If you can cope with the ZOTAC ZBOXHD-ID34BR's rather underwhelming benchmarks, you're getting a very usable, very compact HTPC with integrated Blu-ray playback for $500. While you can get a PlayStation 3 for a bit cheaper, the ZBOX is much smaller and offers far more flexibility as far as running different media servers and support for Flash-based video. This actually would make an excellent choice as an HTPC for your bedroom or office TV.
Small and handsomely designed, it will fit in just about anywhere you decide to use it. USB 3.0 connectivity and an eSATA port offer plenty of options for expanded storage or playing media from a thumb drive or external platter drive. However, given the relative scarcity of ports, we think an integrated remote control would be an excellent thing for ZOTAC to add to this system.
Overall, the HD-ID34BR performed better than the HD-ID11 we reviewed back in September, but only just. With such a small size, relatively low cost and full feature set, you will have to give up something, and that something in this case is processing power.
But if you're looking for small HTPC and don't require much in the way of lightning fast encoding, the ZOTAC ZBOXHD-ID34BR is well worth a look.
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