ZAGG is a company known mainly for their InvisibleSHIELD skins that are designed to “protect” just about every portable device on the market, that is if you can manage to stick them on straight. So we were naturally surprised to learn of the company’s move into the realm of home theater and digital content through releasing the ZAGG box.
Available now for pre-order, this new competitor in the emerging set box wars contains some glitzy features that we felt were definitely worth a mention. First of all, as a video recorder, the device automatically transcodes captured video into two separate formats. One is optimized for viewing on your television, while the other is compressed for watching on the go via the iPhone. Its video recording capabilities aren’t just limited to cable or TV signals either. Instead any video device connected to the ZAGG’s three HDMI or two component inputs can be recorded for playback later. One particularly interesting use of this functionality mentioned by ZAGG staffers is the ability to record your Xbox games while playing them, to then show off your gaming skills to others later as a video. (Note: Dusty stop drooling now.)
Like the Slingbox it’s also built to distribute stored videos, photos, and music to a variety of other connected devices including any mobile phone via 802.11N WiFi thanks to on board web and UPnP servers. Conversely, this allows the ZAGG to stream content from other UPnP compatible devices as well such as your computer, and also transfer files over the network.
In terms of storage, the box will ship with a hefty 1TB of space, but four USB ports are available for making use of additional external hard drives too. An 8 in 1 memory card reader is also integrated for easy access to stored media on devices like cameras. Last but not least, the ZAGG box ships with a universal remote which works thanks to IR blasting. Even better, 3 IR blaster cables with 2 eyes and LED feedback are included, so you aren’t nickled and dimed as we’ve seen with some companies (*cough* Logitech) for additional gear to get this functionality up and running. The free iPhone app will also provide users with a fully functional universal remote and allow wireless control of all of the ZAGG’s operations, and anything else connected to it.
While official release dates are still somewhat vague and posted at sometime in Q2 of this year, overall based on it’s specs and flexibility to accommodate any platform, the ZAGGbox appears to combine a slew of attractive features we’ve formerly only seen available here and there from separate devices. So in that light, it’s rather gulp inducing asking price may just be worth it for finally obtaining the media freedom we’ve all had dreams about.
If you’re craving even more details watch the press videos provided by ZAGG and posted on the next page. The 2nd one is errr… interesting to say the least.