This article is out-of-date and this product is discontinued.
- Software: LinuxMCE 1.1 (KU0704)
- User Interface: UI2 with alpha blending
- Processor: Via Eden 1.5 Ghz. Ultra low power 9 watt in the vertical mount version, and 20 watt in the set top box version
- RAM: 512MB
- Internal Hard drive for operating system: 40GB. All system drives in the FiireEngine are mounted for data storage.
- Network: Gigabit Ethernet
- Audio: Via Vinyl 6 channel audio, with line in, line out and mic. Standard set top box version also has SPDIF coas and tos-link for digital audio
- Video: Via UniChrome Pro II, with proprietary drivers and special alpha blended MPEG 2/4 and WMV9 acceleration
- IO: 4 USB 2.0 ports, 2 PS/2, 1 COM (COM port only on 1" version)
- Dimensions – vertical mount: 168 (h) x 300 (w) x 25.4 (d) mm
- Weight – vertical mount: 1200g
The Fiire Station runs LinuxMCE and can be used as a standard medium-performance PC. However, it also has specialized video decoding hardware to provide the best video quality, and offload all video processing, including sophisticated 1080i de-interlacing, OpenGL 3D effects, and alpha blending, all in the video hardware. The end result is you get better video quality than the massive, high end Windows Vista MCE systems, which require very expensive, power-hungry, hot processors to do the 3D alpha blended effects in Aero and video playback in MCE. The FiireStation offers even better video and a smoother UI experience while drawing as little as 9 watts of power, about 1/20th what a Windows Vista Media Center PC draws. That translates to a couple hundred dollars a year in energy savings if you leave your Media PC on all the time.
The Fiire Station is available in 2 versions: A 1” thin vertical mount designed to hide behind a plasma TV, and a standard set top box.
The vertical mount version means for the first time ever, you can have a full HD PVR and media player solution without any visible set top box or exposed cables. It comes with VESA mount holes. Most flat panel TV’s have VESA holes in the back for attaching them to a wall mount. So if your flat panel TV sits on a base, and not a wall mount, the Fiire Station attaches directly to the back of the TV using the VESA holes. If your flat panel TV is mounted to a wall, the Fiire Station is thin and narrow enough to fit inside a typical wall mount and can be attached to the wall, the mounting bracket, or the back of the TV. The vertical mount version costs more because it uses specialized precision components with ultra-lower power consumption so that it is only 1” thick, has no fans or vents, and can be tucked away in the small space between a TV and the wall.
The standard set top box version has more room in it and extra connections, including component video and SPDIF for digital audio. The vertical mount version does not provide SPDIF connectors because flat panel TV’s do not have SPDIF inputs. If you are using this in an equipment rack and have a receiver with SPDIF, the standard set top box version is better. Plus, you can have a local DVD/CD player in the standard set top box version. For the vertical mount version, you can leave your CD’s or DVD’s in a jukebox attached to the Fiire Engine.
Where to buy
As of May 1, 2008 only the 1" version had a serial port built-in. According to fiire customer service the set-top box version has an available serial port header and a DB-9 punch out. However, Polywell (the manufacturer of the fiire boxes) does not populate the DB-9.
According to customer service, the case of the 2" Fiire Station does not have a spot for a DB-9.
According to fiire technical support a new generation of the Fiire Station and Engine are slated to be released to coincide with the release of LinuxMCE 07.10.