Russound Smart Media Console SMC-45 Media Center PC Reviewed

Russound Smart Media Console SMC-45 Media Center PC Reviewed

From one of the most respected companies in custom audio video and home automations comes a PC based media center PC that can jump through many hoops including recording cable TV, archiving DVD-Video discs and much more.

russound_media_center_pc.jpgRussound offers high-end media center PCs sold through custom-retail channels.  The company's Smart Media Console series of media center PCs includes six versions, with different storage/processing specs and tuning options.  The SMC-45 ($7,499) is one of the mid-level machines, sporting a still-generous 1TB hard drive, a DVD/CD burner and dual CableCARD/Clear-QAM tuners, with DVR functionality and the ability to record two premium HD channels simultaneously.  If you are not a cable subscriber, the SMC-40 has the same specs as the SMC-45, but offers dual NTSC/ATSC tuners to tune over-the-air signals.  The SMC-45 doesn't include a Blu-ray player, but it does offer a nice assortment of video output options: HDMI, DVI, component, S-video and composite video.  Running the Windows Vista Ultimate operating system, the SMC-45 sports a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2GB DDR2 SDRAM and uses the Nvidia GeForce 8500GT graphics card.  On the audio side, the SMC-45 uses an Intel On Board sound card, with optical digital audio and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs.

Read Media Server Reviews from the likes of Apple, K-Scape, ReQuest and many more on this resource page.

As with other Windows Media Center PCs, the SMC-45 provides a simple user interface through which you can access and import music, photos and movies.  This model has a generous assortment of peripheral connections, including eight USB ports (only two are 2.0; the rest are 1.1), two FireWire ports and a 28-in-1 card reader.  The unit supports gigabit Ethernet via the back-panel RJ-45 port, but it does not have built-in Wi-Fi.  An RF remote and a wireless RF keyboard are included.

Russound is an Exceptional Innovation partner and develops products that are compatible with EI's Life/ware home automation software, which is designed to run on a Windows Media Center PC.  A Russound dealer can load the Life/ware software onto the SMC-45 and set up the system to control whole-house A/V and automation products via the Windows Vista user interface.  Consequently, the SMC-45 features some nice control options, with two RS-232 and 12-volt trigger ports, as well as one IR input and two IR outputs. 

Read Page 2 for The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion

russound_media_center_pc.jpgHigh Points
•  The Russound SMC-45 has a thorough back panel and excellent build quality.
•  It sports a large 1TB hard drive.
•  With the inclusion of dual CableCARDtuners, the SMC-45 lets digital cable subscribers record two premium HD channels simultaneously or watch one show and record another. 
• This product will be set up and configured by a trained installer and is Life/ware-ready, so it should be more stable to run automation systems. 

Low Points
• The SMC-45 doesn't support Blu-ray playback and the HDMI output is video-only. 
• The unit lacks built-in Wi-Fi.
• This unit is meant for digital cable users; it does not have internal NTSC/ATSC tuners, nor is it compatible with satellite TV systems.

The SMC-45 has a good list of connections and features and a large hard drive, but it is missing a couple of items (Blu-ray playback, Wi-Fi) that you can find in a less-expensive media center PC.  This product is ideally suited for someone who plans to exploit the SMC-45's home automation potential and requires a more stable PC with advanced control options.

Subscribe To Home Theater Review

You'll automatically be entered in the HTR Sweepstakes, and get the hottest audio deals directly in your inbox.
HomeTheaterReview Product Rating
Overall Rating: 
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!
© JRW Publishing Company, 2020
magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram