Originally Posted by impala454
I wouldn't say HTPC is dead, just a niche. There's some great hardware and software out there, but nobody is marketing it worth a crap. You still have to know something about building computers to build up a nice, functional HTPC.
Allow me to apologize in advance for a rather lengthy post...
Definitely niche, IMO. More and more web-connected devices like Roku, Boxee Box, BD players, PS3, Xbox360, etc are making their way into the living room, but these are not HTPCs. I believe these devices are eliminating the need for a dedicated HTPC for many people, but that doesn't mean they are dead. Autostick, Manumatic, Tiptronic and paddle shifters may be "killing" the stick shift, but there is still a large number of people who prefer a manual transmission, even if they are in the minority.
I have 2 PS3s, a web-connected LG BD player, a SA-8300HDC DVR and a MacBook Pro (that I connect to the TV only to watch ESPN3.com) and I have been considering building an HTPC, but even for someone who is good with computers/electronics, there are some barriers.
First, I am married and introducing a new device into our home setup is always met with some resistance, but she is a good sport and picks things up quickly, especially using the Harmony remote. Also, she doesn't always approve of my purchases or see why we may need another piece of tech.
Secondly, the sheer number of options out there can be daunting. Once you choose your hardware (home-built or pre-assembled), you have to decide which software is best suited for your needs. I would need to personally test all available options (after online research and reading reviews) and decide which software works best for me.
I love doing this stuff, but there is definitely a lot of work involved. I guess my main point here is that if I feel this way about HTPCs, I can imagine how the "average" consumer would feel so intimidated by it that it's a non-starter for most and will remain niche.