AV Components
URC’s PSX-2 Is AppleTV Killer
urc psx-2
April 30, 2009 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Universal Remote’s new networked iPod dock offers users an easy-to-use interface and access to their home network, including access to their iTunes content.
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Posted by anon  on  04/30  at  10:42 AM

um, isn’t the major draws of the appletv is the fact that you don’t need a “professional” to install? while there are several functions apple could add to the device to make it more functional, to say it is inferior because you don’t have an installer to call when things go south is reaching. last, when doing a review (and certainly a product comparison) it’s a good idea to include a smidgen of pricing info. if it’s not available, it’s ok to say it.

Posted by bob archer  on  04/30  at  11:02 AM

Hi Anon, the cost of the dock is $400 and the reason why I wrote it up is that not everyone wants to spend a weekend setting up an AppleTV or media server type of product.

As I mentioned the benefit is that an installer handles the install and the back end support.

AppleTV is a great product, but as even the most diehard Apple supporter will tell you it’s limited in what it can do.

The PSX-2 with URC’s remotes, especially the MX-6000 is much more state of the art than any DIY product that’s on the market.

The PSX-2’s two-way feedback, customizable programming options complement URC’s remotes in a way that no product can.

Posted by toddious  on  04/30  at  11:06 AM

The PSX-2 is indeed a breakthrough product. Full On-Screen GUI with very nice IR code library for direct access to each letter, playlist, artist, shuffle, etc.

THe on screen menu makes this work with any type of system, from simple to complex. Component video output for video playback of your iPod Video files, and internet connection for connecting to your home network and audio files.

It is a very cool piece, and retails for $399.

Posted by NTDesigner  on  04/30  at  11:39 AM

This device, just like every other iPod dock, will not allow you to view photos that are stored on the iPod.  Additionally, you can’t store hi-def content from the iTunes store on an iPod, so no hi-def playback of iTunes purchased content.  Lastly, none of these after-market docks and devices can properly handle “smart playlists” made in iTunes and they also don’t update many of the iPod stats like “skip count”, “play count”, etc. which many iTunes users take advantage of.  The Apple TV will support all of these features, has an unrivaled user interface and is cheap.  I like the convenience of rs-232 control, etc. as much as the next custom a/v geek, but I don’t think there is anything out there yet that comes close to the Apple TV for a customer that uses iTunes to manage their media library.

Posted by Nathan Hesson  on  04/30  at  12:37 PM

I realize this is a shameless plug but it is on topic.  Checkout for bi-directional control of an AppleTV from Crestron systems.  We’re currently looking at expanding to other automation platforms as well.

Posted by cc  on  04/30  at  01:25 PM

so spend over a thousand bucks (device, remote, installer) to get a device that isn’t even as functional as an appletv? 

it hardly takes a weekend to setup an appletv…

Posted by bill watson  on  04/30  at  02:22 PM

Apple TV killer? Give me a break. How much did URC pay you to post this advertisement which is just basically a rewritten press release?

Posted by bob archer  on  04/30  at  02:27 PM

Have any of you tried the product. Have you visited an authorized dealer?

Think of it this way: When your car needs a grease, oil and filter, do you go to the store, buy the oil and filter and crawl under the car and do it yourself? Probably not. How about The brakes, do you buy your pads, turn the rotors and install the new brakes?
That’s highly unlikely.
Visiting an installer is no different than a mechanic. Most people don’t tinker with their electronics or their cars.
Enthusiasts are a different matter however.
Keep that in mind. This is a cool product. Go visit a dealer and see for yourself before you condemn a product you’ve likely never seen in person.

Posted by anon  on  04/30  at  03:18 PM

quote:“not everyone wants to spend a weekend setting up an AppleTV”

Bob, if it took you a weekend to setup the appletv, then yes, you should definitely hire and installer… and get out of the tech business entirely. i am all for bringing in the pros to help with the complicated stuff, or change my brake pads/rotors as you allude. but the point i tried to make in the original post is that the appletv is so simple, by design, that just about anyone can plug it in and go. no installer necessary. that is a major plus for lots of consumers, and not just the diy “enthusiasts”.

Posted by bob archer  on  04/30  at  05:21 PM

Hi Anon, I understand your point about the time and money factors involved with AppleTV and some other products. In my house we own multiple iPhones, Macs and iPods, I know what owning Apple products is all about.

My point with this URC product is that it is very cool and when it’s combined with one of the company’s remotes like the MX-6000 or MX-980 it’ offers users a really nice combination that not only controls an entire system, but it also provides state-of-the-art networking capabilities with features that aren’t available to the mass market, which include content streaming, customized playlists, RSS feeds, etc. 

