Neuros LINK Unboxed & Setup

Dave Zatz —  December 3, 2008 — 13 Comments

A loaner Neuros LINK ($300) arrived earlier today, and for once I forgive the UPS guy for not hiking up four flights of stairs to make a delivery… The unit is essentially a full-on computer, with the total kit weighing in at about 15lbs.

During the early phase of alpha testing, the Ubuntu Linux system is booting off a 4GB USB stick. The primary function of Neuros LINK is to organize and access web-based video, such as Hulu or Amazon OnDemand. And similar to ZvBox, the main launchpad is essentially a Firefox web browser. While Zv provides a customized build, the Neuros LINK interface is the standard browser running in full screen mode displaying Neuros’ customized site/experience. I haven’t found or tested the browsing functionality yet, but the automatic word complete suggestions via the web search feature is quite nice. I had no problems locating Hulu content and playing it back full screen – both audio and video passed fine from PC to HDTV over HDMI. When not streaming from the web, Linux media center software MythTV is also installed (!) for local and network media playback. I’ll be looking at this unit for a few weeks and providing feedback to the Neuros team, so it’s safe to assume I’ll have more to blog as well. Stay tuned.

11 pictures follow:

Back in the day when my home theater consisted of an overhead projector powered by an HTPC, I’d have really appreciated this wireless keyboard. (Though the Gyration set I ultimately decided on was quite good.) It’s a bit larger than I’d like, but the contoured sides for operating the integrated scroll wheel and “mouse” buttons feel and work great. (I believe Neuros is using all off-the-shelf components, so folks should be able to locate this keyboard to use with any sort of HTPC solution.) Though I wonder if they should also provide a traditional remote control…

13 responses to Neuros LINK Unboxed & Setup

  1. That keyboard is the ADESSO WKB-3000UB. I purchased it off of newegg about six months ago. I’ve got to say I was skeptical at first after all of the horror stories I’ve read about wireless keyboards and range issues, but it works great and I’m completely in love with it. It is extremely durable and sits on my coffee table as we speak next to my Logitech Harmony One.

  2. How about a 1080p MKV playback test? I’ve been looking for something to replace my Popcorn Hour.

  3. Why do you want to replace the Popcorn Hour? Everything I’ve heard has been positive about them, I was just getting ready to buy one.

  4. Hmm… the box looks bigger than I expected. What are the dimensions?

    Re: keyboards. I really enjoy my Logitech DiNovo Mini.

  5. Is this essentially a HTPC?

    If so, would you be able to just ignore what it comes with, and say, for example, install Windows XP and use it as a HTPC?

    I am looking for a well priced HTPC solution, and I am considering this.

    Also, considering its a computer, would you be able to post any of its specs?

    Thanks in advance for any and all answers

  6. You seem rather quiet on the issue of noise, so to speak. The pic with the Xbox 360 brought this question to mind.

    Also: 802.11n or just g?

  7. I’ll take a closer look at the specs, dimensions, etc at some point and get them posted. Dustin, I had the same thought… but instead of XP, how about Vista Ultimate and Media Center. Ivan, yeah it’s larger than I expected. Agree the diNova is nice, I’ve played with it at a few shows.

    TheHoldSteady, there’s definitely fan noise, although it’s significantly quieter than an Xbox optical drive. However, it doesn’t compare to Vudu or AppleTV which are very quiet. (The ZvBox, Blockbuster, and Roku Netflix boxes have no drives or fans – thus no noise.) I believe it’s 802.11g, but I’ll also double check that (it’s a D-Link wireless PCI card).

  8. I am currently undecided about this vs Apple TV with boxee installed. I don’t like the fact that there is no remote and you have to use a keyboard.

    What is the height of Neuros.link with the wireless antenna fully vertical? My media center shelf is only 6.5″ tall, so I am not sure it will fit.

    Out of curiosity, can you surf the web with Neuros.link, and if yes, what is the experience like? I am wondering whether my parents can surf the web with this in lieu of an actual PC.

  9. I popped open the case – no hard drive and no optical drive. Only one memory chip which I couldn’t easily access. I’ll boot it up later for amount. ASUS motherboard and AMD chip.

    Eric, yes you can surf the web if you or your parents wanted too. It’s basically a full fledged Linux computer.

    Boxee just added a bunch of new features today, including support for Netflix – though that doesn’t port to AppleTV yet.

  10. Why is Neuros developing a separate box for DTV recording and playback? Is this box too underpowered for that? Seems like a waste to need two boxes. BTW, I’ve seen 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green SATA hard drives for $100!

  11. I read in another link thread that it has myth installed. Why then does the link faq state that recording is not supported?
    If you add a USB capture dongle, does it work or not?
    Seems like that would be the perfect single box solution. Well, that and an HD channel box under myth control.

  12. The Neuros LINK is basically a PC with Ubuntu installed. So you can pretty much make it do anything. The OS currently lives on a USB thumb drive, so for TV recording you’d want to add a drive or two. Also, given the LINK’s specs you might want a tuner than offloads video encoding. Granted, I haven’t tried this so I can’t guarantee it’ll work but I see no reason at all why it can’t be done. But the price continues to creep up as you accessorize…

  13. do you have images that show what we are to get in the box and how to hook everything up?

    peace

    (need my DVDs on TV)

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