Revo HTPC
13Jun/110

Acer Revo RL100 Finally Shipping in the US

That is right the Revo RL100 which I got my hands on in Munich airport a ways back is finally shipping in the US. It will most likely be available at Newegg and Amazon, however at time of posting they were not listed yet. Acer has also announced the 2 different configurations which will launch and they have kept it nice and simple.with the only difference being a blu-ray  upgrade on the drive. For only $500 you will get a 1.3GHz AMD Athlon II CPU, 750 GB HD, 4GB DDR3 Ram, 3 USB Ports, multi-card reader, 802.11 bgn wifi, ethernet port, hdmi, Windows 7 Hompe Premium and of course the awesome touch pad. The thing looks amazing just a 1x11.81x7.09 inches. It looks like I might be changing out my HTPC once more.... Here are some press shots. You can read the full article and press release over on engadget.

6Mar/112

Acer Aspire Revo 100 Hands On

Acer_Revo-100RL100

I just happened to be wondering through the Munich Airport on my way to Romania, and I happened to find the Acer booth. I was checking out a few of their laptops and desktops and around the corner low and behold was a brand new Acer Aspire Revo 100 hooked up to an Acer LCD Television. I talked to the Acer representative for a while about it and showed him RevoHTPC.com and then he let me do a hands on video for a few minutes. Overall the specs on the machine are really nice. It is rocking Nvidia ION graphics, but is no longer coupled with an Atom this model had a Dual Core Athlon II. This is a great upgrade because as we know the Atom is very low powered and while isn't horrible isn't amazing either. You could also deck it out with Wifi, Blu-ray drive, 500GB hard drive, and 4GB RAM. I am not sure if the 499 Euro price tag included all of these features, but that seems about correct. The best part of the Revo 100 is the built in rechargeable wireless track pad and keyboard. This thing is really slick you have a full track pad and at a touch of a button will bring up the full keyboard with multimedia controls to boot. You can simply plug it right into the docking station back in the Revo to charge it. On the side of the remote was a little slider that let you control the volume if you were on keyboard mode, or scroll up and down if you were in track pad mode. Overall the system looked great standing up right next to the television. It looked exactly like a PS2 slim, which is a great design to begin with. Here is a little hands on video that I shot while I was there:

14Jan/110

Amazon VOD Review on Acer Aspire Revo 1600


Last night I was checking out the Yahoo Widgets on my television, Samsung LN46B650. I saw that they had an Amazon VOD widget so I decided to check it out as I had a few rentals from Amazon's service. Even though my television is about 2 years old and the Yahoo Widgets take forever to load to my surprise streaming video directly to my television via the widget was awesome. This got me thinking, why I don't just try this on my Acer Aspire Revo? So I did and I made a video review comparing not only my Television and Revo 1600, but also my little Acer Aspire One netbook.

TV:
Streaming on my television was really really great, besides getting it started. I have to bring up Yahoo Widgets which are really slow and you have to wait for them to fully load before they are capable of doing anything. Once you get the video started it is basically flawless and looks absolutely stunning. I was really shocked how great Inception looked just streaming on my TV.

Acer Aspire One netbook:
My poor little netbook is slowly becoming out of date. It is a single core Atom processor, integrated graphics, and 2GB of RAM. I booted up the VOD service and small inside the browser it actually played back decently smooth. I was really shocked here as I didn't think it would work at all. I then put it on full screen and oh my was it choppy. You definitely can not watch it on something this lower powered, but it is nice to see it play fine when it is not in full screen mode.

Acer Aspire Revo:
It was funny to see the "small" version on the 1080p television, it was really tiny as you can see in the video. However, once you blow it up in full screen mode the video actually played very smooth. It was completely watchable with a few tears in the video, but overall I was really impressed. I would recommend the Amazon VOD service as it is really affordable for rentals and even some purchases.

Check out the video review:

13Jan/111

New Revo? Uninstall that Bloatware!!

