The µDMS that I have right now is a very early sample and Hi-Grade won’t have full production units for customers until the end of March. If you wanted to order a system exactly like the one I’m reviewing here it would set you back a very reasonable £799 including VAT. That’s a great price considering that you’re getting truly cutting edge technology and something that’s very small and very quiet as well. Personally I’d budget a little more and go for the slightly faster CPU, more system memory and a digital TV tuner – it would be money well spent in the long run.
The price quoted above doesn’t include a screen, but to be honest a machine like this should be married to that big LCD TV that’s hanging on your wall. In the early days of Media Center it was a nightmare trying to get a PC to output a decent image to your bog standard TV, but now that high definition LCD TVs are becoming more common, this is less of a problem. If you do want a screen with it, Hi-Grade will be happy to provide one – I guess there’s no reason that you couldn’t use a µDMS as your main PC and still take advantage of all the Viiv and Media Center features.
Hats off to Hi-Grade for getting the first Viiv machine into the TrustedReviews lab, but respect should also be given for the type of machine. It would have been easy to create a Viiv system in a desktop case that would spoil your living room, using full size, loud components. But Hi-Grade has shown us what a Viiv PC should look like, and in the process tempting many buyers that otherwise wouldn’t consider a PC in the living room.
It’s hard to say whether Viiv will be a resounding success or not, but one thing’s for sure, Intel is convinced that the Digital Home is going to happen and that Viiv will be a big part of it. Much depends on how many content providers go down the Viiv route and also whether Microsoft finally puts some marketing budget behind Media Center.
But none of that should distract from the fact that the µDMS is a great little machine – even it were just a standard Media Center box it would be good, but the fact that it’s also Viiv compliant makes it an even more attractive prospect. A box like this also shows what an awesome chip the Core Duo is and proves that it doesn’t have to be limited to notebooks. If you’ve been holding off on buying a Media Center PC, take a look at the Hi-Grade µDMS, it might make you take the plunge.