Velocity Micro Fuzebox Butte MT
Great Falls, MT
Velocity Micro Fuzebox
August 24, 2009 By Adrienne Maxwell
A Smartphone for Your Living Room
Today’s consumer doesn’t just want it all; he wants it all in one package. No longer can a product just be a cell phone, gaming console or TV. To really sell, CE devices must wear many hats—and wear them all well.
Velocity Micro wears many hats. They offer PCs for business, gaming and digital media. But they also offer a dedicated home theater model that’s more media center than PC: the Fuzebox.
Microsoft was early to embrace this all-in-one philosophy when it launched Windows Media Center. What began as a convenient way to unite your favorite digital entertainment sources—TV, movies, music, video and photos—into one box, with one user interface, has evolved into a major player in whole-house entertainment, thanks to companies like Life|ware, Niveus and Russound.
For a premium, these companies offer high-end, Windows-based media servers that also serve as the home’s control and A/V distribution hub. If you’d like to explore some of that functionality without making quite as big an investment, Velocity Micro’s FuzeBox could be just the product for you.
Don’t expect to get that work proposal done or surf the Internet using the FuzeBox; Velocity Micro has limited the FuzeBox’s functionality to core entertainment practices, most of which can be set up and controlled via the supplied IR remote. Close the Media Center interface, in fact, and you’ll find a black screen, not the Vista Home Premium operating system.
The FuzeBox is PC-like in its configurability, though. You can tailor critical specs like hard-drive size, TV tuners and type of disc drive. The FuzeBox supports up to a 1TB hard drive, with the option to attach an external drive. You can integrate two TV tuners—either the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner with CableCARD support (for premium HD channels) or the ATI TV Wonder 650 (for over-the-air and basic cable/satellite content)—and choose between a DVD/CD burner and a Blu-ray drive.
Like other Windows Media Center devices, this box is compatible with Media Center Extenders like the Xbox; over your home network, you can distribute video sources—including recorded HDTV and imported DVD movies—to two additional zones, with independent playback in each. You can’t import DVDs directly to the FuzeBox, but you can use the supplied FuzeBox Media Access software to import movies to a separate Windows PC and then link said content to your FuzeBox movie library, complete with cover art and program info. Velocity Micro will soon add Web streaming (including the NetFlix Play Now function).
Where the FuzeBox really distinguishes itself is in its ability to distribute your imported music content to four additional locations around your home; you can play one track simultaneously in all five zones or play different content in each. The setup process is quite simple; the company supplies the necessary breakout cable, with four pairs of RCA stereo analog audio ou...