Asus has added a new model to its Eee Box line of nettop (cheap and tiny desktop) computers. The Eee Box B208 features a 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330 CPU, which is the first dual core model in the Atom line. The computer also features ATI Radeon HD 4350 series graphics with 256MB of video memory and an HDMI output.

The Eee Box B208 also has 1GB of RAM, and hard drive options of 160GB, 250G, or 320GB. It includes 4 USB ports, 802.11b/g/n WiFI, an Ethernet jack, a multi-format card reader, a remote control, and a built in battery that can be used as an uninterruptible power supply option in the case of a power outage.

Asus loads the nettop with either Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Business. I’m guessing the reason for Vista is because the computer’s specs are too high for it to qualify for a low cost Windows XP license. Honestly, given the media capabilities of the B208, I would have thought that Windows Vista Home Premium would have been a better choice, since it includes Windows Media Center capabilities. But it looks like Asus is loading some of its own Eee Cinema software on this computer.

thanks Jeff!

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20 replies on “Asus launches Eee Box B208 with Windows Vista and HD video”

  1. This is an interesting little outfit, with the dual core Atom and ATI adapter and so forth. But, since I’m not “into” home entertainment centers at this point, I’d appreciate it if someone would tell me just how you would integrate it with your system and what you would do with it… for example, stream HD videos from it to your HD flat panel display?

    1. I’ve been running a dedicated Home Theater PC (HTPC) for about five years, and what I do with it has grown and expanded significantly during that time. I currently use Windows Vista Ultimate, which ships with Windows Media Center. Sadly, Asus isn’t including Vista Home Premium or Ultimate as options, which would enable this functionality. However, you can purchase the Home Basic version, then upgrade it.

      Currently, I use my HTPC mainly as a front-end to stream media from a Windows Home Server box (WHS), stored in our office. I’ve got 5TB worth of storage in the home server, so we ripped our entire DVD and Blu-Ray collection to ISO, and we organize it with a program called MyMovies.

      Recently, we have also been experimenting with streaming other content, such as Hulu and Netflix. The results are so far mixed, with Netflix having a few options, and Hulu only having one EARLY (but promising) beta application to choose from.

      My favorite Netflix app is currently MyNetflix, developed by Anthony Park. It’s the most polished and full-featured, but it isn’t compatible with Media Center Extenders, such as the Xbox 360.

      For hulu, there’s Second Run TV, which allows you to view Hulu content from the Media Center interface. It’s pretty slick, but will definitely become more polished in the coming months.

      A media center box can also be used to organize home movies, photos, music, and really serve as the “media hub” of your household. Until recently, I also used it for TV recording, but there really isn’t a good solution out there for recording in HD yet, so we switched over to the crappy DVR our cable company provides. CableCard solutions aren’t available without pre-configuration from an OEM, and they become very “closed” systems in the process.

      So, that’s your primer! If you are interested in learning more, check out The Green Button, which is the source of all HTPC knowledge in the universe.

      1. Thanks a lot for the detailed reply, much more than I expected or deserved! 😉

  2. Looks like a pretty nice Media Center set-up, but WHY OH WHY didn’t they integrate some kind of pointing device on the keyboard itself!? This is clearly geared towards HTPC enthusiasts, and it would be LOVELY to use that cute wireless keyboard from my sofa. I crave a multi-touch pad like I have on my Eee PC 1000HE!

    That said, the specs look decent, but it remains to be seen how they will price this. If it’s significantly cheaper than one of the new Mac Minis, this could be coming to a living room near me!

    1. Yeah, that’s a tricky one – the current eee boxes are $300, and figure this is going to be a $100-$150 price bump ($100 for hardware, $50 for vista) and you’re rapidly starting to enter the price range of the significantly better specced low end minis, especially if an optical drive is important to you – you’re looking at $460 to $510 versus $599. Interesting times.

      1. (and significantly might be overstating – I guess the only real difference looks like it’s in the CPU, and I don’t know how favorably the atom compares to a 2ghz core 2 duo)

        1. It….it doesn’t. The Atom doesn’t compare well to modern Celerons, really. But the point is it’s good *enough*, especially with that 4350 graphics card taking care of your 1080p media heavy lifting.

          I’d think the box would work well like this: Media, maybe emugaming, and that’s honestly about it. For me personally, that’s *fine*…but for others? I wouldn’t play mainstream PC games on this, or do media work(though I doubt people are clamoring to edit video and photos on their tvs…).

          1. Well yeah, I mean, I guess the question is what you want to do with your settop, and how much additional capacity you want to begin with, and whether that’s worth the extra $90-$140 to you. Although a real proper remote is worth its weight in gold compared to the cute but kind of a pain to use apple remote.

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