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New Budget Home Theater Friendly PCs from Acer
By...Shafiah Shaban

Are you ever tempted to lug that computer of yours out of the office and into the living room so you can record live shows, or enjoy all of your stored media in all its 1080p video and 7.1 uncompressed audio glory?

With the move to digitize and archive media onto home servers, more people are considering hooking up their computers to their TV sets.

Let's face it, DVD players are limited in functionality when it comes to home networking – for example most DVD players will not allow me to stream an archived DVD from my media server - and the options provided by DVD recorders to record live TV programming pales in comparison to those in DVRs.

There is also that pesky problem of codecs to deal with.

Salvation lies in Home Theater PCs (HTPCs), but adoption has been surprisingly slow. The problem, aside from moving the computer back and forth between rooms, is that most HTPCs have traditionally been expensive, and to many just not aesthetically attractive enough to go alongside their new, slick HDTV.

Well, I'm glad to say Acer has heard the cry and is answering as best as it knows how.

The US's third largest PC vendor, revealed today its new line of Home Theater friendly, budget computers. Dubbed the X1200, the new series range from an MSRP of $459.99 to $699.99, offering the consumer a great deal of performance for little cost.

The included Windows Vista Premium incorporates all of Window's Media Center functionality allowing users to easily play DVDs, watch and record TV shows, download movies, stream content off connected storage and project their home videos.

Available in 3 flavors, the X1200 machines all offer 1080p video via HDMI, 7.1 HD audio surround, 4 Gigs of DDR2 RAM for smooth video playback, a 14-in-1 Media Card Reader, a 16x DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM SuperMulti, Double-Layer Drive, and Windows Vista(R) Premium 64 with SP1 all packaged in a sexy, rack-able black box.

The main difference between the U1520A Acer's low end machine offered at $459.99, and the U1510A, priced only at a $10 premium is the processor, each box bundled with the AMD Athlon™ X2 Dual Core 4850e Processor, and the AMD Athlon™ X2 Dual Core 5000+ Processor respectively.

The B1581A, priced at $699.99, is offered with a 500 gig hard drive, and a 22-inch Widescreen LCD Display.

The biggest and most obvious shortcoming of the X1200 series is Acer's failure to incorporate a Blu-ray drive. Whats a 1080p machine without BR? Acer does claim that all three computers are expandable, meaning it is possible to stick in a Blu-ray drive in the future, but who wants the hassle when Acer could have equipped at least one out of the three new models with Blu-ray?

All in all, this might be as good time as any to jump into the Home Theater PC game especially if you are not in a rush for Blu-ray. Did I mention that they look sexy?

Read the full story here:

Email the author of the article: shafiahshaban @ hotmail.com
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