Not everyone wants to devote time to set up an electronics component and they are willing to pay a professional to perform those duties.

The DIY’ers shouldn’t dismiss a product like this simply because they don’t have access to a limited distribution like like URC’s custom products.

Posted by Luke Nelson  on  04/30  at  09:25 PM

I work for an integrator and I’ve installed and programmed a few of these docks.  They give you so much more functionality than any othe dock on the market.  When paired with the MX-6000 it gives you complete control over your system.  You don’t even need a television to control your music collection.  The on-screen 2-way feedback will allow you to walk throughout your house and control your music collection.  A slick remote for zoned audio w/out paying the price for Crestron or AMX.  Only downside is the limited amount of IP devices you can control.  Universal needs to allow integrators to write their own drivers for ultimate customization.  Pronto has a one-up on them until they give us that feature.

Posted by Marc  on  04/30  at  10:32 PM

Apple TV killer?  It depends what kind of Apple TV you have.  It ‘might’ better a stock ATV but not a hacked one.  Have you seen what a hacked ATV can do running XBMC or some other interface?  Just Google XBMC and check out the interface and what it can do running on ATV.  It’s without a doubt the best thing I have purchased for my home theater.  Sure you need some sort of technical know-how to set it up, but it’s not by any means difficult.  Plus the PSX-2 is only a music server, from what I’ve read about it, so no video.  Who wants to spend $400 on a dock and $1500 on a remote when you can get a hacked ATV on ebay for $200-250.  I’ll get off the soap box for now but I just don’t get it.

Posted by Anon  on  05/01  at  09:56 AM

i guess i’m not being clear enough - the PSX-2, whatever the features (and they do sound nice), requires a professional install. The appletv does not. that point alone separates the two by miles for most consumers. so to compare the two is just wrong.

and while a percentage of consumers don’t want deal with the hassles of setting up their a/v equipment, i don’t think the atv falls into that category. if you have a tv and a networked computer already in your home, the atv should require about 15 mins to install. so again, using the atv in your argument to sell the PSX-2 is off base.

i have no problems with installers. they serve a much-needed function. i am merely pointing out that the atv is not a difficult component to setup and therefore a poor choice to use in this comparison.

Posted by Pete  on  05/01  at  10:50 AM

An AppleTV killer would have to be a product that provides similar functionality or better at a similar or better price.

Does this device stream iTunes movies and tv shows?  I don’t see that in the press release… this is the main selling point of the AppleTV. 

Not sure why you are comparing this to AppleTV? Also… with a recommended remote + installation it is many times more expensive… many many times more expensive.

This is a nice doc, but not an AppleTV killer.

Posted by Luke Nelson  on  05/01  at  11:32 AM

It does stream video.  It networks with your itunes account or windows media server.  It has a component video output so you can show high def content.  The key to this unit is that it is a dock.  So you can take any ipod an instantly get all your media including videos.  However, for the money I personally would buy an Apple TV .  You can hack an Apple TV and add Boxee.  Much like what Marc said it will add IPTV to the functionality.  You can get Hulu, YouTube, and many more feeds directly to a pretty user interface using an Apple TV.  This basically gives you on-demand television for free!  Once the popularity of this grows demand for cable and satellite will go down.  If you havn’t I highly suggest checking out Boxee  Then add this feature to your Apple TV.

Posted by J Xibalba  on  05/02  at  09:06 AM

As many others have said (except those being paid to push this product), the PSX-2 is unfortunately not a true media server and more of a glorified jukebox with a great remote for a significantly prohibitive cost.

The AppleTV running XBMC or Boxee makes the PSX-2 look like 5-10 year old technology.  The AppleTV literally takes 15 minutes to setup to your home network and wirelessly streams ALL media - TV shows, movies, photos, music, podcasts to your HD TV.  You can also use your iPhone as a remote for the AppleTV and Boxee interfaces.  Also XBMC and Boxee plays almost every single codec so ANY video source will work excellent.  And if you don’t know your way around a home network, you can just plug in a USB drive with media to the AppleTV and start enjoying.  I have personally used XBMC since 2004 and prefer it to Boxee.  The AppleTV is not perfect and does have a few drawbacks - for example slower processor speed so it cannot do a true 1080 HD.

It’s just embarrassing and ignorant to try and compare these two products - actually if the AppleTV wasn’t mentioned in the “review”, the PSX-2 may look like a better product in a different category.  And yes, I do change my own oil and brakes.

