30mm thick Piixl EdgeCenter 3770 Media Center PC lurks behind your TV
By Jeff Salton
December 15, 2009
The Piixl Edge EdgeCenter 3770 computer is designed for those who love their media but also treasure their minimalist lifestyle. They also need to be prepared to pay a premium for a Media Center PC that doesn’t have any visible wires – in fact, it doesn’t have any visible parts at all because it hides discreetly behind any VESA-compliant flat panel TV, 37 inches or wider.
Only 30mm deep, Piixl Edge claims its EdgeCenter is the thinnest "full powered" personal computer ever designed that integrates bleeding edge AV components into a standard flat panel TV and, hence, turns it into an universal, high definition media center PC.
The EdgeCenter 3770 is the result of two years of development that all started from a quote from visionary Don Norman in his now famous book "The invisible computer":
"Today's technology imposes itself on us, making demands on our time and diminishing our control over our lives. Of all the technologies, perhaps the most disruptive for individuals is the personal computer. The computer is really an infrastructure, even though today we treat it as the end object. Infrastructures should be invisible: and that is exactly what this book recommends: A user-centered, human-centered humane technology where today's personal computer has disappeared into invisibility."
The EdgeCenter offers instant access to a Blu-Ray/DVD reader/writer, 4 USB 2.0 ports, universal Flash memory card reader and an ejectable 2.5" USB external HDD for large files transfers, all of which are housed in the "EdgeBay" located at the edge of your flat TV screen.
EdgeCenter systems have dual-link DVI and HDMI 1.3 and the company says all its GPUs integrate the latest video processing engines and are matched to the finest hi-fi components. The systems will also play virtually any video format and all resolutions are supported and upscaled to match any screen capabilities.
All peripherals that run off the EdgeCenter operate on RF wireless, meaning they don't require a cable nor a straight line of sight in order to function.
All EdgeCenters are fitted with HD hybrid analog/digital tuners while additional tuners can be added to allow simultaneous recording/viewing of up to four sources. Piixl also offer an Integrated Power line Networking option on all models. This basically integrates a 200 or 1,000Mbps networking device that securely transmits high throughput network streams on your home's standard electrical wires. It allows users to plug a networked TV tuner to a Standard/Cable TV receiver anywhere in you house, and broadcast/record TV on the EdgeCenter straight away (together with Internet, music or on-demand movies) without having to plug anything else that the mains lead.
Removing heat from such a thin chassis is via a semi-passive cooling system which is based on low-profile heatsinks and Fluid Dynamic Bearing mini blowers - a PiixL exclusive - that the company guarantees exceptional thermal efficiency, maintaining all components in their nominal temperature ranges at all times.
Piixl says it only sources the best of each component type that go in a EdgeCenter to guarantee MTBF (mean time between failures) figures vastly superior to what can be usually found on the PC market. Fans are mounted with 100 percent redundancy and carry 80,000 hours MTFB, while being replaced by passive solutions wherever possible. Power supply units are all telecom type and labeled 300,000+ MTBF.
Prices start at GBP2,490 (approx. US$4,050 at time of publication) for the decidedly low spec Media Center Edition featuring an Intel C2D E8400 Processor, 2GB of RAM, 500GB HDD and DVD writer and continue up to a whopping GBP8,657 (approx. US$14,075) for the Maxed Up Dual Edition sporting 2X Intel Xeon X5570 processors, 24GB of RAM. 2TB HDD and Blu-ray writer.