DISCover Technology
Type Console Developer Digital Interactive Systems Inc.
Release Date 2004-May Region(s) Worldwide
Initial Price $1,764 USD Games Released Thousands (PC Compatible)
     by Dark Watcher
It was bound to happen.  Perhaps the cause stemmed from Microsoft's Xbox game console with its computer like architecture.  What are we referring to you may ask?  It is called DISCover.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2003, Digital Interactive Systems Inc (The "DIS" in DISCover) debuted a patented technology that allowed console gamers the ability to play computer PC games on a console like machine. The machines themselves were merely computer components in a compact casing. It is even driven by Microsoft's Windows XP computer operating system. So what makes it special?

The DISCover patented technology was developed to take the fuss out of computer gaming.  Units are preloaded with thousands of scripts that automatically configure all the game requirements needed to run a particular game.  No need to adjust computer settings or tweak graphics and frame rate.  The gamer simply places a CD computer game into the console and the game simply starts up like any console game would (and either on TV or monitors).  DISCover also connects itself behind the scenes via dial-up or broadband to the company's server database for script updates and game mods.  This technology was called "Drop 'n' Play".
ApeXtreme console
DISCover consoles would vary hardware wise.  This is because Digital Interactive took the 3DO approach.  In other words they license the DISCover technology out to retailers.  The retailers can then put out their own versions of the DISCover console.  They had negotiated with Hyundai Electronics, Pioneer, Apex, Gateway, Alienware, HP, ABS and Dell. Manufactures could use the technology with set top boxes, DVD / MP3 players and TiVo type devices.  Also since the units make use of Windows XP it will be compatible with any other input devices necessary such as game port, USB, firewire, standard mouse and keyboard connections, etc.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2004, the first console to make use of DISCover patented technology was debuted by Apex.  The ApeXtreme was a set top box that would feature a 40 GB Hard Drive, nVidia nForce 2 IGP, 256 MB DDR RAM, a digital video recorder, an AMD Athlon XP 2000+ Processor, Progressive Scan and HDTV Support.  It would also have a 56K v.92 modem and an Ethernet connection with four front USB ports for keyboards, mice, gamepads or joysticks and one rear port.  Unfortunately, the company lacked the financial stability to bring it to consumers.  It never appeared.

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2005 saw the rebirth of DISCover.  The company partnered up with Alienware and used the technology exclusively in their new Media Center PC line.  The technology now featured the addition of downloadable games and services on top of their existing "Drop 'n' Play" service.  It was now called "My Games" and seems to have stolen the Phantom Console's thunder.

FACT: Two Alienware Media Center PC's became available in 2005, and both featured DISCover technology.  The technical specs for the DHS 2 (original model) are located in the Specs & Manuals section.
     Officially licensed releases
ApeXtreme Media & Game Console (unreleased)
ApeXtreme Top \ Front

Alienware DHS 2
Alienware DHS 2 Alienware DHS 2
Alienware DHS 2 Front Ports Alienware DHS 2 Back Ports

Alienware DHS 5
Alienware DHS 5 Alienware DHS 5
Alienware DHS 5 Front Ports Alienware DHS 5 Back Ports
     Non-licensed hardware releases
This system is already a clone (PC architecture)
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.  The Alienware DHS 2 with DISCover Technology is being reviewed. Alienware logo
Alienware DHS 2 - Front
Alienware DHS 2 - Ports
Alienware DHS 2 - Back

Console Design 08 The DHS is housed within a stylish silver casing that is designed to fit into any AV standard (16.9" W x 15.6" D x 4.0" H).  Brightly lit LED displays adorn the front of the unit with a very convenient flip-down door providing easy access to various inputs.
Console Durability 08 This is a pretty sturdy unit and does have some girth to it.  I have not experienced any issues with this device in the two years that I have had it.  The DHS is also surprisingly quiet (unlike the early 360 consoles).
Controllers 02 A controller does not come with the unit - just a wireless keyboard/mouse and multi-functional remote.  These function well for general navigation of the system, but are rather brutal when it comes to gaming.  Connections for standard PC gamepads are available (2).
Graphics 07 The ATI Radeon X300 does a fairly good job  running most games that are not overly complex.  Video playback is excellent, even when multi-tasking.
Audio 07 Overall rather average compared to its high-end PC competitors, but having the built-in 7.1 Surround Sound inputs is a definite plus.
Media 09 The DHS 2 supports basically all forms of CD (48x read) and DVD (16x read) media.  See the Specs & Manuals section for more details.
Game Library 08 The DHS uses Windows XP Media Center Edition as its operating system, so the compatible library is quite extensive.
Gamer Value 03 If you already have a PC, it is difficult to recommend the DHS 2 due to its high cost.  The system does feature a myriad of multimedia functionality (TV tuners, DVR, etc.), but chances are that most people already have these bases covered.
Collector Value 07 This is a tough rating to determine.  The DHS 2 seems to be a bit rare and is rather pricey (at least mine was).  Considering there are only two systems that have built-in DISCover Technology (the DHS 5 being the other), snagging one of these will probably pay off in the long run.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Though not proprietary in nature, DISCover Technology does open the door for many gamers to experience some great PC exclusives on their HD displays.

The PC gaming world is sometimes avoided by gamers due to the necessity of setting various options, specifying video drivers and the like.  With Drop 'n' Play technology that is offered with DISCover systems, you truly can be enjoying PC gaming in a matter of minutes.  These systems are definitely worth a look, especially if you have an existing PC games collection.

PC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC gamesPC games
     Captured in-game images
Loading Screen
Game Interface

     First and third party system emulators
Not required - this system is designed to play PC games on a standard television.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type Processor Speed Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Intel Pentium 4 Processor 3.0 GHz ATI Radeon X300
Graphics Controller
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
Up to 1920 x 1080 (HD) 16.8M colors Unknown HD Audio, 192.0 KHz Sampling Rate. Dolby Surround Sound
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
CD-ROM (48x Read\Write),
DVD (16x Read, up to 16x Write)
Varied Thousands (PC Compatible) CD\CD-R\CD-RW, DVD\DVD-R\DVD+R\DVD+RW, MP3, etc.
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
160 GB Serial ATA HD 8-in-1 Multimedia Card reader Keyboard, Mouse, Gamepad Compatible with standard PC devices (keyboard, etc.)
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Two (IR Control) 56.7 Kbps Modem
802.11g Ethernet Port
1394a FireWire, USB 2.0, 7.1 Channel Surround Sound, FM Antenna, Microphone jack,  Headphone jack RF\Coax (out), Composite (in\out), S-Video (out), VGA (out), DVI (out)
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input : 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Backup Battery: 3.0V coin cell
Toslink Optical Digital Audio out
Coax Digital Audio out
Windows XP Media Center Edition OS, built-in DVR, TV Tuner (2)
Not available.  Can you help us out?  You will definitely receive full credit for your contribution.  Email

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
ApeXtreme at the CES 2004 [1]

ApeXtreme at E3 2004 [2]

[1] Courtesy of AnandTech
[2] Courtesy of Mike K
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