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iMedian HD And Remote Controls

Touch-Screen HTPC: Three Premium Cases Compared
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The three cases are all based on the same 7” display type, remote control, and management software: iMedian HD. So it’s no surprise that the technical details are identical. The remote controls only differ in vendor name. The 7” displays share the same technical data (such as 800x480 resolution and connection through a built-in D-sub monitor cable. As a consequence, this means that your platform or graphics card needs to support two or more displays. Chipset-based integrated graphics need to support HDMI for output to your receiver or TV, plus DVI or VGA (you can use adapters to convert DVI into VGA) to connect the HTPC display.

Because of the cramped quarters of a 7” display, we find it easier to install the HTPC's operating system on a regular display. Once the OS is installed, you can connect the HTPC display using the VGA cable and extend your desktop to the second screen. Typically, you can only choose 800x600 resolution, although the 7” displays operate at a native resolution of 800x480. As a result, the display is distorted and will turn circles into ovals.

All three displays are touch-sensitive and require an internal USB port to deliver user input to the system, but using these to control your operating system is not really ergonomically feasible, since the displays have such limited dimensions. Although Windows 7’s multi-touch feature works smoothly (and you can indeed control your operating system this way), the elements are too small to achieve precision with your fingers. You’d have to use a stylus (included with the Moneual case), which seems a bit awkward when you're talking about an HTPC enclosure. However, we can confirm this configuration does work, and the display is great as an optional means to control settings, such as adjusting display brightness, shutting the machine down, or switching playback media. Our earlier review discusses the pros and cons in detail.

The integrated display is used as the primary display if no other monitor has been attached. Once you hook up a larger screen via HDMI, the 7” display turn into what it was designed for: assistance and information. You can customize the display to show news, weather, time, or system data if no media is being played. If you are playing media, the display turns into an information and control device. It can show file and playback information, and it allows basic playback control (volume and so on). These displays are a blessing for users who want to manage audio playback without a large screen; otherwise it’s of little practical benefit.

Remote Controls

The remote control works best if used as originally intended: feeding the iMon program with user inputs, which are translated into action for the 7” display via the FrontView media player, and to control iMedian HD, which effectively replaces Windows Media Center. If you aren't particularly attached to Media Center, know that iMedian HD works in a similar way, and we consider it a decent alternative.

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  • 2 Hide
    mianmian , February 5, 2010 6:57 AM
    I am afraid I can't see that small screen very well. >.<
    On screen display makes more sense.
  • 2 Hide
    p1n3apqlexpr3ss , February 5, 2010 7:14 AM
    I find screens on HTPC cases rather pointless... your gonna be sitting at least 3m away from screen, at which point case screen is too small to see, using a remote or wireless mouse/keyboard is a much better idea... whos gonna be sitting right in front of big 50inch tv...?
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 5, 2010 7:35 AM
    You are forgetting that this is a multimedia setup, not just for movies and video playback, and just like old audio players that had these small displays, at least youll be able to get some information when playing other media.
  • -1 Hide
    gkay09 , February 5, 2010 9:38 AM
    caustin582If Crysis were a movie, would you be able to watch it with one of these?

