Tegra appears in home media player box

A really tiny box with a lot of features

IT’S TAKEN QUITE some time for Tegra powered devices to turn up in the market, although we spotted an unusual implementation by a company called Yuan High-Tech. The company in question mostly makes PC TV-tuners and surveillance solutions, but was displaying its A-Box mini at Computex which is pretty much a tiny Tegra powered computer.

There are already plenty of media players on the market that easily connect to your TV via HDMI and allow you to play back a wide range of video formats, but the A-Box is a lot more than just a media player. It appears to be available with a few various operating systems, although the demo unit at Computex was running Windows CE with a custom UI. Yuan is also offering the A-Box with Android, Ubuntu and supposedly other flavours of Linux, as well as Google’s Chrome OS.

This means that the A-Box is also a very compact computer which is capable of running a somewhat limited selection of software, at least in the case of the Windows CE demo unit. The model on display had Firefox on it for web access, but otherwise looked fairly basic in terms of applications. Yuan has made its own TV application for the A-Box which allows it to work with a wide range of USB TV-tuners from Yuan supporting all the common standards such as DVB-T, ATSC, ISDB-T and DMB-T.

On the hardware side you’re looking at a Tegra 650 SoC clocked at 750MHz. This is paired with 512MB of RAM and 512MB of NAND Flash for the OS and main applications. The A-Box can also be kitted out with up to 32GB of EMMC storage memory internally. It has a 10/100Mbit Ethernet port and has optional support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. It also features three USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI 1.3 port, an internal analogue TV-tuner/cable TV input with matching antenna connector and a 3.5mm stereo audio jack.

Overall it’s a pretty nifty little box which will handle H.264, MPEG2/4, DivX, Xvid, Flash and WMV video at up to 1080p/30fps. It will also play back MP3, AAC, AC3, WMA and OGG audio files as well as display JPG, PNG and BMP pictures on your TV. It will play back files either from an attached storage device or it can stream over the network. We don’t know how much the A-Box costs, although it’s likely to be sold under various other names once it hits retail, so keep your eyes open for it, if it’s the kind of things you’ve been waiting for.

Yuan was also showing off another little gadget that allows you to remotely access your PC over a network connection called the DK-100. The general appearance is similar to the A-Box, but the hardware is different. It has an Ethernet port, a D-sub connector, an audio jack, an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports and a mini USB 2.0 port.

You connect the DK-100 to your network or via the mini USB port and we presume you have to install some kind of software on your PC – although this wasn’t quite clear – and it then you’ll have access to your desktop on a remote display, such as your living room TV. This sounds like a great little device and hopefully it’ll turn up shortly for an affordable price, as we’d definitely be interested in one of these to use as an easy way to watch downloaded and streaming content on our TV.S|A

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