beblu component Media Center system

Written by Wil Harris

October 11, 2005 | 08:56

Tags: #aluminium #beblu #component #epia #home-cinema #home-theater #home-theatre #lcd #media-center #media-centre #mini-itx #remote #system #wintv

Companies: #microsoft #via

First impressions

The case is made out of aluminium, and is surprisingly heavy duty. The finish is a matt silver - it has a classy, slightly industrial feel about it. The edges of the case are ridged, with the case designed to act as something of a heatsink.

Perhaps the second thing you notice - as you go to turn the machine on - is that it doesn't have a power switch. Instead, a touch sensitive button made out of the same aluminium as the rest of the faceplate sits flush on the front of the device. Next to it is an infra-red receiver - meaning you don't need the Microsoft USB dongle to use the included Media Center remote control. This is A Good Thing, and is a well integrated feature.

beblu component Media Center system Componenterised
There is a ring of acrylic around the touch sensitive button, which has been cunningly diffused. There is a blue power LED mounted at the top, and a white HDD activity LED mounted in the bottom. Combined, this gives a brilliant 'halo' effect when the machine is powered on.

Getting inside

Why not open it up, then? The beblu is held together with screws that have allen key heads, meaning you can't just pop them off. Once you are inside, however, you spot some fairly clever design work.

beblu component Media Center system Componenterised beblu component Media Center system Componenterised
The hard drive is mounted on the lid of the system, whilst the EPIA mainboard is obviously mounted at the rear. At the front you can see the custom-made circuit board which houses the front panel components - the connectors, the IR, the power button and the LCD screen, as well as a 40mm fan which blows air out through the bottom of the case.

beblu component Media Center system Componenterised beblu component Media Center system Componenterised
At the back, the WinTV card is mounted on a PCI riser, above the mainboard. If you're wondering where the PSU is, it's an external device, as with a lot of consumer electronics devices - the Gamecube being the most obvious example. There's also wiring for the custom power connector that runs to the secondary box which houses the DVD drive - there's not enough power travelling over USB to handle the power requirement on its own.
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