Winning gdgt's StartUp contest has its perks -- just ask recent winner Marquee, which is showcasing version 2.0 of its Media Center here on the showfloor. The imposing device, currently available on the outfit's site for $899, packs 2TB of storage, 4GB DDR3 RAM, DVD player and a 2.4GHz dual-core Intel processor into an aluminum-lidded box to let you stream a mix of online and locally-stored multimedia content. Seen from above, the unit is mostly unadorned, save for a quite sizable power button, three circular vents and two notification LEDs. Off to the right side hiding just beneath that generous metal hood, lies ports for audio I/O and standard USB, with HDMI-out on the back.
Naturally, you need a way to parse through the goods and that's where Plex XBMC -- running atop Ubuntu 12.04 -- and a custom wireless controller outfitted with a full QWERTY keyboard come in handy. According to Marquee's CEO, set-up out of the box is a no-brainer and requires nothing more than connecting to an external display and your home network (via ethernet or WiFi) to get things started. We had the opportunity to take the Media Center for a quick test spin and immediately noticed a calibration issue that, combined with the cluttered remote, made for some extremely unintuitive navigation. You can check out some pics of the startup's progeny below.