With the release of Windows 7 and programs such as Boxee, having a computer as part of a home-theater set-up is becoming more and more reasonable. The issue has been that outside of nettops and the Mac mini, there haven’t been many options for what that computer should be. Sure, anything would work, but it’s always much preferred if the device looks nice up there next to an HDTV. Finally Dell has come through with a computer that can fit that need.
The new computer is called the Dell Zino HD. The Zino HD actually looks a bit like a Mac mini, if only a bit bigger, measuring 8 inches on each side, all black aside from the top which comes in Dell’s typical myriad colors. It can come with a variety of AMD Athlon processors (both Dual Core and single core), up to 8 GB of RAM, up to 1 TB of storage, and either a DVD or Blu-ray drive. It runs on Windows Vista, 7 or Ubuntu for those who want the options, and can output to an HDTV via the HDMI port (something the Mac mini is sorely lacking). The Zino HD starts at $229, much lower than the Mac mini’s $599, and tops out at $808, also cheaper than the top Mac mini with an HDD that’s half the size with no HDMI.
The Zino HD looks like it could be the computer of choice for any home theater setup for easy access to all those videos on your computer. Pair it with Boxee, Hulu, Netflix and iTunes, and you have almost everything you could want viewable on your HDTV. Sure, there is the upcoming Boxee box, but that doesn’t mean having an actual PC hooked up to your TV isn’t a good idea. There are other uses, of course, like a cheap, easily portable PC for say a college student who doesn’t do a whole lot of PC gaming. Or, it could be useful for using the Internet on your TV without having to use the clunky Wii or PS3 interfaces.