Like many other prospective consumers I've been paying attention to these latest products offered in the form of the ISTAR MINIHD and the PCH A-100. To this point, these units show promise, but are missing some of the full features that would make these units a "must buy".
1.. What are the full specifications and price of the ISTAR H10?
2.. Are there pictures of the unit yet?
--- Someone commented that they had seen the unit.
3.. There has been comment on the inclusion of space for an internal HDD
--- Will this internal interface be SATA or ATA?
--- Will the H10 support 2.5" and/or 3.5" drives?
--- If SATA, will firmware support reading S.M.A.R.T temp data from HDD, and being accessible in an ISTAR debug menu?
4.. Will the ISTAR H10 have a DTS license and support DTS decoding?
--- This will enable downmix of DTS audio to stereo on televisions that do not have DTS decoding. (Great for bedrooms)
5.. Will the HDMI 1.3 interface be capable of passing through DTS-HD & True HD?
6.. Will the ISTAR have gigabit ethernet for fast transfer of files to the internal HDD?
7.. Will there be any improvements with H.264 content and L5.1 playback?
--- If so what is the max number of reference frames per resolution? (720p, 1080p, etc)
I posed similar suggestions for feature improvements to a future Popcorn Hour unit in an official thread on the networkedmediatank forums.
Listed by level of importance
1. On/Off Switch
2. INTERNAL SATA interface (let's face it manufacturers have been ceasing production of ATA drives for awhile)
3. DTS Decoding (important to hear audio without AV receiver)
4. S/PDIF optical (DTS can either be decoded by PH or configured for pass through)
5. HDMI 1.3a
6. Gigabit Ethernet
7. Rear and Front USB ports
8. ESATA Interface
9. Wireless N (too expensive for integrated, maybe as a separate adapter)
10. Intergrated Blu-ray Drive (would be nice, but still too expensive. You can't keep pricepoint low if you add this)
The first seven revisions should be possible at a minimal increase in cost. You'd have to pay licensing for DTS and HDMI 1.3a, but the basic design and dimensions of the present unit would not need to change much.
A better option for those wanting Blu-Ray would be to design a new PH with a removable external 5.25" drive slot in the unit and then provide an updated list of supported and tested 3rd party drives (plextor, LG, etc). This would keep the cost per PH unit down but still allow an owner the possibility to upgrade. Supported 5.25" Blu-Ray drives could be bought by PH owners from online PC parts stores like Newegg.