Setup & Features
Getting the ION 330HT setup is pretty easy. I decided to put the system in my bedroom where I have a small 20-inch Vizio TV. I connected the system up VIA HDMI, although keep note this system does not come with a HDMI cable. Once I had everything connected I had to install an operating system and I opted for Windows 7. After I installed the operating system, drivers, and some utilities I was ready to go!
With Windows 7 you have Media Center built right in so you don’t have to worry about getting 3rd party media center software if you like Windows Media Center. I really like using media center it is very easy to use and you can even use it to play media over the network. Currently I use a NAS to store all of my media and in the living room I use my Xbox 360 to play it, now I can play all the media in my bedroom through Media Center. You can also just load the system itself up with media as well, the 320GG included hard drive gives you quite a lot of room for media.
I really like that this system is internet ready and not just via the Ethernet connection it has WiFi as well. So it really does not matter where you put the ION 330HT it will always be connected to the internet. This is great because Windows Media Center has internet TV built into it, also Hulu has released a desktop application that works great on this system.
One of the really cool features of the ION 330HT system is the Instant Boot feature that works with the included media center remote. Once you install Instant Boot you can go ahead and open it and select which mode you would like. Fast Mode keeps the AC power on and loads the system back up quick, but both modes are very quick. So how this works is you hit the power button on the remote and the system will turn off, then hit the power button again and the system will turn right back on. This is a nice feature because one you don’t want to have the system constantly running and two because you don’t have to get up and press the power button on the system, just use the remote.
I tested the DVD player and it worked flawlessly, but I wanted to see how well a Blu-ray movie would playback on the system. Luckily I had the ASUS SBC-04D1S-U External Slim Blu-ray Combo Drive lying around. I hooked it up and played the Matrix on it and playback was flawless using around 15-30% CPU usage.