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HDX-BD1: Network media player with Blu-ray support

We've always enjoyed a good media player, and now it seems HDX is about to drop one of the most exciting devices yet into our greedy waiting hands -- colour us very excited indeed

We've mentioned them before, and the High Definition Experience (HDX) media players are much loved by us. Based on the same hardware as the Popcorn Hour media players, the HDX machines usually have their own special style, custom casing and slightly tweaked look and feel. Make no mistake though, the HDX gear we've played with is excellent, and as easy to use as anything on the market.

The HDX-BD1 has a great deal in common with the Popcorn Hour C-200. It's one of a new generation of machines that are Blu-ray compatible. In the C-200, you can install a Blu-ray drive in the unit itself. With this HDX machine, you have to use an external drive instead, but even so, it gives a very desirable route to playing Blu-rays. The advantages are that not only can you play movies from disc, but you can also stream HD video over your home network to your TV in up to 1080p quality.

The BD1 uses a new interface from HDX known as Voir, which the company believes gives a very user-friendly experience. As with previous models, it's possible to fit a hard drive to the player via tool-free process. Adding a hard drive will allow you to take advantage of the built-in BitTorrent and usenet clients. It also makes it possible to send content to the machine using an FTP client, which can be very useful if you want to use it while your main PC is switched off.

The BD1 has gigabit Ethernet too, which should mean streaming 1080p video is a glitch-free and pleasant experience. If you're connecting external devices, you'll be pleased to know there are two USB 2.0 sockets at the rear, as well as an eSATA connector for either a high-speed hard drive, or Blu-ray drive. You'll also find HDMI 1.3, which is capable of sending 1080p video to a Full HD TV. The BD1 can also pass Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio to a compatible audio decoder too, so you'll get the full Blu-ray sound experience too.

HDX is sending us a review sample in the next few weeks, so keep an eye on CNET UK for a full review.