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CNET First Look
Asus Eee Box EB1501The Asus Eee Box EB1501 pricier than Blu-ray players that stream content from the Web, and not as powerful as slightly more expensive slim tower PCs that offer significantly more speed and power.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi. I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today, we're going to take a look at the Asus EeeBox EB1501. So this tiny little PC goes for about 475 bucks, and the idea is that it's supposed to sit next to your television and basically stream up all the content that you can get online. It has a DVD drive, so you can also play standard def DVDs, and mostly, this system is actually powerful enough to play content from NetFlix, Hulu. We were able to get it to play 1080P video streams from most sources. The only problem was QuickTime. I couldn't really handle those files. So overall, this system is actually pretty well suited to the task. As you can see from its design, it's nice and small. There's an HDMI port on the back, so it's really ready just to plug into your living room. It also has Wi-Fi, so it definitely minimizes the amount of cables and would probably slide in next to a TV with very little problem. Now, going in on the front of the case, you can see there's a couple of USB ports. There's a media card slot as well as a couple of audio ports. On the back there's an eSATA output. That's actually pretty cool that you can plug in fast, external hard drives. There's an Ethernet jack as well as a couple more USB ports. So as much as this is a strong little media box, it actually has a little bit of a market problem. Now, there's an Intel Atom dual core CPU in here, which means it's really not meant for productivity. So for 475 bucks, you can get a decent media PC, but it's not really good for much else. Well, you go to Gateway, you can spend about $550.00 and get a slim tower PC that, yeah, it's a little bit bigger than this system, but it comes with a full-fledged quad core chip, and it can play any video file out there as well as actually do pretty well on most day-to-day productivity apps. Now, the streaming Blu-ray players start at about $250.00, and they can stream from NetFlix and various other sources online, and they really sort of eat the lunch of this thing a little bit. So if you want to spend more, you can get a much faster PC that's equally capable. If you want to spend less, you can get a full-fledged Blu-ray player and a gaming console, or both in the case of the PS3, and enjoy most of the streaming video content you can get online through this thing. But for the average consumer, depending on where they sit on the PC and home entertainment continuum, there are better choices out there for the dollar. So I'm Rich Brown. This is the EeeBox EB1501. ^M00:02:14 [ Music ]