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Media center appliances network HD video

Jul 14, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

LaCie is shipping two Linux-based, WiFi-enabled HD media players, providing 500GB or 1TB of storage and UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) access to media content. The LaCinema Black Play offers 1080p HD playback, while the LaCinema Black Record also provides DVR capability, says LaCie.

Designed to be used with an attached HDTV, the LaCinema Black products are capable of decoding 1080p resolution movies and HD JPEG photos, while providing 1080i upscaling of SD (standard definition) movies, says LaCie. The LaCinema Black Record device offers DVR (digital video recorder) capability, with the ability to record, pause, and rewind TV shows, with the support of a connected set-top box or cable converter.

LaCinema Black Record

(Click to enlarge)

The LaCinema Black devices come with a remote for direct access to features via the TV display. Users can browse media from connected Windows XP or Vista PCs via UPnP, as well as create and access photo slideshows or music playlists, says LaCie. A parental control feature is included to password-protect files, the company adds.

LaCinema Black Record in typical network configuration
(Click to enlarge)

LaCie did not offer details on the processor or memory included in the systems, but says that the devices include Ethernet ports, as well as 802.11n WiFi. Three USB ports are provided for additional storage expansion, beyond the 500GB (standard) or 1TB (optional) configurations. The USB ports can also be used to directly connect digital video and still cameras, says the company.

Both systems offer HDMI, component, and composite video outputs, plus both digital and analog audio outputs. The Black Record model also supplies analog composite video or S-Video inputs, as well as analog stereo audio inputs. Otherwise, the two models appear to provide identical hardware.

LaCinema Black Record (rear view)

(Click to enlarge)

LaCie spokespeople have confirmed that the devices are equipped with the company's own LaCix embedded Linux implementation. LaCix is used in a variety of LaCie network-attached storage (NAS) devices, including its new SOHO network-attached storage device, the d2 Network. Like the d2 Network, the LaCinema Black models were designed by Neil Poulton.

LaCinema Black Play (rear view)

(Click to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the LaCinema Black Play and Black Record include:

  • Storage — 500GB HDD (1TB optional)
  • Maximum resolution — 1920 x 1080p (upscaling to 1080i for SD movies); supports PAL and NTSC
  • Video codecs — MPEG-1, MPEG-2 / HD, MPEG-4, DIVX, XVID, H.264 HD, WMV9 HD
  • Video formats — AVI, DIVX, MPG, MP4, MKV, WMV, MOV, ISO, VOB, IFO, ASF, TS, TP, TRP, M2TS
  • Photo formats — JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIF
  • Audio formats — MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, AC3, MP4, WAV/LPCM
  • Outputs — HDMI; Component (YUV); Composite (CVBS); Optical Audio; Audio Stereo
  • Inputs (Black Record model only) — Analog composite video or S-Video; analog stereo audio
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • WiFi — 802.11n
  • USB — 3 x USB 2.0 (2 x host; 1 x device)
  • Other features:
    • UPnP client player
    • DVR (Black Record only)
    • DTS pass-through to compatible audio amplifier
    • M3U playlist
    • Remote control
  • Dimensions — 9.2 x 8.8 x 1.8 inches (234 x 225 x 46mm)
  • Weight — 67 oz. (1900 g)
  • Operating system — LaCix Linux; requires Windows XP or Vista desktop with min. 500MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, and WiFi 802.11g, 802.11n, or Ethernet for network sharing

Stated Patrick Salin, LaCie Multimedia Business Unit Manager, "With LaCinema Black products, users can access media over their network, listen to music, sort photos, record TV programs, and ultimately get the desired experience from their media collection - all from one product."


The LaCinema Black products are available through the LaCie Online Store or LaCie resellers at the suggested retail price of $400 (Black Play) or $450 (Black Record). For the 1TB option on either product, add $50.

More information on the Black Play model may be found here, and more on the Black Record should be here.

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