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Hands-on with XStreamHD, and a video

Ben Drawbaugh

XStreamHD is going to be launching in a few months so of course we stopped by the booth to get a quick look. The user interface is modern and sleek with a focus on cover art -- it seemed snappy from our brief time with it. One thing we missed when we let you know about the ability to pre-order is that the $399 price tag doesn't include the satellite dish or installation. A self install kit will run you $99 and is easier to install than other satellite services since it is only aimed at a signal bird -- professional install costs will vary by area. After it's setup you'll need to pay $9 a month for the service and we're not exactly sure what's included, but phone support isn't. There will be a self help website setup which hopefully addresses any issues. The system is a 3 tuner ATSC DVR and of course a high quality pay per view movie service. The movies will run you between $3 and $6 each but we're told you'll have exclusive access to some titles, which could include movies that are still at the theater and those that aren't even available on Disc. The problem of course is that there aren't any TV shows offered yet, which means you're still going to need to get your Burn Notice fix another way -- no word if it'll play other content. And even worse for sports fans, there's no broadcast satellite content so even if TV content gets added down the road, you can still forget about watching the big game on ESPN HD -- of course any games available over the air aren't a problem. Overall we like the offerings but don't think it's worth the upfront costs and fees since it doesn't really let you cancel your cable. And at up-to $6 a movie, even though it is supposed to be the same quality as Blu-ray, it's still not very price competitive with Blu-rays via Netflix. Now of course we want to try it for ourselves, and if we happen to receive a unit for review we'll be able to make a final determination.

Gallery: Hands-on with XStreamHD | 4 Photos

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