is willing to come out and speak directly to us about your efforts, and I for one am glad to see this type of enthusiasm. Good luck on your upcoming launches, and we look forward to hearing and seeing some of the improvements take shape.
Warrior_Rocker 12th October 2005, 01:29 Quote
is it just more or did i find the perfect dual tuner card

http://evga.com/products/moreinfo.asp?pn=032-P1-NVTV-TX

i use the single one in my media center pc, it runs great, and its a low profile card too, that one is full height however its dual tuner, i have no real idea what those funky bnc looking ports on that uk card are, but im sure you could find something similar for the uk users, as for us people, the nvtv dual card is perfect, plus its made by nvidia, and nvidia stuff is some of the most supported for mce2005
Bindibadgi 12th October 2005, 12:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by beblu
First of all I would like to say thank you to bit-tech.net for reviewing our system and to everyone here that has, and will be, posting their comments.

We would like to respond to a few of the issues and make some comments on both the review and the post above. The unit that was picked off the production line and sent to bit-tech did indeed have some manufacturing issues. It was one of a very few that did go out with these issues, it was unfortunate that it happened. beblu strives for a the highest level of quality and as we are a young company we have had to make some changes. What I would say is that anyone not completely happy with their unit can either return them for a full refund or send them back (at no cost to them) for any changes or repairs. It is our intent to offer a perfect system to everyone.

With regards to the performance: The main reason for launching with a Via based system, knowing they are underpowered for the resource hungry MCE, is that this is a competitive product to Tranquil, Hush Technologies, and a number of other manufacturers. In terms of cost the beblu unit not only costs less, but comes fully integrated with the functionality essential to a living room PC. The Via does though stand up to most MCE activity quite well considering its performance capability and for the non-power user provides a good all-round solution.

Our main activity is manufacturing the case itself and as such can be filled with any mini-ITX standard motherboard to suit individual needs. We will be launching both Pentium Mobile MCE and Via SP8000 MythTV (which is completely silent and outperforms the MCE SP13000 quite considerably) solutions for the end of the year.

We are very enthusiastic about the beblu products and feel strongly that while they may not be the best performing system (compared to a Pentium 4 ATX based system) they are the smallest most stylish set of cases on the market and a perfect solution for a contemporary living room.

I can be reached at susan'at'beblu.net if anyone has any questions.

It's good to have feedback from a company that actually takes constructive critisism and also cares for its customers ;) ;) ;)
r00t69 12th October 2005, 16:51 Quote
I agree with comments above and recognise beblu's candour. As stated in my previous post I hope they get it right because I would be first to purchase a case.

However the fact remains, I have so far only read two reviews and both times the samples had build quality issues. As Tim Smalley just wrote in "Q.A. Gone M.I.A." if a company can't get a quality sample to a reviewer what hope does the average consumer have!
Bindibadgi 12th October 2005, 17:31 Quote
Well the difference is this is a small company with limited production issues compared to international motherboard manufacturers with huge supply chains and product cycles that have long standing 10/20+ year reps behind them.
tosyoko 12th October 2005, 22:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior_Rocker
is it just more or did i find the perfect dual tuner card
http://evga.com/products/moreinfo.asp?pn=032-P1-NVTV-TX

Nice card! Hadnt relised that nvidia made tv tuners too. Pity they dont make a digital card it seems only analogue.
I have a Tranquil VIA Media Centre, SP1300 board i believe, that i bought just over a month ago now. Cool system (although it cost me more than the reviewed unit, and does not have a front lcd), however, I've had no end of problems with the tuner they included, and have been looking at replacing it and so been thinking about throwing dual tuners in. What tuner was in this system? Although I don't want to have to pull my scsi card out of the machine, as I use it for storing the recorded stuff.
I want to put a dual digital tuner in, but cant seem to find any. only single. Moved on to looking at MCE certified usb tuners, and cant choose between the avermedia offering or the hauppauge. Anyone have opinions? Dont mind have them on usb, as they can sit ontop of the scsi drives :)

So - suggestions?

