Microsoft's Media Center Extender is nothing new; it's been part of the Xbox 360 since the very beginning and MCE equipped devices from the likes of Linksys already exist. However, Linksys and Microsoft have partnered once again to present what they consider to be third generation of Media Center Extenders in the shape of two new devices, the DMA 2100 (pictured below) and DMA 2200.
Both devices feature both Ethernet and Dual-Band Wireless-N for smooth media streaming from a Home Theatre PC, including both standard definition and high definition content up to 1080p. Connectivity includes both Component and HDCP enabled HDMI, while you benefit from all the usual features of Media Center such as direct access to all your music, photos and video content stored on your PC as well on NAS appliances. Naturally, you can also use the new devices for watching and recording TV, though once again this does rely on one having a PC capable of this linked to the network.
What really sets these new devices apart, however, is codec support. Whereas previous versions of MCE would only support formats native to Windows, Linksys has added Xvid codec support to its devices. Regrettably, Microsoft seems keen to stress that it's up to the partners to add this functionality and it has yet to be drawn on whether it'll be adding support for Xvid support to the Xbox 360 any time soon.
In addition to the streaming capabilities the DMA 2200 (pictured above) adds a 720p/1080i upscaling DVD player to the mix, bringing the price up to £229. If you don't require such a feature, the standard DMA 2100 will set you back £199 and both should be available some time this month.