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Velocity Micro and Fuze Team Up Shows Promise

September 1, 2008

Ian Dixon reports from a Velocity Micro press release that:

FUZE Media Systems, makers of a whole-home media system that has gained traction in the professional installation industry, and Velocity Micro, makers of high performance PCs, today announced that they have teamed to introduce an entry-level whole-home media system that will be sold at retail to the consumer market. The product, to be called ‘Velocity Micro FUZEBox,’ retails for $1995; available in the 4th quarter through the Velocity Micro website, the companies noted that the product will be available in national retailers for the Christmas season.

Although details are sparse, from reading the press release, the Fuze website and a prior podcast Ian did with Fuze this appears to be an affordable home media server based on Vista Media Center. Although it is more expensive than a system a knowledgeable hobbyist could assemble, it is certainly better priced than most custom-installed media center based systems.

Unlike many home theater PCs, this appears to act as a server rather than a PC that is connected to a TV. I think this trend is a good one as PCs connected to TVs tend to be more prone to problems, more expensive, and more complicated to set up properly. With many good new Vista Media Center extenders out now this sort of approach could really take off.

Fuze seems to bring a custom UPnP based music component, and top-level menu to an otherwise ordinary Media Center setup. These seem like well chosen customizations.

Indeed the UPnP based music component appears to make possible "music only" stations throughout the home that do not require a television.

I have said a number of times that Vista Media Center remains the best multiroom AV system available, I hope that more turnkey systems like this will make it available and desirable for more of the people that could really benefit from it.


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