The Future Of The HTPC
When I want to gauge whether new computing gear is ready for mainstream adoption, I ask whether or not my mother could handle it. If the device is something I could give to my mom without terrifying her or getting a phone call every 10 minutes with questions about how to use it, then it has serious potential.
Certainly, the home theater PC (HTPC) continues to gain traction in this respect, but it really hasn't broken into the mainstream with any force. This is because HTPCs are still PCs. As much as they look like components that belong next to the amplifier in your living room, there are aspects of the personal computer that simply intimidate and confuse people who aren't comfortable with them in the first place.
But as personal video recorders (PVRs) become more prolific, as the line between a PC monitor and a living room-based TV blurs, and as Mom begins to rely on email and the Internet as much as I do, the HTPC becomes increasingly viable as an appliance. It’s inevitable that the future will see TVs and computing devices intertwined. But before that happens, we need user-friendly HTPCs, ready-made for public consumption. We need home theater systems that are powerful enough to handle any high-definition video and audio format we throw at them, yet simple enough for my mom to use, and in a comfortable package that is not the least bit intimidating.
PC vendors know this, too. They are working to make a mainstream-friendly HTPC real. Today, we're looking at ASRock’s latest HTPC offering, a cute (Ed.: I can't believe you used the word cute) and powerful little box its calls the Core 100HT-BD.
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Interesting but I wonder if an AMD system would provide more value on your dollar.Reply
Certainly beats a Zino, but the price puts it in the class of a Mac Mini. An M600 + HD4200 system would be interesting for a HTPC like this.Reply
This would be great, if it were priced around $300-400Reply
Asrock also puts alot of focus on the possibility of streaming true Bluray sound. One thing, that all other pre-buildt htpc lackReply
Well this is great and can do alot more than a regulr media player, but id prefer the ASUS OPLAY! and have a standalone media player while I also have a supercomputer or a monster PC and a console gaming system......Reply
I'am testing one at home. Excellent piece of hardware for multimedia and TV center. This HTPC is much faster to boot and shutdown (S3 sleep mode) then the traditional DVB-T boxes i had previously at home (2-3 sec startup, 9-11 sec shutdown). All I needed to do was to buy a DVB-T USB dongle (terratec). In S3 it uses very low power (less then 1W according to the reviews on the internet). I'am using for watching the DVB-T, dvd's, playing music, showing photo. Its performance is more then adequate, so I cannot see any reason for overclocking the unit. The heat comming out of the unit is very acceptable, the noise is hardly, if at all, noticeable.Reply
The only limitation is the angle of the IR remote. The angle for remotelly controlling the unit from your living room is a bit narrow for home use and I hope that they will consider to provide an external IR receiver later.
Regarding the price, I was trying to find a cheaper unit with same specs and same look and size, but I was not able to find any. Dell has a PC which is a bit smaller (a bit bigger then wii) however it is not a htpc unit. You can build a sligthly cheaper one. It will be larger, will need a larger power supply, the case will like a traditional pc which you don't want in your living room, and at the end of the day you will end up with something which has cost you more money. In my mind its a very good hardware piece and worth to consider if you want a home media center in you living room.
Where I am, it's mighty expensive. But what I like about this article and the Core100HT-BD is that it inspires me to put together a similarly small and 'cute' system.Reply
I'm thinking along the lines of an e3300 and G31 chipset with a 200w or 300w mATX PSU (how I'd love to get my hands on a Silverstone 300w mATX unit from the SG05!).
Without the powersupply, the unit will cost about USD250 here. With a decent 80plus mATX PSU, the cost goes beyond the USD320 mark.
It won't play blu-ray but everything else would run better than, say, an Atom (even the ION variants). It would be twice as tall, almost twice large and a tad deeper, true, but it would have room for a half-height PCIE video card (ahem, HD5570) upgrade.
One bit of constructive feedback for Don: why use a 650W PSU on the comparison unit? Wouldn't a 380w or even 300w PSU be sufficient - not to mention place the power draw closer to the center of the efficiency curve?
A step in the right direction. I'd like to see more pre-built HTPC's like this but with better styling and more expansion options. A slot load drive would also be great.Reply
I wish they would make the parts available so us DIY'ers can build our own like this.
good review and attention to the real needs of an htpc. size, heat, noise and video performance. The price tag is just yuk! I would like to see how this would compare to a geek dude building their own and see how it fares... :)Reply