If you recently purchased a new Acer Aspire Revo or a similar low powered HTPC, you might have noticed that there is a bunch of software installed on the machine that is not necessary. Please please please do not leave this stuff installed on the computer. Take an hour or 2 or 3 and sit down and uninstall basically everything that is on the machine. All of these little applications are most likely dragging down your Revo and making it not perform how you would like. Anything that is running down in the system tray really needs to be un-installed, especially if it is some kind of anit-virus software. I still recommend anti-virus software, but download and install Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free! I have this installed, with real time scanning OFF, but do have it scan every night for viruses. Since this is a HTPC your chances of viruses are very very low.

I also recommend get all of the latest drivers from nvidia.com, and don't forget to install all of the windows updates. Still not happy? Perhaps try reformatting the machine and put a clean version of Windows 7 on it, this will ensure there is no bloatware dragging it down. Don't forget to ensure all of your BIOS settings are correct.

I hope these tips help!

Filed under: Revo, RevoHTPC 1 Comment
23Dec/101

Revo’s Sold Out :( Here are some alternatives

It looks like the Revo is sold out just about everywhere right now, but here are some great alternatives to think about:

The first recommendation has to be the New Dell Zino HD system. These guys are slick, sexy and have a lot of power packed in. Over at Dell.com they are as low as $299 for the Entry level, but I would recommend an upgrade to the Standard which is about $399. It is a great value for everything that is packed into this little box.

The Zotac ZBox are a pretty decent alternative. They are a little more DIY as most of them are barebone systems, but they have great specs and are decently priced.

If you aren't going to need TV tuners and want something cheep to get your streaming content on such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and more think about getting a Roku They are under $100 and a great value.

Filed under: Revo 1 Comment
24Oct/102

UPDATED – Get MKV files to play on your Revo Easily with mkv2vob!

It is known that MKV files have issues playing on the Revo. They don't show up inside of Windows Media Center by default, you have to install codec packs or other utilities to get them to work at risk of messing up your Revo. I laid out a pretty nice tutorial on how to convert your files from MKV to WTV files which work on any windows machine. It is a bit complex though as it involves multiple programs to get it up and running. Recently Adam over at The Digital Media Zone told me he started to use mkv2vob to convert all his files. This program is just great, not only will it convert your MKV files to MPG which work perfect in Media Center, but it will automatically convert DTS audio to AC3, which is the only format that Media Center can work with. On top of that it will also take subtitle files and hard sub them into the video!

So here are the steps:

  1. Download mkv2vob
  2. Install the program and then go to the Configuration Tab and setup defaults, here is what mine looks like:
  3. If your file has a subtitle track you can turn it on by setting these defaults so they get encoded in the video:
  4. Now go ahead to the Add File tab and select the MKV file you wish to convert
  5. Go ahead and setup a Destination Directory which is where the file will be put when it is done.
  6. Go ahead and hit Add File and it will start converting.
  7. You can also add an entire directory as well which is nice.

UPDATE 11/23/10:

After a few comments I have gone back and discussed improvements to the settings that I have posted above. It seems although it is better to set Video Transcoding to "Automatic" and the Output File Extension to "mpg" or "m2ts". This will drastically increase your processing time as there is no reason to transcode a H.264 to an H.264 video stream:

That is it you are done! Enjoy.

Filed under: Revo, Tutorial 2 Comments
15Oct/104

[Review] My Little Revo HTPC… 8 Months Later

inside the revo

It has been 8 full months since I started this little adventure to build my very first Home Theater PC. It all started after going to my friend Jesse's house and seeing his Tivo. I was rather unimpressed with the UI of the Tivo, however since he seemed to love it and I loved the idea of a DVR I knew there had to be another way. I started slow and purchase 2 USB tuners from Woot.com to try on my aging Dell Desktop (5.5 year old 3.0Ghz P4) and link it together with my Xbox 360 as an extender. To my surprise this actually seemed to work really well with Windows Media Center. I could watch and record live TV and stream all my content straight to my TV in another room. However like any true geek you always want more and more!  Not to mention I had an original Xbox 360 and it sounded like a jet engine.

I scoured the internet and found myself this super sexy little acer aspire revo. I was on a budget at the time so I decided to save myself $120 and buy the cheap AR1600 single core model and buy an extra GB of RAM later. After buying more and more to get the perfect setup everything was finally complete. Harmony Remote, 2 external hard drives, external dvd player, usb contraptions, and 3 TV tuners to top it off. This thing was sweet, but could it perform. After trail and error, and error, and error, and finally success I got my little Revo running perfect, and that is when I decided to launch this website to help other out who wanted to get started with a small form factor HTPC and who were on a budget.

