Talk about uber-coolness: yesterday Silicon Mountain unveiled Allio, a 42-inch HDTV with integrated PC and Blu-ray player. Yeah baby.
According to the company, this high-dollar gadget is the first of its kind in North America, and basically the first of its kind in every aspect, merging three products into one unit. But as with all combo devices such as TV’s with built-in DVD players, if one aspect of the product fails and needs servicing, then the whole unit has to go in... meaning consumers can’t leave the TV at home and send in just the DVD player. The other drawback is the Allio’s pricetag, starting out at $1,599.99 and shooting on up to $2,799, depending on the model.
Still, all-in-one devices are rather convenient, and with the introduction of Silicon Mountain’s Allio model, the holiday season just might get a little more festive for the electronics enthusiast. According to the company, the Allio "marries" a full-HD 42" LCD display with a combo Blu-ray/DVD player, integrated digital recorder for PVR and a fully functional PC, based on the Intel Core2Duo E8400 processor, 4GB of RAM from Silicon Mountain, a 1TB hard drive, and the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium. The Allio also features USB ports, wireless and wired networking capabilities, and they typical analog and digital audio-visual inputs.
Of course, an all-in-one device of this magnitude doesn’t come cheap, and certainly won’t find its way onto Wal-Mart shelves (or Circuit City for that matter) anytime soon. But surprisingly, the pricing of both models don’t skyrocket through the roof. The entry-level Allio with an Intel 2.5 GHz PDC E5200, 250GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, DVD/CD support and Vista Home Premium retails for $1,599 (32") and $1,999 (42"). The middle system in the series adds PVR and Blu-ray support and an upgraded 2.54 GHz Core2Duo E7200 processor for $2,199 (32") and $2,399 (42"). The intermediate option - aka the flagship Allio system - upgrades the RAM and storage to 4GB and 1TB, respectively, for $2,399 (32") and $2,799 (42").
"The Allio HD TV / PC takes the digital experience into another dimension," said Tre Cates, Silicon Mountain President and CEO. "During product development, we discovered that our testers regularly expressed disappointment in their own large screen television and home theatre configurations after using Allio for just a few hours. The results are clear. The Allio HD TV / PC experience simply suits our modern digital lifestyle better. The converged experience will boost productivity and interactive behaviors, and bring families together around the next generation of appliance, just as the early television and radio did for generations past."
While the Allio sounds like an over-bloated PC, it’s actually more like a media center, giving couch potatoes access to streaming Internet video through the Allio’s channel guide (which also lists cable and satellite channels). Additionally, consumers can load up downloaded videos and music without ripping them off from additional devices. The Allio also offers picture-in-picture capabilities, allowing consumers to watch a Blu-ray movie in one window, watch TV in another, and browse the internet at the same time.
"On Sunday, a fantasy football player can watch multiple games simultaneously, while browsing NFL.com for real-time player stats and scores, while chatting on AOL Instant Messenger or Skype with other league owners," add the company. "A student can watch educational programming from a satellite or cable provider while writing a paper and looking up unfamiliar terms and concepts on Wikipedia, then taking a quick break to update his or her MySpace page. A business executive can view streaming stock quotes while composing email and watching financial news."
Currently Visionman is the only retail outlet selling all Allio models, however the online retailer is currently offering a $100 coupon towards the $1,999 version. Upon viewing the website, Visionman offers additional hardware specs for the entry-level 42" model:
• Built-in 12Wx2 Speakers
• 7.1 Surround Sound w/Dolby Home Theatre
• 2 x Component Video & Audio Connectors
• 2 x HDMI Connectors
• 1 x S/PDIF Optical Audio Out
• Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200
• 2GB High-Speed DDR2-800 Memory
• Slim Dual Layer 8X DVDRW
• Western Digital 250GB SATA-II HDD
• Integrated Intel GMA X4500HD Video
• Hauppauge HVR-950Q TV Tuner
• Gigabit 10/100/1000 Ethernet
• Wireless 802.11b/g
• Microsoft Vista Home Premium 32-bit
• Logitech Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
• Wall Mountable
• Includes A/V Cable, User Manual, Remote Control
It will be curious to see how the Allio can handle the likes of Far Cry 2 and Crysis. It would also be interesting to see how this device disperses heat, especially when mounted on a wall. Hopefully, Tom’s Hardware can rally up a test unit just to see if the Allio will explode on contact. In the meantime, this may be a good time to add the device on Santa’s list, although honestly, that may be wishful thinking.