The Next Box

My lifelong (or so it would seem) pursuit of a digital jukebox has perhaps been satisfied. The somewhat stop-gap Mini-ITX rig is now well kitted out with a handy ATI Remote Wonder, silent 120GB hard drive and whisper-quiet undervolted 8cm case fan. I never did bother to get an Audiotron. The new models never came out, and it became obvious that my mini media server could do everything the Audiotron could all on its own (with the exception of an LCD display). It's running cool and silent now, in constant operation as a mega jukebox and internet radio. Really, it's all I wanted.

But that was then, and this is now. The realm of possibilities and wantabilities have greatly expanded in the past year. With the quest for a digital jukebox for my vast music library sated, the tantalizing possibility of building a new box as a digital video recorder (DVR, PVR, DIY-TiVo, etc) and living room gaming machine is now taunting me. There are a few nice developments just around the corner, such as the Nano-ITX, with onboard MPEG2/4 decoding/encoding. The only trouble seems to be how to connect a TV tuner card. Another juicy development is the advent of high performance, low power/heat Pentium-M processors (of Centrino fame) for SFF desktop machines. This brings the possibility of a cool and silent system that rivals my main desktop. Check out some of the early samples at

Posted on May 7, 2004 and filed under Geek Gear.