Most VidaBox Media Extenders have borne a closer similarity to mini PCs than to the kind of equipment you’d stack on top of a home theater receiver. That’s already been changing, but the company’s new vPlayer and vStreamer are virtually invisible in the living room by comparison. Either has a newly streamlined, stackable design that feels entirely at home in the den and keeps the noisy buzzes and whines to a minimum through a new cooling system. Although VidaBox is wonderfully vague about specs — both hubs tout a “dual core processor,” for example — its units have been modernized enough to use a thrifty 35W of typical power. The boxes lack dedicated media storage space and curiously have to be factory upgraded to get HDMI 1.4 instead of 1.3, but they’ll output 7.1-channel audio and 1080p video while integrating with most common home automation systems over RS-232. We haven’t been quoted prices to simplify any buying decisions; we expect the gap to be small between the two offerings, since the vPlayer and vStreamer are identical on the inside except for the vPlayer’s Blu-ray drive. Dealers will have a better answer for you when VidaBox starts shipping the extender duo on September 4th.
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