updated 12:20 pm EDT, Tue April 15, 2008
NEC Lui Formal Launch
NEC this morning prepped the final launch of its Lui media streaming devices. Essentially more advanced versions of today's media extender devices, all four models provide a network connection to the music and video of a DLNA- or Windows Media Center-capable PC in a reportedly more elegant way than with traditional extender hubs. The Lui RP (pictured) is considered the standout with a UMPC-like handheld design; users are given enough control with a directional pad and QWERTY keyboard to find and play media from its four-inch LCD. The Lui RN offers the same formula in a 10.6-inch notebook that reaches a very thin size by depending on its media source for storage.
Two fixed devices also make up the initial line. Resembling a conventional stereo, the Lui SX both catches networked media and also fills in the role of a media hub itself, tuning up to two over-the-air digital TV broadcasts at once and including a Blu-ray drive as well as a hard drive for recording shows. HDMI output displays content up to a native 1080p. A full-featured desktop PC, the ValueStar R Lui, includes an internal card to pick up and share content between networked devices. NEC is short on specs but explains that the ValueStar ships in a slimline tower case and can be configured for more demanding users.
Every system ships first in Japan on April 24th. Prices start at the equivalents of $494 and $888 for the Lui RP and RN portables respectively, and scale up to $3,754 for the top-end Lui SX. The lone ValueStar desktop can be customized up to $2,110. NEC has no public plans for an international launch but says it will expand Lui to include support from other companies, including Buffalo and Microsoft. [via Impress]