We've been lucky enough to get our geek-paws on an HDX BD-1 several days before it's officially released for sale on the official Web site. What makes the BD-1 special -- compared to its HDX 1000 forebear -- is its newfound ability to play Blu-ray discs, which makes it ideal for people looking for an all-round media box.
In the box, you get an HDMI cable, remote control and power adaptor, which will get you started. No Blu-ray drive or hard disk is provided, so if you want to add those options, make sure you set aside some extra cash to buy them. The hard disk can go in the box, but the Blu-ray drive has to be external. Neither is essential, however, and most people will probably want to use the BD-1 with USB sticks, home networks or USB hard drives. Our humble advice: the Popcorn Hour C-200 is probably the best choice for people who want an all-in-one solution.
When you fire the machine up, you'll see that the user interface has been radically changed. The HDX no longer looks like a rebadged Popcorn Hour -- it's been given its own unique look. The setup menus are simpler too, and there really isn't much that needs to be configured to get you up and running. The device won't allow you to select any option that isn't available. So, until you add a hard disk, USB storage device or Blu-ray drive, those options remain greyed out.
Overall, our first impression of the BD-1 is excellent. It's a small, easy-to-use device with dozens of great features. It's certainly desirable hardware, but the question is: will its performance match our expectations? To find out we'll be putting the HDX BD-1 through its paces in a full review soon, so keep an eye on our reviews channel to get more insight into picture and sound quality, and how the BD-1 supports networking and media playback.
The BD-1 is available to pre-order now direct from HDX in the US, who'll charge you $219 (£135), plus VAT and shipping. There are also European distributors, but none in the UK yet. In the meantime, have a look at our photos of this delightful little machine.