By >Daimaou - G.G-B
The Ultimate DivX Box Killer: Dell Studio Hybrid Hands-on and Quick Review
For years I spent an amazing amount of money and time looking for the ultimate DivX box to plug into my TV. While most were made in Korea, I got tired of buying a new one every time a new codec was released.
Having a PC in the living room would have been the perfect choice. Hardware can be upgraded when needed, and with CCCP codec or VLC you can watch virtually anything from crappy SD to fantastic HD videos. My other problem was convincing my wife that NO, a huge white desktop in the living room isn’t strange… After several attempts I gave up and removed it.
Then some months ago the Dell Studio Hybrid arrived… Nice design, Blu-ray, decent CPU, amount of RAM, with HDD, HDMI, optical output, and Windows Media Center.
At first I was skeptical. Yes, Dell Studio specs are nice, even with the integrated Intel video card, but will my MKV files, DVD, and Blu-ray render as well on my DivX box or PS3? Will it be as simple to use as the previously mentioned product?
Believe it or not, but YES, HELL YES! Plugged into my Sharp Aquos LCD TV via HDMI, the picture was perfect. Thanks to my Vista Ultimate MCE (media center) I was capable of playing all my files, even MKV, in a blast of color and a gorgeous 5.1 sound (Dell Studio plugged to my home-theater amp). Blu-rays and DVD rendered pretty well too, and I was finally able to enjoy a real multimedia experience.
Dell Studio alone isn’t perfect. If you really want the ultimate setting, go and buy Logitech’s diNovo Mini. This keyboard is made for people who want the best of MCE while having a real keyboard for Net surfing.
Even though I’m perfectly happy with the Dell Studio, and I’ll never spend money on a dedicated DivX box again, there are still some flaws that I’d like Dell to fix in the future.
PowerDVD 8 is the best PC DVD / Blu-ray player available, but it’s even better on a GeForce video card. Unfortunately the Dell Studio is stuck with an Intel. Also, it would be perfect if Dell sold the studio with an optional TV tuner. Even if one can be plugged in through a USB, it’s way more convenient to have it on the desktop rather than out.
If you’re like me and don’t really care about a TV tuner thingy, and want to rid yourself of the burden of purchasing a new DviX box each time a new codec comes out, the Dell Studio is the perfect solution. Elegant and affordable, I highly recommend it to anyone who’s fed-up with all the crappy DivX boxes with firmware updates that never come.