    For once cant people stop talking about Crysis ? Or atleast till Crysis 2 is released ?
  • 3 Hide
    Onus , February 5, 2010 10:43 AM
    There is no way my sense of value would allow me to even consider such a case; my wife, being a rational individual herself, would be baffled and angry if I wasted so much money.
    Of course, members of the US Congress will probably all buy a couple (at least)...
  • 1 Hide
    flannel_77 , February 5, 2010 11:26 AM
    It would be nice to have a remote with a screen like the iPod nano to control audio from the sofa. Then you wouldn't need to turn on the TV or buy a case with a screen.
  • 5 Hide
    d70guy , February 5, 2010 11:55 AM
    I have a silverstone case with 7" touchscreen. It is very useful as my HTPC as it allows me to monitor the system while a movie is playing. Things like temps, cpu, etc are all displayed while I am playing back a movie. This system sits in a rack at the back of the home theater so you don't really notice it unless you go looking for it. Everyone comments on the display, it has a big cool factor. For people who would put the HTPC next to their main screen however an on-screen display would probably be more useful.
  • -4 Hide
    d70guy , February 5, 2010 11:55 AM
    I have a silverstone case with 7" touchscreen. It is very useful as my HTPC as it allows me to monitor the system while a movie is playing. Things like temps, cpu, etc are all displayed while I am playing back a movie. This system sits in a rack at the back of the home theater so you don't really notice it unless you go looking for it. Everyone comments on the display, it has a big cool factor. For people who would put the HTPC next to their main screen however an on-screen display would probably be more useful.
  • 4 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , February 5, 2010 12:14 PM
    $700.00 for an htpc case is entirely too much. Even $275.00 is too much for a case. It is unacceptable. Then a small 7 inch display that is distorted? No way!!!
  • 4 Hide
    Nossy , February 5, 2010 12:15 PM
    It'd be way cooler if I can remove the screen and use it as a remote.
  • 1 Hide
    2shea , February 5, 2010 12:19 PM
    I don't really see the big plus of a display because it would be much handier that you use a logitech harmony for all of your devices. Most of the time you sit on the couch and you dont want to get off it to start the movie or switch the source.
    Nossy's idea is much better and way handier.
  • 1 Hide
    jrivera04 , February 5, 2010 12:58 PM
    I have built a few HTPCs for myself and others and I think these screens are pretty pointless. Also, there are plenty of classy looking cases with plenty of space around the $100 - $150 mark.
  • 1 Hide
    nevertell , February 5, 2010 2:00 PM
    d70guyI have a silverstone case with 7" touchscreen. It is very useful as my HTPC as it allows me to monitor the system while a movie is playing. Things like temps, cpu, etc are all displayed while I am playing back a movie. This system sits in a rack at the back of the home theater so you don't really notice it unless you go looking for it. Everyone comments on the display, it has a big cool factor. For people who would put the HTPC next to their main screen however an on-screen display would probably be more useful.


    You worry about your cpu temps and voltages while you're watching a movie on the damn thing ? Get a life.
  • 1 Hide
    hannibal , February 5, 2010 2:41 PM
    What are the best HTPC cases without screen?
    For me the good look, and silent operation and well designed cooling system are top of the list. These are nice, but the prises are somewhat high. The 300$ is not too bad, but it was the noisiest and smallest alternative...
  • 0 Hide
    jrivera04 , February 5, 2010 3:47 PM
    My dad chose this one. It's pretty nice and has plenty of room inside. You can buy a MS remote and tuck the receiver inside.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811128022
  • 0 Hide
    azcoyote , February 5, 2010 3:57 PM
    Compare the cases like the ones from HUSH and then I will be onboard for a new case... Small and useful. That is the ticket.
  • 1 Hide
    shimzard , February 5, 2010 4:10 PM
    Can you guys make a review of what mobo's and what cases are best for an ultra small htpc? I have seen zotac's and intel's mini itx boards and they seem pretty cool but I am also seeing people buy lga775 boards and pair them with e5000 intel processors (they tend to overheat and theer is a lack of heatsinks for lga775 mobo's small enough for a mini itx case)and install them in mini itx cases aswell. An article on this topic would be cool. for me:
    Atom htpc:
    pros: low power usage, small form factor, cool factor.
    cons: not enough processor power for some applications (i know people are not planning to run crysis on this things).
    lga775 htpc:
    pros:more than enough processor power for use as an htpc, small
    cons: higher power usage compared to atom processors, gets very heated, not alot of heatsinks to choose from.

    I beleive this market is growing and more options and cool gagdets will appear soon ebough. Tom's view on this would be nice. thank you guys and keep up the good work.
  • 0 Hide
    pink315 , February 5, 2010 4:17 PM
    Looks as though those screens use vga, not a big deal for most. The people using hdcp video will care though.
  • 0 Hide
    jrivera04 , February 5, 2010 5:06 PM
    shimzardCan you guys make a review of what mobo's and what cases are best for an ultra small htpc? I have seen zotac's and intel's mini itx boards and they seem pretty cool but I am also seeing people buy lga775 boards and pair them with e5000 intel processors (they tend to overheat and theer is a lack of heatsinks for lga775 mobo's small enough for a mini itx case)and install them in mini itx cases aswell. An article on this topic would be cool. for me:Atom htpc:p ros: low power usage, small form factor, cool factor.cons: not enough processor power for some applications (i know people are not planning to run crysis on this things).lga775 htpc:p ros:more than enough processor power for use as an htpc, smallcons: higher power usage compared to atom processors, gets very heated, not alot of heatsinks to choose from.I beleive this market is growing and more options and cool gagdets will appear soon ebough. Tom's view on this would be nice. thank you guys and keep up the good work.


    This is the motherboard that I am going to use in my next HTPC. Paired with a low end Athlon X2 it will be perfect.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186191
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