Niveus goes consumer-level with tantalizing Zone HTPC

Each year at CEDIA, we've been downright floored with Niveus' lineup. Unfortunately, it's out of reach for the vast majority of "mainstreet" dwellers. At long (long!) last, the company has decided to expand its reach and offer a product for the blue collars in America, and on paper, the Zone looks like a real champ in the flagging HTPC arena. Measuring in at 6.5- x 6.5- x 1.97-inches, this 3.2 pound box packs an awful lot of media playing oomph into a ridiculously small enclosure. Specs wise, we're looking at a 2GHz Core 2 Duo T5750 CPU, 2GB of RAM, gigabit Ethernet, a 160GB SATA drive, slot-loading Blu-ray optical drive, front-mounted IR receiver, bundled media remote, Intel's GMA X4500 HD graphics, HDMI 1.3 / eSATA ports and support for 7.1-channel surround sound. Over on the software front, you'll see Windows Vista Home Premium along with Niveus' own suite of apps (Movie Library, Studio, Media Server Companion and Weather). Unlike any other Niveus system, consumers can purchase the Zone for $1,499 directly from the outfit's website, and there's also a unique Zone Community down in the read link; check out a promotional vid after the break if you wish.