Mya
Warrior_Rocker 13th October 2005, 00:51 Quote
does anyone wanna tell me the difference between the digital and analoge cards?, personally since rf is an anloge signal, i fail to see how it can be digital, unless they mean the card can use 'digital cable' signals, which would be kinda cool, however i just dont have the need
Hwulex 13th October 2005, 10:24 Quote
A few quotes here mostly sum up my thoughts from the article.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTT
£940 for that?
Definitely the first thought that popped in to my head when I saw the price.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Tis a lotta wonga. Kinda nice case, not too sure about the fans but it's ok. VIA EPIAs are desperately under powered, Pentium M, even Celeron M's are the way to go. I like the on switch and LCD and tbh, Wil, it puts your HTPC to shame but it's still yet could do with some improvements:

Dual TV tuner?
Pentium M based/Wifi CF
90 degree fan blower like mini-mac? Would make it look better, perhaps.
Nicer feet
Looks a bit "bricky"
Firstly; I disagree with the 'bricky' comment. I'd much rather my kit looked like that than the way PS3 / XBox360 etc are going. Roundy crap that all looks completely different, don't stack, and will look totally dated in 12 months time. These remind me a little of the Cyrus boxen, which are just lurvely.

As such, I agree that this absolutely looks so much nicer than Wil's box sat there (sorry Wil). It's not that it looks bad, it's just freakin' huge.

One of my other thoughts, Bindi's mentioned, was about the WiFi. Several of the Epia boards come with onboard CF slots these days so why not stick in a CF WiFi card? Sorted.

Dual tuner would be nice, but (a) they've got to fit it in and (b) the price is high enough already!

The 40mm fans also concern me. They're the spawn of satan them little buggers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevo
The clean lines of the design are destroyed by the ugly front USB and Firewire ports, I’m surprised they didn't go hole hog and stick some multi-coloured headphone/mic jacks on the front

Edit: Just noticed that they have put some jacks on the front of the thing. Ahahahahaha...
One of the first things that struck me about the appearance as well. Those USB and FireWire ports are just plain wrong. I know there's not much you can do with them, but how about a little rubber cover like you get on your mobile, or the little sprung 'doors' like you get over a phone point, or something?

As for front speaker ports... headphones? Definitely useful, if you're not running through an amp. And they're not coloured, so they're not that bad. Tbh, I thought they were lights to show something plugged in to the USB to start with.





Oh, and guys; you mention the external PSU more than once, at one point even announcing it has a fan in it, yet there's no picture. :( If it's got a fan in it, I'm imagining it's no match box that can be tucked under your hi-fi shelf.
jezmck 13th October 2005, 12:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior_Rocker
does anyone wanna tell me the difference between the digital and analoge cards?, personally since rf is an anloge signal, i fail to see how it can be digital, unless they mean the card can use 'digital cable' signals, which would be kinda cool, however i just dont have the need
they'll be talking about digital terrestrial, i.e. through an aerial, a.k.a. FreeView.
beblu 17th October 2005, 17:37 Quote
I just wanted to quickly respond to a few queries and thoughts that where posted here on the forum.

For all you who are running Windows Media Center we have just finished our testing of the new Rollup 2. There are a few neat features but the most appropriate change to note is that there is an approximate 20% increase in performance. This actually makes the menu system even on a Via SP13000 much more fluid.

Regarding the price of the systems. The first thing I would mention - and it has already been mentioned here - is that you can purchase just the cases. This is probably more suitable for the enthusiast audience here. We are confident that the beblu cases offer a good value given their quality and what each case includes.

A quick note also on the front ports included in the bb013 case. Due to the suggestions here we have decided to bring out a version without these ports. This will be available in a couple of weeks and if you would like to pre-order this please contact us.

Thanks for everyones comments!
The_Pope 18th October 2005, 01:23 Quote
Thank you to Susan @ Beblu for the feedback. Many companies don't take the time to interact with their customers (or potential customers), so it's good to see that some concerns are actively being addressed.
fev 18th October 2005, 02:19 Quote
indeed thank you. I'm interested in the pricing of these cases... maybe room for a shuttle mobo in one... :D
The_Pope 18th October 2005, 05:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fev
I'm interested in the pricing of these cases...

http://www.beblu.net/wheretobuy/
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