Here's the Acer AspireRevo, the first of many tiny PCs with NVIDIA's latest Ion graphics chips inside. Ion combines Intel's power-sipping Atom 230 processor with NVIDIA's graphics, resulting in a hot box that can easily play back high-resolution 1080p video clips — even Blu-ray with 7.1 surround sound if you tack on an external player. Those with twitchy fingers will also like its gaming prowess, slicing through DirectX 10 games such as Spore, Call of Duty 4, and Sim City 4 with aplomb.
Small, quiet, energy-efficient and attractive, this is the beginning of an era of home theater PCs that can handle the highest-rez video files with the least amount of hassle. Its only drawback? It can't play back HD streaming files over the Internet using the ubiquitous Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight formats, because they're not hardware-accelerated, but Adobe and Microsoft might add that acceleration by the time we see a tidal wave of these Ion-packing PCs this summer.
Acer's not talking pricing and ship date just yet, but expect this HDMI-packing, fast-wireless-connecting box and many others to hit soon, competing against each other to bring all their prices down. This could be the catalyst that finally brings real PCs into the home theater for way less than $500.