Is the Media PC Dead?

edited June 2006 in Hardware
The Inquirer has a story which asserts that Media PCs are a dead market. The article details some seriously horrid sales figures. It seems that the consumers just aren't buying the PCs that supposedly bridge the gap between IT and consumer electronics in any kind of quantity.


Personally, I would hate to see this particular form of convergent device go away - I think it's a wonderful technology, and for me at least, will be the perfect addition to my living room's AV rack, and will be the perfect complement to the HDTV that I cannot yet afford to buy.

What do you folks think? Are Media PCs dead? Are they simply a specialty market? Are the numbers off because those of us building our own Media PCs aren't being counted?

Comments

  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida
    edited June 2006
    That's tough. As soon as I get my main rig back up, my LAN rig is going to my media cabinet. I've got a media pc setup in our living room right now. I think a lot of it hasn't quite caught on in the typical consumer market, but I think there are a lot of home-built media rigs being created.
  • entropyentropy Yah-Der-Hey (Wisconsin)
    edited June 2006
    I think it's a good idea, and I want to build one myself, but I think there's not really that killer app yet. Sure, you've got XP media center, but it's not exactly seamless integration.
  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA
    edited June 2006
    entropy wrote:
    I think it's a good idea, and I want to build one myself, but I think there's not really that killer app yet. Sure, you've got XP media center, but it's not exactly seamless integration.
    My thoughts exactly.

    I think that Media PC software development is a vicious cycle. On the Linux side, a softwares exist that are modular and allow extra functionality to be plugged in. However, nearly all of these modules are beta and quirky and not-yet user-friendly. On the Microsoft side, Windows MCE requires some certifications and the like for hardware and new features come only at their discretion. This is fine if you want a TiVo with a web browser but if people want the same things I do from their Media PC it's a small wonder they don't sell well.

    In short, I want unlimited extensibility and no DRM, features I can only get from independent developers; as well as a high level of integration and software maturity, features I can really only get if I pay for. It sure looks like I can't have it both ways so I'd take the extensibility and no DRM over the slick interface. However, unlike most people I'm willing to put up with a lot of quirkiness from my machines. Mr and Mrs Average want it to be intuitive to use and capable of doing what they want immediately without mucking around with updates and extensions.

    -drasnor :fold:
  • EnverexEnverex Worcester, UK
    edited June 2006
    I just built a PC out of old parts I had lying around, a 4GB HD, an Athlon 500Mhz, 392MB RAM old Hercules Fort II soundcard, GF4 MX with Gentoo shoved on there and I have that plugged into my TV with just a mouse and I'm happily using that as a Media PC to watch music in bed or play music etc (I'd buy a remote but I'm too stingy, hence why it was made out of old parts).
  • deicistdeicist Manchester, UK
    edited June 2006
    Drasnor, Media center does have a thriving third party add-on community. Google media center plugin sometime, you'll be suprised what's out there.

    I think Enverex's story is the main reason people aren't buying media center PCs. Most of us have hardware lying around that will do the job just as well, if not better than any of the purpose built boxes.
  • TheLostSwedeTheLostSwede Trondheim, Norway
    edited June 2006
    I agree. Media PC's will never die. Mine is on all day long playing music, watching cinematrailers and viewing/recording movies/series. It replaces the DVD (and the playstation if you have a good videocard) and most of the time, also replaces the reciever if you have active speakers.
  • profdlpprofdlp The Holy City Of Westlake, Ohio
    edited June 2006
    deicist wrote:
    ...I think Enverex's story is the main reason people aren't buying media center PCs. Most of us have hardware lying around that will do the job just as well, if not better than any of the purpose built boxes.
    Exactly right in my case as well. :)
  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA
    edited June 2006
    I stand corrected deicist but my point hasn't changed: I don't think that we are the target market for those Media PCs that aren't selling. The target market for any OEM PC is the average layperson that doesn't know how to build a computer and little more on how to operate one. The target market buys TiVos.

    -drasnor :fold:
  • edited June 2006
    Vista will improve things. I don't think MCE was ever going to be enough to kick off the whole digital home thing but it did serve as a good proof of concept for Microsoft.
  • TheLostSwedeTheLostSwede Trondheim, Norway
    edited June 2006
    The point with old hardware is totally gone with vista. But yes, they are forcing people to buy a new system just for the Living-Room.
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