A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be in Berlin for the annual IFA consumer electronics trade show. In amongst a plethora of 3D TVs, sewing machines, jet washers and coffee makers (the scope of this show is wide) I was surprised to see Acer showing a home theatre PC. But not like those old-school monolithic beasts you may remember from years gone by. Oh no.
The Acer Revo Multimedia PC is one of a new breed of small, silent and powerful HTPCs designed for the Living Room. You may think that the future of Connected TV is slotting an Ethernet cable directly in the back of your screen, or via a set-top box with a groovy name, but a small footprint PC offers more power, more flexibility and fantastic entertainment experiences with platforms like Windows Media Center, XBMC and Boxee.
The Revo RL-100 looks like any other consumer electronics device in your TV cabinet, with DVD and Blu-ray options so you can replace those devices for a start. It’s powered by an AMD Athlon Neo II dual-core processor combined with NVIDIA’s ION GPU for 1080P high definition streaming. Connect it up to your TV or receiver courtesy of the HDMI and optical out ports and enjoy the hybrid TV tuner, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 500GB Hard drive, 802.11n wireless and Gigabit LAN all integrated in the box. Plug in, switch on and enjoy Live and Recorded TV, online video plus music, video and photos streamed across your local network.
But wait, there’s more! See that copper button under the Blu-ray drive? Hit it and out pops an illuminated multi-touch controller, which serves as remote control, wireless touchpad and keyboard. No one’s typing their next novel on this, but it’s ideal for web searching, tweeting, and the instant messaging. I know what you’re thinking – it’s going to chew batteries, isn’t it? Nope, it recharges when plugged back into the mother ship.
Expect to see the RL-100 is part of a suite of digital home products unveiled by Acer this month as they seek to invade living rooms all over the world. With this kind of kit, my door’s already open.