So 8 months later where am I and how is my little Revo running? First I will say that I have not purchased any more accessories for my little revo since I launched the site which is great. I have impressed a lot of friends with the power of Windows Media Center 7 running on such a lower powered device, and some of them have even created their own small factor HTPC (revo or zotac) all thanks to me and this website. I know many other have as well and I am happy to know my hard efforts have paid off and helped people.

My Revo is still exactly what I need in my life for the time being and I don't see it being replaced any time soon. Not only does it still play Flash content flawless, but it also plays back all of my 1080p and 720p movies and TV shows. The amazing thing now is that all of this content isn't even located on my Revo, it has all been moved to a nice Windows Home Server (Vail) machine that I made for around $350 that has 3TB of storage. It all streams flawlessly across my gigabit network. I still have never had a recording fail, and every recording has been just about perfect unless there was a reception issue.

It sounds amazing right??? Well it is amazing, but just not perfect. The Revo to me seems to be very picky with drivers and codecs and installing the wrong one can bring down your machine (this is where my WHS comes in). Also with such low power under the hood HD silverlight content has not been great. I am hoping for an update in the future that will add hardware acceleration just like Flash has done, but that might be a ways off. I have canceled my Netflix account, however this has nothing to do with my Revo not performing, it just has to do with the streaming selection and that I have been flying in and out of the country a lot lately for work.

I will say one thing though that it still amazes me that I can leave the country for 3 weeks and when I come back my Revo and WMC has everything all ready for me and doesn't have any issues not being looked after. 8 months later there are many options on the market now for a lower powered HTPC and many competitors such as the Boxee box are on the horizon. My only hope now is that Acer steps it's game up just like Dell has done and make the Revo into a HTPC powerhouse at the same great price.

So when it is all said and done I love my Revo and I don't think I could live without it :) I want to thank everyone for their support and all of their excellent questions and I hope to continue this for a long time.

Filed under: Reviews, Revo, RevoHTPC 4 Comments
3Oct/100

Acer Aspire Revo AR-3700 Now Available.

Now available on Newegg for $349.99 and features Intel Atom D525(1.8GHz) Dual Core processor, Next Gen ION graphics, 2 GB RAM, Wireless b/g/n, wireless keyboard and mouse, and Windows 7 Premium.

Update: Amazon has now finally added it for purchase: Acer AspireRevo AR3700 on Amazon for $349.99 as well with free shipping.

Filed under: News, Revo No Comments
9Sep/101

New Acer Aspire Revo & Zotac HTPCs

Yesterday both Acer and Zotac announced some brand new super sexy HTPC machines coming out soon. First up is the brand new Acer Aspire Revo 3700.

This machine is packing some serious hardware this time around including the brand new D525 1.8Ghz dual-core Atom Processor, Nvidia's next generation ION platform, 500GB Hard Drive, 4 USB 2.0 Ports, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, VGA/HDMI/ 802.11b/g/n, gigabit ethernet and mini PCIe slot. There is still no DVD drive included here, but the machine looks super sexy. The only problem is the initial price tag is $580, which seems completely crazy when the current dual core Revo is only $330.

Next up is a brand new super duper sexy Zotac HD-ID33 and HD-ID34(250GB hard drive included) and packs a full Blu-ray drive.

This thing looks absolutely beautiful and includes all the same features as the Acer Aspire Revo 3700 but only comes with 2GB of DDR2 RAM, but packs in 2 USB 3.0 ports. The big thing here is the sexy design and  the full blu-ray drive. there is no price point just yet however. Hopefully I can get my hands on one of these bad boys when they are released.

Check out eHomeUpgrade (Revo 3700) or HotHardware (Zotac HTPCs) for more shots and press release.

13Aug/100

Revo 3610 $320 + Free Shipping

Newegg is knocking off $10 on the brand new
Acer Aspire Revo AR3610-U2002
and is throwing in free shipping just use coupon code: EMCYWZP56 during checkout. The offer ends Sunday night at midnight.

Filed under: Revo, Sale No Comments