Leon's Weblog

December 5, 2010

Designing an HTPC

Filed under: Gadgets,Personal — Leon @ 6:25 pm

I was hoping that 2010 would be the year of “Internet TV.” That, with the aid of set-top boxes. consumers would be able to integrate the functionality and content of a home office into the home theater. Several vendors proposed promising products including Google TV, Apple TV, Boxee Box, and Roku that would make this paradigm shift both easy and affordable. Unfortunately, the year is almost over and the promise was not to be. The promised products were released in time for the holiday season but are all plagued with limited functionality, lack of expandability, and proprietary content. For example, while the Boxee Box is great at streaming free Internet content from sites like YouTube, it has very limited functionality for organizing your personal media library and no storage space to keep it. Another daunting problem is that TV networks and on-line content providers like Hulu have blocked the devices’ access to their sites in anticipation of forming contracts similar to those that they have with Cable Networks. Ultimately it is the consumers that loose out on these long overdue features. This is why I decided to take matters into my own hands and build a Home Theater PC (HTPC) that would overcome the problems of the products available on the market today. (more…)