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Hi, new to forum and based in the UK - I'm interested to hear members views on what mass market device will eventually control digital media around US and European homes. Will it be HTPC, Network DVD, Set Top Box (Tivo/Replay), Xbox 360 or will this never be a mass market thing? Also does anyone see HTPC as a potential platform for whole home automation (smarthome automation - lighting, HVAC, Security) or will it remain an appliance only for management & distro of video, photos, music TV and 'Net?


I'm writing a column for a magazine here in the UK and look forward to your comments which will contribute to it.


Thanks in advance!


Chris, UK
 

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I am in the US... so take my opinion with that in mind (though I think it doesn't really matter which country...).


I do not think a HTPC as we currently know them will ever be mainstream. They are generally to complicated to run and setup (even MCE) for the average person.


What I do see are set top boxes that perform similar funtions will be made and intergrated with each other in some sort of fasion. Sort of like current stereos which are modular.


You will have a Tivo device, DVD/CD player, Cable/Sat box, stereo/HT system, a settop MCE front device (which may include any or all of the above).


As for Network DVD... cable/sat providers I think will eventually offer libaries of movies that are "on demand"....


HTPC and computers are running home automation now but this too will in the future probably need to go to a dedicated device in order to make it to mainstream. Though the device will probably be intergrated into a home entertainment system as well.
 

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Net DVD and Xbox 360 will most likely never take off. IP-tv will however.


HTPCs future will be decided by how it fares with next generation media. The amount of videophiles across the world is increasing all the time coupled with the ever dropping prices on quality projectors. This will increase the incentive to develope HTPCs with STB-like user comfort. But unless gets a wide support of next-gen formats this will never happen. Regarding automation w/ HTPC its already possible. But I doubt this will be a large market.


The multimedia capabilities of the PS3 will be interesting to follow, but if it will offer a real alternative remains to be seen.
 
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