XStreamHD delivers HD video on demand throughout the whole home
So what is XstreamHD? Think HD PVR (1080p, 7.1 audio) with built in satellite decoder. Add in whole-house distribution via dedicated media receivers/gigabit ethernet. Toss in video on demand for the latest movies, sprinkle with 500GB of upgradeable storage and some really nice extras, and you have a pretty compelling product.
So let’s break that down. The XStreamHD system could be described as a media server but it’s much, much more. They’re selling a complete system that delivers 1080p content to your home via satellite and distributes it internally to wherever it’s needed. It’s completely PC independent, you just hook it up and go.
It’s pretty cheap too. For $399 you get XStreamHD server and one media receiver (price of the satellite dish has yet to be determined). The satellite beams 1080p content with 7.1 surround directly to the server, which sits out of the way in the garage (or wherever). The media receiver takes care of displaying the HD content on whatever TV it’s connected to.
The system will feed up to 4 media receivers at the same time in 1080p, each potentially watching something different.
The video-on-demand content is HD and they’re finalising various deals with content providers to ensure you can pre-order the latest movies for the day of release. The server will download the movies via satellite and store them so you can view them as soon as they’re available.
There’s more: If you have content in mpeg or H.264 format you can store it on the server and use their system to distribute it around the house. You can do the same with audio too – and they support my favourite lossless audio format FLAC, as well as MP3.
Got a PS3 in the game room? XStreamHD is DNLA certified, so it will use a PS3 for playback if you want.
The display adapter has a few tricks up it’s sleeve too. It’s fanless, meaning it’s completely silent. It also has a USB connector for your MP3 player so if you do have your music stored centrally and plug in the player, it will automatically convert your high quality music into MP3s.
The one downside I see is that the whole system runs over ethernet, meaning you have to run CAT5 around the house. This is unavoidable; it’s just not possible to do what they do with any other current technology. Personally I don’t have a problem with this, but I can see it being a stumbling block.
They’re launching in the USA in Q4 this year and have plans to come to Europe after that.