Shuttle has had great success with their small footprint barebones systems. They are now trying to tap into the Media Center PC arena, their XPC M1000 being their latest offering. Can they put together a package that incorporates everything that is required into a family-room friendly package?
ExtremeTech: The Shuttle XPC M1000 feels like a work in progress. Since the list price of the system is $1,899, that’s a lot to pay for a system that feels more like a late beta. The DVD glitches when routed through component video and issues with multichannel digital audio playback certainly gave us pause. The M1000 hasn’t quite hit store shelves yet, and if Shuttle can work out the issues we uncovered, then the M1000 can be a robust addition to some home theater systems.
Even if it were flawless, however, the M1000 still has limited utility, particularly when you consider the high cost. The lack of IR blasters or HDTV tuner reduces the system to a glorified PVR if you’re considering it for TV recording. If you also like the idea of having your photos online and digital music readily available, then it’s an interesting option, provided you’re willing to live with analog outputs for multichannel audio.
AnandTech: Reviewing a device like the M1000 is difficult, as there’s far more to it than hardware performance and features. There are likely many people who will be absolutely satisfied with the capabilities of the M1000. If you want a great looking HTPC and you don’t want to assemble the system yourself, this is the best offering that we’ve seen. The Pentium M processor provides for low heat and power requirements, the case is similar in size to most A/V equipment, and it has everything that you need from a single vendor. The roughly $2000 price is higher than even faster mid-range computers, but someone looking for a complete HTPC solution won’t have many other options. The low power and heat design could easily be worth hundreds of dollars from an A/V perspective.
The problem is, someone looking for an expensive but capable HTPC probably has some other wants as well. HDTV compatibility is a major flaw in the design. Sure, you can watch DVDs without trouble, and you can even download movies from the Internet and watch them on your HTPC. The NVIDIA output, either through component or DVI to an HDTV, works great. The inability to record or view HDTV broadcasts on its own makes this, at best, a secondary A/V component for many people. If Shuttle could add cards with HDTV support as well as SDTV support in place of the current AverMedia cards, the HDTV recording would be better, but it still wouldn’t be perfect. (We’d love to see a card with component-in connections, if someone would create such a card…)
PCPRO: Shuttle has done it again: fantastic consumer-style looks, quiet operation and great connectivity make this a fine choice. Given Shuttle’s record with small-form-factor PCs, we were excited when we heard news of its foray into the world of hi-fi-style Media Centers. The result is this, the Shuttle XPC M1000, and it’s undoubtedly the closest thing we have to an entertainment chassis. It looks and feels like a games console, or a VCR with modern curves.
While a nice little package, I have to agree that without HD support, I have no interest. I can pay a few bucks a month to my cable company to get HD compatible DVR, if I were to plunk down a couple grand for a Media Center, I certainly wouldn’t want to lose that capability.
Posted by Jeff