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Over the past few years I, like I presume many of you would not have considered buying a pre-built htpc. Sure, some SSF's would make decent HTPC's, but for the most part on a performace/value basis you would do better building your own - with the components YOU wanted, set up how YOU wanted it, quiet like YOU knew it should be.


[flashback]


Personally I have only bought one pre-built desktop, a Power Mac back in '96 (man was that pricey, like $4k w/ a 17" monitor). Professionally I have bought many a Sun (solaris - back in the day) server and a couple SGI's back when that was the only way to go for 3D animation workstations, those were ridiculously expsensive (I wont even say how much $$$), but both were some of the best engineered boxes I have some across. I guess that's nature of a dedicated hardware platform.


[/flashback]


Looking at the latest crop of "media pc's" and technology at CES, it occurs to me that many of the reasons we rolled our own are now being addressed by manufacturers and at a reasonable price point (I hope). It also occurs to me that soon you will probably not be able to build your own and get the most out of the HTPC experience (conspiracy? - NO, that's business folks). Viiv (what ever the h*ll that actually is), CC hdtv, etc will probably not be conducive to (or even possible for) the DIY'r or linux user. Laptops are looking more and more capable lately (and with most features onboard, there's not much need for ungrading)... will price drops make it a reality for the many?


I think, the real question is: Do I [we] really care?


I know for myself, I have looking at "client" type solutions - playback only - for a long time, and relegating tasks like capture, download and storage to server(s). Will, what's in the pipe fit the bill? and even if there are trade offs will it be worth it?


It's jsut a few days till Mac Expo and rumours abound of a mac mini all ready for the living room (with Viiv?)... more fuel for the pyre? If true, Apple will have a solid year jump on Vista.


Regardless, if I can't do what I want with "my media" I will not go quietly.


Anyway that's my take on the latest.


-ds
 
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