I've seen the XStreamHD satellite service demonstrated for the last couple of years at CES, but so far, it hasn't actually been available to consumers. Well, that's finally about to change—the service is due to launch on April 30. It allows users to download movies, music videos, and games from a satellite to a hard-disk-based server, from which they can be streamed to several receivers in the home—in fact, up to four HD streams can be served simultaneously. Users have the option of renting or buying the content, and they can even order physical discs if they wish. Movies are downloaded in 1080p/24 format with up to 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio (Dolby TrueHD is not supported as of now), and the server can download up to two titles at once, each with a maximum bandwidth of 100Mbps per stream.

Two hardware packages will be available—Fast Start ($400) and Pro Start ($500). Both come with 1TB of hard-disk storage, expandable to 4TB, and one receiver; additional receivers can be purchased from XStreamHD, or you can use any DLNA receivers. Both servers also include three ATSC tuners that let you record up to three over-the-air DTV broadcasts, and an integrated PBX server allows VoIP phone calls. The only difference between these two packages is that Pro Start includes analog audio outputs and provides a wider dynamic range for audiophiles. Users also have to pony up a monthly subscription of $10, which allows them to download as many titles as they want.