Linksys is tossing its hat into the 2007 Media Center Extender ring with not one but two models. The DMA2100 is a small form factor MCE, while the larger DMA2200 offers a built-in upconverting DVD player. Both models attach to a standard or high-def TV to stream a variety of digital media--live and recorded TV, video files, music, and photos--from networked Media Center PCs located elsewhere in the home. Like the rival D-Link DSM-750, the Linksys models offer dual-band 802.11n wireless connectivity (for optimal streaming of HD video) and HDMI outputs. Interestingly, the DMA2200 has the same overall look and feel as the KiSS 1600, a European model from Linksys' European-based sub-brand.
Linksys is highlighting the software "plug-in" functionality of its Media Center Extenders, which will enable additional future features, such as DivX and XviD support, as well as interactivity with other networked devices in the home. But high prices will remain an obstacle to mass market adoption: The DMA2100 will retail for $300, while the DVD-enabled DMA2200 will cost $350. The latter price is the same cost as a 20GB Xbox 360. The Microsoft game console doesn't have built-in wireless, but it, too, can double as a full-fledged HD Media Center Extender--not to mention play games and HD video downloads from Xbox Live Marketplace. Both Linksys models will compete head-on with the Xbox--and Media Center Extenders from rival manufacturers--when they hit stores in November.
UPDATE (9/28/2007): Since this post was originally published, a Linksys spokesman contacted us to clarify that both the DMA2100 and 2200 will support the streaming of DivX and XviD videos straight out of the box--no additional downloads necessary.