Neuros Releases the Link, an Open Source, Web-Savvy Set-Top BoxS

Neuros, who built their reputation with weird, chunky (but wonderful) modular MP3 players, has long since moved exclusively to the home entertainment field. Their latest attempt at eroding the Apple TV's market share is the Link, a set-top streaming box that will pull video from a wide range of online TV sources — Hulu, NBC, ABC, etc. — as well as stream local audio and video content from any USB hard drive. As is always the case with Neuros set-tops, the Link's software is open source and ready for modification. This time, mercifully, that might not be the box's biggest draw.

With the Neuros.TV interface, the Link does something simple but spectacular. Instead of pushing you through a clumsy series of web portals, it gives you a simple, unified interface for browsing online video content. With out-of-the-box support for nearly any video codec (courtesy of mPlayer and VLC, mainly), a solid interface and an included wireless keyboard/controller, it's a capable machine. At $299 (or $249 without the keyboard), it'll be tough to take on the $229 Apple TV, which in addition to having an included local hard drive and access to iTunes, supports most of Neuros.TV's features though Boxee. Spec sheet below. [Neuros via Zatz]

Technical specifications

* 1080p H.264 video playback
* HDMI (max resolution 1920x1200, 1080p) output
* High-definition 6-channel Audio output
* Optical S/PDIF audio output
* Gigabit Ethernet
* 802.11 g/b WiFi, up to 54Mbps
* Lots of USB 2.0 High-speed Ports (6 external ones today)
* Housing: 300mm x 90mm x 326mm (11.8" x 3.5" x 12.8")
* Noise: under 27dB
* Controller: 2.4 GHz wireless keyboard trackball controller
* Software:
o Seamless integration with Neuros.TV, a free service that lets you organize and watch Internet TV on your TV
o Neuros distribution of Ubuntu 8.10
o Open-source video players (MPlayer, VLC, Xine). A comprehensive list of formats, containers and media can be found on the above websites.