We know that Velocity Micro has been cooking up this CineMagix Grand Theater long before CES. We remember speaking to one of its product managers about his very vague home theater PC plans many months ago over the course of a previous review. The result is not dissimilar to the Sony VAIO XLR3 Digital Living System, which also made its debut at CES, except that Velocity Micro's system will start about $1,000 cheaper.
Core specs will include a fast Intel Core 2 Duo 6700 processor; aggressive, sound-sensitive cooling; and standard-def or Blu-ray optical at launch. The date is to be determined, but it will be at least after January 30, as it will have Windows Vista, with HD DVD made available shortly thereafter. Velocity Micro will also offer options for up to 2.5 terabytes of hard drive storage, and it's working with AMD to integrate "OCUR" (open cable uni-directional receiver) CableCard support.
If, like us, you think the CineMagix Grand Theater's chassis might be too big for mass living room acceptance, you might want to stay tuned to Velocity Micro's plans anyway. It refers to this system as the "keystone" in a coming line of models that will include a smaller, DVD player-size unit, as well as media center extenders and, perhaps most intriguingly, a home media server. The idea of putting a system in the basement to shoot media, games, and whatever else around your home has been tossed around quite a bit in the past, but many manufacturers at this year's show seem to have rekindled their interest, citing multitasking-friendly dual- and quad-core CPUs and greater penetration of wireless networks and new homes designed for room-to-room connectivity.