11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Best Media Center PC you can build upon. Some Minor tweaks to get full potential.
, April 10, 2011
Windows 7 Home Premium
55" LG 3D TV
QUAD HDHomerun QAM tuners
TivoSlide Bluetooth remote (LM remote software to map keys)
Onkyo 1008 Reciever
Corel WinDVD for Bluray playback
owned for 6 months
Runs nearly silent, cool, HD audio pass through for BR media, blazing fast for a media center, looks sleek, it really does everything... and does most of it well. I love the machine itself. Media center runs great, hulu integration looks awesome. As a replacement for my Tivo AND PS3 this has been awesome
Cons: Trial and error to get drivers installed correctly, Cyberlink DVD will eventually cripple ability to play HD audio and upgrading WONT fix problem.
*****HD Audio: OK so if you care about HD Audio read on... otherwise you can skip*****
(DTSHD, Dolby HD) I ran into a problem that was pretty annoying. So after a few days the OEM version of PowerDVD by Cyberlink will eventually cripple the ability to play HD audio. If you try to choose it, you get a popup "this version does not support HD audio". Up till then it played my blurays perfectly, audio/video... it was great. But this is when the pain began. Even though I think it is really shady for them to pull this cr*p (disable features to get you to upgrade) I paid the $60 upgrade fee and got the delux Mark II version (what it suggested). After upgrading that version tells me it doesn't support my hardware, no dropdown to pass through HD audio is available. Unbelievable. After uninstalling and re-installing (even completely re-installing the OS). The end solution was purchasing Corel WinDVD and it played the blurays and HD audio with NO problems. problem solved. if you dont care about HD surround, then its pretty minor. Otherwise you need to fork over more $$
One other issue, and this may or may not be the ASRock machine. The 3D playback didn't look that great. The TV didn't detect it was in 3D mode so I had to manually set it on the TV. When using a 3D bluray player it was automatically detected. That being said, i didn't like it much from the Panasonic Bluray player much either, so it might be my problem.
Now I did spend some considerable time tweaking this thing but you are not going to build a custom media center PC without knowing this. I do love it! It is my HD DVR and Bluray player all in one. I was able to use the Tivo Slide remote with some minor configuration software (LM Remote). Media center allows the ability to watch hulu full screen as well. Mine is inside a cabinet with the doors closed, even during bluray playback it stays cool, dont try with a PS3.
If you are going to build yourself an all-in-one media center the ASRock is the way to do it. My wife loves the fact she doesnt have to switch anything to watch movies or TV or Hulu... SUPER integrated.
Last tip... This same machine is running hundreds cheaper on Newegg. Amazon needs to lower their price.