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When FCC recently approved DTV plug-and-play cards for television sets, I was disappointed. Not because I think this development is not positive, but because I know there is a snowball’s chance in hell that plug-and-play cards will be available for HTPC.


That is too bad, because I love my HTPC setup and have not upgraded to a digital cable service because that means I have to switch between HTPC and the digital cable tuner – kinda kills the elegant simplicity of my current setup; HTPC and an amplifier handle all entertainment duties. Even the promise of better pictures and more channels is not enough for me to abandon my HTPC.


This got me thinking “what if there was a device that can do everything that my HTPC can do – but much more palatable to cable companies so a digital tuner would be built-in? Would I switch?†I think the answer (at least for me) is yes. If I can find a machine that does everything that my HTPC does, I don’t see why I would not change.


Here are the features I would have to see for me to switch (which my HTPC has – except for the cable tuner).


• Digital cable tuner

• HDTV tuner (both cable and over the air)

• PVR

• CD ripper

• DVD player (ripper would be a bonus)

• Large hard drive that can be swapped and added

• Necessary inputs and outputs (DVI, Coaxial, etc.)

• Internal scaler (to match any monitor resolutions)


Reviewing my list, I don’t see why somebody like DirecTV or Comcast could not come up with a device like this quickly. I would be willing to spend over $500 (less than $1000) or $10/month (not both) for a machine like this, and I would guess that many of us on this board would as well.


Is there an upcoming device that has all these features? Are there features that you would like to see?
 

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The silence is deafening.... is this too far from reality to speculate about?
 

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Actually the holy grail in this forum is just the opposite - an htpc that's more like a set-top box :D


Seriously, the only thing missing for HTPC on that list is a QAM or satellite tuner (and some mature software to glue all the pieces together).
 

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I assume he's including QAM in the "HDTV tuner (both cable and over the air)" bullet point. Unfortunately, those products are just now appearing. As for the over $500, but under $1K, that's a bit optimistic. You will spend $1K on a Faroudja PCI card (Holograph IIID-2) alone. The rest of it, you can hit newegg and spec out a system pretty close to this right now.


Oh yeah, you forgot a hardware-based MPEG encoder. :D


Later,

Bill
 
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