I love CEC (consumer electronics control). I’ve written about it multiple times and I’m sold. Using my TV remote on my NUC is awesome. Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of different remote solutions (with varying levels of success) and they all had one thing in common: you needed an extra remote. CEC changed all that. With a TV that supports the feature and a CEC adapter attached to your NUC, it’s one remote to rule it all. Couldn’t get any better, right?
Oh, but it can. Intel has released the specs for their upcoming Apollo Lake-based NUC, its latest lower-cost Celeron-based model. These Celeron NUCs aren’t meant to be workhorses like their more expensive cousins, but they have enough features and power to make compelling choices for home theater systems. Looking at Intel’s NUC roadmap, this new model will be available as a complete system (memory, storage, and Windows 10 included), a traditional kit (roll your own), and a bare board. The specs show Intel is continuing with their steady upgrade of features on the new model, but buried in the feature list is this little gem:
HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60 Hz) with HDMI CEC via MegaChips MCDP2800-BCT DisplayPort 1.2a to HDMI 2.0 Level Shifter/Protocol Converter
That’s right; CEC on-board! So now, not only will you not need an extra remote to control your NUC, you won’t need an extra device to make CEC possible! You can read the full technical product spec here to see how CEC will behave on the NUC. It will, of course, include the built-in infrared receiver, so if you don’t have a CEC-enabled TV you’ve still got all of the usual remote control options. And you can still add CEC to several NUC models with one of GoRite’s CEC adapters or CEC-enabled lids, or to just about anything with the Pulse Eight external adapter.
But CEC on-board is going to be an awesome feature, and I can’t wait to try it! CEC has become a must-have feature for my TVs with a home theater NUC attached, and having it out of the box is going to be huge.
Each release of the NUC improves on the last generation in terms of performance, features, and capabilities, and this model appears to be no exception. Besides CEC, the audio and video capabilities have been beefed up, and I can see it becoming a serious player in the home theater PC arena. Of course all that hinges on how well it works, and the estimated release is January. So we’ll have to wait until early next year to take this one out for a spin.