- Radio: In this case the built-in DIGIMatrix FM-tuner is involved. Besides listening to the radio, you can also record audio programs and save them on the system HDD.
- Music: Home Theatre allows listening to music files, including those in mp3 format from the preliminarily set directory on the HDD. In this mode you can also listen to audio CDs. To our great disappointment, this work mode doesn’t allow listening to mp3 files burnt onto CD-discs.
- Pictures: In this mode you can view graphics files, which have been preliminarily saved in a given folder of the system hard drive. Moreover, you can even start a slide show with the music playing in the background.
- Video clips: Home Theatre can playback video clips from a folder on the system HDD.
- DVD/VCD: In this mode Home Theatre plays DVD/VCD discs loaded into the optical drive of the system.
Of course, you can navigate through Home Theatre not only with the mouse or keyboard, but also with the remote control unit, which goes with the system.
Theoretically, Home Theatre software can really make it much easier to use DIGIMatrix as a consumer electronics device. However, our experience with this utility showed that it still needs some polishing off. Besides the lack of some very useful features, which should be available by any multimedia center, Home Theatre has some problems with the already existing functions.
First of all, I was very disappointed to find out that Home Theatre is very slow. It takes up to a few seconds for DIGIMatrix to switch from one work mode to another. Moreover, this program freezes quite often, which is also pretty annoying. Hopefully, ASUS will be able to eliminate these upsetting drawbacks in the nearest future.
It should also be pointed out that a big drawback of Home Theatre is the lack of widely spread DivX MPEG4 support, which makes this software less functional. Moreover, we wish the support of mp3 sound files was not so limited, because so far it is impossible to play these files directly from a CD-disc. Home Theatre could be much easier to use, if the user could select folders with digital multimedia content. In the present utility version these directories are set during the software installation, so that you have no chance to change the folder names when the software is already running.
It is also no good that the software bundle of ASUS DIGIMatrix doesn’t include any utilities for TV and FM tuner management. This way it is impossible (without any external tools) to watch TV and listen to the radio in the background mode, when DIGIMatrix is running some other applications. However, this is the advantage of a PC based multimedia center that the user has freedom of choice as it comes to software. There are a lot of different programs in the Internet intended for tuners management and any user will be able to find a tool for his taste. The same way the incompatibility with DivX format can be eliminated. All you need to do is to install the corresponding codec onto your DIGIMatrix-system and you will be able to watch movies saved in this format in the standard Windows Media Player.
Rich networking capabilities of ASUS DIGIMatrix make it evident for us that this system should be connected to the World Wide Web. This way you will be able to get fresh multimedia content regularly. Especially since it is no secret for anyone that despite all effort undertaken by the legal authorities, new movies and music leak into the Web very rapidly.
In conclusion to our ASUS DIGIMatrix multimedia center review I would like to say that this system allows listening to the radio and playing DVD and VCD discs without even loading the operation system. To make it happen you should use a special small utility aka Audio DJ, which is stored in the flash-memory together with the mainboard BIOS. However, note that this utility has very limited functionality and highly ascetic interface. That is why we will not go into details describing it today. In fact, the only evident advantage of this Audio DJ tool compared with Home Theatre described above (besides the ability to work without starting the OS) is its ability to play mp3 files directly from a CD-disc.