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With New Online Video Content Comes New PCs

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For the internet video revolution to succeed, all the pieces have to fit together. As we have seen, the first big blocks are falling into place. With services like iTunes, YouTube, Google Video and IN2TV the available content is huge and is continuing to grow. Investors, advertisers, cable and network companies are all hurrying to get involved in this expanding field. The download speed and size restraints are also changing for the better. The last piece of this puzzle is the PC.

Media center PCs have been around for a couple of years but were fairly useless because there wasn’t anything available to download until recently. What exactly is a media center PC? It’s a PC designed with entertainment in mind. This involves the inclusion of high-end audio and video components, faster processors, TV tuners, and the hook-ups to connect to TVs or stereo equipment. The problem in the past was price as well, but this is also fallen. As noted in USA Today:

That’s a turning point that might turn computer shoppers toward entertainment PCs, says tech analyst Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies Associates. “It’s a pretty good stimulus,” he says.

Early Media Center PCs cost about $1,500, in part because Microsoft insisted computer-makers use pricey, high-end components in PC’s bearing the name, says Duboise. Microsoft relaxed the requirements last summer, she says. The average price promptly fell 20% from $1,021 in June to $817 in July.

The drop caused sales to climb — which in turn allowed PC makers to lower manufacturing costs. In March, the average price was $737, Current Analysis says.

Other products have also increased due to the success of Internet television. such as media laptops, TVs that are PC-compatible, and wireless networking equipment. Reviews for the latest media PCs and laptops can be found at PC Magazine and Cnet.com.

All of these gain from each other; better content is provided because faster downloads and better computers exist and, of course, these exist because better content is provided.

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  • Bliffle

    Good MCS computers are available on eBay for about $600. With a good PCI HDTV card you can get DTV and HDTV either Off The Air (ATSC) or cable/satellite (QAM). Best that it have it’s own resident CPU decoder. You can make a builtin DVR with a big HDD and service like Snapstream that eliminates TiVo startup and monthly costs. With a DVD burner (now, 9gb burners for under $100 are available) you can burn HDD recorded programs to DVD.

    Using your own MCS is better than a hardwired DVR because usually the HW DVRs only output to 1394 D-VHS, which interposes a clumsy intermediate step (to a D-VHS simulator on a PC) transfering from HDD to DVD.