I have just come from a meeting with Paul McIntosh of Linksys and he showed me their range of Network devices. The first thing I noticed is that they seem to get digital lifestyle concept. Their new router is sleek and the built in Management Software is very simple and visual for an end user to setup and maintain, us geeks can still dive in to IP settings etc but this has a nice network map showing all the devices connected to the network complete with pictures. You can enabled parental controls restrict web access on device, QOS (Quality Of Services) for video is enabled by default and you can prioritise devices, so you can make sure that a family member downloading bit-torrent does not affect playback of Recorded TV
They showed me the new Extenders. I really like the them, I had heard that the picture quality and the transitions where not that good but I can say that the picture quality is excellent and the transitions from menu item to item is smooth. Ok it’s not as smooth as the Xbox 360 but acceptable and while us geeks may notice is not as smooth as the Xbox, a average user will not but what they will notice is that there is no fan noise unlike the 360! The startup time is about 7 seconds, in other words it’s quicker than the Xbox 360 going from cold to Media Center. I am going to try and post some video of the menus in action later.
Overall I think Linksys "get it", the Extenders have high WAF and just work, the routers are simple to use and they want to understand how the Media Center community will use and get on with Extenders. I am going to get a review unit in a few weeks when they start shipping in the UK and I will do a more detailed review then.
Oh and yes the Extender works at 50hz or 60hz! More from Linksys on a future [TMCS]