When Valve first discussed bringing the PC into the living room with Steam Machines, it outlined an entire ecosystem. On the high end we'd find $1,000-plus media center PCs, equipped with top-of-the-line hardware. But on the low end, there was a much more interesting proposition for those who already owned a capable PC: A streaming-only device that cost barely anything but relied on your home network and your primary tower for horsepower.
Thanks to GDC we now know Valve is working on its own streaming-only device, the $50 Steam Link. And as far as you-totally-can't-trust-them conference demos go, it worked really great! But it's also not out until November.
Enter the NZXT Doko — a $100 box capable of streaming your desktop PC to your TV right now. Unfortunately, even at twice the price of the Steam Link, it doesn't seem to work nearly as well.
Slim little package
Aesthetically, the NZXT Doko does exactly what it's supposed to do — blend in. The Doko is smaller than my cable modem, at about 5 inches in width and depth and an inch or so in height. The front features a row of USB inputs and a small power button, while the back has an HDMI out, 3.5mm audio out, power input, and Ethernet input.
A lip overhang is the single (sort of weird) design accent to what would otherwise be a small black rectangle. It's an utterly forgettable, utilitarian design that could offend no one. You won't notice it. You won't see it. It's perfect.
Set-up is extremely easy, albeit a bit of a mess. You plug in your Ethernet cable, power, HDMI, and any USB devices you want accessible, then turn the thing on. Great! It works!
And then everything starts to go downhill. The first roadblock I ran into? The first thing you need to do with the Doko is give the device a name. Unfortunately the text telling me this was obscured by some other text telling me I had to update my firmware.
Yeah, not the best first impression.
Then I found out there's no software keyboard on the Doko. I guess I was expecting something like the Alienware Alpha or a Steam Machine — controller-ready out of the box. No luck. You'll need to plug a mouse and keyboard into this thing just to create a profile, even if you never use it again.
Okay, great, fine. I can live with that. Let me just go dig out a keyboard and mouse and...perfect.
On the computer side, set-up is even easier. You install Doko's software, the Doko shows up as a device on your network, you select it, and you're good. If you're running Windows 7 you'll see Aero deactivate in favor of Windows 7's basic color scheme, but that's no big deal. You're now officially streaming your PC onto your TV! Hurrah! Welcome to the future!
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