Evesham's second media PC has been redesigned to be rack mounted or stacked. It's better specified too, with a Pentium 4 processor, 160GB hard disk, two digital tuners and a DVD-RAM writer and is one of the first to adopt a XP Media Center Edition 2005 operating system.
Though it looks like an expensive hi-fi deck from the front, the back tells the real story. No concessions have been made for integration with a hi-fi or home cinema. There's no video component output or Scart, so you'll need a plasma or LCD panel rather than a regular CRT set. Our review sample had a VGA output, but apparently, production samples have a superior DVI output too.
E-box has its own processor and sound card with line-level mini-jack outputs for six channels. Great if you're connecting to a desktop multimedia speaker system, but no use for home cinema. It doesn't have stereo phono outputs either.
But there is an optical S/PDIF output to carry Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks to an AV amp. Strangely, our review sample didn't have one so we can't elaborate on sound quality. There are a few other minor negatives that should be mentioned. PC processors need fan cooling and the e-box has three so some noise is unavoidable. It also can't play DVD-Audio or SACD discs.
While it performs many tasks with aplomb mainly thanks to Microsoft's MCE 2005 it has no other advantage over those other machines running the same operating system.