Posted by bob archer  on  05/02  at  11:26 AM

Hi J Xibalba have you actually visited an authorized dealer to try the dock.

How do you know how it compares.

I would suggest if you are going to make wild claims like we are getting paid to promote this product you should do your homework and that starts by visiting a URC dealer.

It is a comparable product because they are both capable of streaming content from iTunes, which includes video.

At the rate of who’s going to do 1080p first I wouldn’t count out URC doing it first. To Apple the home entertainment category is a small piece of their product/revenue puzzle. They are much more concerned with new generations of iPhones, iPods and its core business of computers.

URC could easily bring to market 1080p with this product before Apple decides to get into a true media server.

I have no inside knowledge of this and I am not paid like you think. I know however that URC is a consumer electronics company that makes products for an authorized dealer network, as well as for its OEM and retail partners.

It is not a computer company making retail electronics products like Apple.

Apple TV is just another skew for Apple until they decide to dedicate more resources to the residential market.

Finally the URC combination of the MX-6000 and PSX-2 is way beyond what any DIY’er could cobble together. I suppose however you probably don’t know that because you’ve never visited a URC dealer.

Posted by J Xibalba  on  05/02  at  12:49 PM

Regarding Mr. Archer - Thanks for your honesty regarding compensation on this product.

No, I have not visited a URC dealer and do not plan to - according to your review and the company’s material the PSX-2 offers me significantly less of a media experience than my AppleTV running XBMC and at a much higher price.  The PSX-2 does not offer HDMI and has no digital audio out - the AppleTV does.  I can watch almost any video regardless of codec on XBMC via the AppleTV, the PSX-2 only will stream the proprietary codec via iTunes.  It also does not appear that I would be able to view a photo slideshow while listening to my music using the PSX-2.  I cannot view the weather or watch TV shows via Hulu, CNN, ABC, and other providers like I can with Boxee on the AppleTV.

The PSX-2 only provides music playback control via an iPod or streaming from iTunes and thus regardless of the product or interface, the PSX-2 would leave me severely deficient of true multi-media entertainment - unlike my current AppleTV experience.  Your article will save me the time I would waste by visiting a URC dealer.  And I am not sure why you talked about URC vs Apple and future product releases when your article compares the PSX-2 and the AppleTV and is interestingly titled, “URC’s PSX-2 IS AppleTV Killer.”  A product cannot “kill” another without at least having somewhat similar features or capabilities - and just streaming iTunes alone is not sufficient.

Posted by bob archer  on  05/02  at  02:36 PM

J Xibalba I want to emphasize that no I am not paid by URC, but I have seen the product and I found it to be a really compelling product.

Just for your information I am in the process of reviewing the product and I am still learning the software for the programming of the MX-6000.

You are also missing the point of the product. When installed with the MX-6000 the devices can as I’ve stated before be set up with RSS feeds for weather, news, sports, local traffic etc.

The MX-6000 can also be set up in conjunction with your cable or statellite box’s DVR functions to do everything you state at whatever resolution the native broadcast is.

That means it can do everything you just mentioned legally without the hassle of worrying about unstable firmware upgrades, and Wi-Fi and IR control (The 6000 does IR and RF and RF is much more stable as a control protocol Wi-Fi).

I’ll say it once again, an A/V hobbyist should not dismiss this product because they can’t find it for some discount price on the Internet. This is a really nice combination and you don’t have to search around for XBMC, Boxee, Mac the Ripper, Handbrake or anything else. There is no cobbling a system together URC and the installer have done that for you.

The installer does it all for much less than an AMX or Crestron system.

Posted by J Xibalba  on  05/02  at  03:14 PM

Archer - thanks for the excellent reply - it does appear that there can be more accomplished with the PSX-2 by using the MX-6000 remote (which does add an extra $1,000 to the system).  I am not trying to be a jerk and am sorry to come off that way, but I think the issue is what myself and others have posted about - this product and the AppleTV overlap only ever so slightly from both product features and intended market points of view.  I believe that those looking for a home multi-media interface product would not be comparing the AppleTV ($230) to this URC setup ($1,400).  But, of course, with this being electronic house magazine, then obviously the reader base would be more affluent than the average consumer.

Also, I was unable to determine if this product could actually interface with the iTunes store and purchase TV shows, muvies, music, etc for viewing like the AppleTV can or if you would have to buy from your PC and then stream via the URC setup.  Thoughts?

To each their own…but for me, URC does not offer the features or capabilities that the AppleTV provides.

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