Prismiq Media Player
By Steven Kramer
You've done all the work installing your customer's media center, and down the hall sits a super fast computer attached to the Internet via broadband. There are gigabytes of songs, video, stills and links to favorite Internet radio stations, but they aren't connected to the A/V system and the customer wants to know why not. The PRISMIQ Media Center is designed to act as a simple, powerful and affordable PC-A/V bridge.
The PRISMIQ set-top box sits within the home theater set up and connects to a home computer network via wireless or Ethernet connection. The accompanying Windows-compliant MediaManager software can detect suitable files anywhere on the home network and serve them to the MediaPlayer set-top box. The PRISMIQ can play MP3s, Dolby Digital material (in hardware), WAV files, 18-bit stereo and S/PDIF digital audio streams, as well as Shoutcast and WMA Internet radio. It will also transmit video files in MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (in hardware), MPEG-4 and DivX, and digital photos in JPG, GIF and PNG formats. Users can browse the Web and have access to AOL-compatible Instant Messaging. There are no service fees and software upgrades are free. The architecture of the MediaPlayer is software upgradeable, to allow for new features in the future. PVR functionality is in the works, scheduled to be available in Q4.
The Media Player includes outputs for S-Video, composite video, S/PDIF and RCA audio (L/R stereo). Inputs are limited to an Ethernet connection and PCMCIA card slot for 802.11a/b/g. There is also an optional wireless keyboard available, which includes all the features and functionality of the remote control, but allows the user to more easily enter text while surfing the Web and chatting.
Setup was very easy, I simply picked a free A/V input on the back of my receiver and plugged in the , composite video, S/PDIF, and RCA audio (L/R stereo) plugs as well as the PCMCIA card for our Wi-Fi network using 802.11b. The MediaManager software also installed without a hitch. It asked where I wanted it to look for media and then found everything I had preloaded. I powered everything up and the unit worked immediately, doing everything it was supposed to do.