People all over have played with getting a pure media center setup in their home, with access to TV, Network files, and Online Content. It seems that, unless you are an avid computer wiz, PC TV’s may just start making a break through. I’ve seen many failed attempts over the past ten years, and in my opinion, current releases are still missing many key concepts. I believe sales could be much greater.
Here are some main concepts I’ll discuss:
- PlayStation 3
First we have the Apple TV, nice small and slick, with a tiny remote control. Reminds me of the MacMini, which I really like because of its portability. Like most mac products, the second generation AppleTV bypasses any older technology and limits the user to use HDMI with the option of optical sound. It’s low powered and very quiet. Shockingly, it has sold pretty well among the Apple crowd (that is, at the Apple stores), but outside of that, I feel it’s been relatively quiet compared to Apples other ventures. Some concern is the lack of a TV Tuner, which means you cannot use it as a Digital Recorder. AppleTV will run about $279.
We now have the introduction of the Logitech Revue with Google TV. GoogleTV is actually utilizing the Android OS and comes with a full sized keyboard. GoogleTV has got nothing but bad reviews. They did sign DISH Network, but other than that, think of it as a Blu-ray player that can hop online. One of my major critiques is the size of the keyboard. If I’m laying on the couch, I’m not one to pick up that wide thing. GoogleTV costs a little less than AppleTV, at about $249.
Then we have Xbox 360 with Kinect. This may be one that I am most excited about. You get full XBox connectivity to Netflix, your home network files, and the ability to play games all through High Def. And although there is no TV Tuner and Blu-ray, the Kinect add-on offers some very cool new advanced technology. Soon, we’ll be seeing some very real, very interesting ways of playing, stopping, and training your XBox to respond to your motions, in order to manage your media and make things as easy as possible. You do not want to pass this up for a Media Center solution; that is until you see the cost, this can take a total of $399.
The PlayStation 3 has all the benefits of the XBox 360, with the added Blu-ray disk playing, Netflix, netwofk files, etc. But, their motion detector, the PlayStation Move, I don’t think will hold up against the Microsoft Kinect. PS3 goes for $299.
Finally, you can always create your own, all you need are (for HD) an HDMI output, HD Input, and small keyboard remote:
- Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard – $47
- Sapphire Radeon HD4550 512 MB DDR3 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card 100252HDMI – $46
- ATSC NTSC Hybrid HDTV PCI TV Tuner /Digital Video Recorder – $37
If you decide to go with AppleTV, GoogleTV, a Custom one, or some other, I highly suggest a small, light-weight Querty keyboard, this one is one of my favorites:
Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard.
As for the rest of the system, I’ll stick to the Custom PC, running XBMC, and soon to hack my Kinect to control it. I’ll have the tutorial up for that once completed. For ease of use, I’d go with an XBox or AppleTV, for advanced features, Custom PC, and well the GoogleTV just doesn’t show up to the party.