HTPC

Media Center for Windows Deserves Some Respect

Media Center for Windows Deserves Some Respect

When I first was briefed on the Media Center edition of XP by Microsoft, I thought MCE was a pretty bad idea. A lot of my skepticism had to do with the market they claimed they were going after, namely college students in dorm rooms and yuppies living in cramped apartments with no room for both TVs and PCs. Of course, college students mostly buy laptops, and no matter where you live most folks don't watch TV on a small computer monitor from across the room. The short-term market were enthusiasts who understood the value of a DVR such as a TiVo.

Over time, Microsoft tried a few approaches with MCE – from extenders to allow you to view content on other TVs in the home over your network, to creating extender technology for Xbox (which is already hooked up to a TV set) – as well as working with a host of OEMs to create "living room" form factor home theater PCs. The result of these efforts was less than a stellar success and few vendors actively build home theater PCs; these days, if a consumer uses media center they're either an enthusiast or they've tripped over it by mistake trying to do something else. That's a shame, as MCE has evolved over time to become a great technology, one that few people even know exist.

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ASRock ION 330-BD Nettop Review

ASRock ION 330-BD Nettop Review

Where netbooks go, their deskbound nettop brethren eventually follow, and as NVIDIA's Ion GPU has made its impact on the graphics capabilities of budget ultraportables, so it has its sights set on compact desktops too. ASRock and NVIDIA worked together on the ION 330-BD, a Blu-ray toting nettop that pairs Intel's Atom processor with NVIDIA's ION platform, and sent one over to prove to SlashGear that just because the footprint is small, it doesn't mean the performance is too.

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Lenovo launch IdeaCentre Q100/Q110 nettops, D400 Home Server & Q700 HTPC

Lenovo launch IdeaCentre Q100/Q110 nettops, D400 Home Server & Q700 HTPC

And now it's time to get some of that NVIDIA goodness out there. Lenovo has launched the IdeaCentre Q100/Q110 nettops, which are housing the impressive NVIDIA Ion graphics processor. As if the NVIDIA Tegra wasn't good enough for the mobile market, it looks like company's like Lenovo know a good thing when they see it, and with the prowess that the Ion boasts, it's looking like the upcoming releases are prepped to be fantastic machines.

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Lenovo IdeaCentre Q700 HTPC wants to slip under your HDTV

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q700 HTPC wants to slip under your HDTV

Lenovo have launched a new HTPC, the IdeaCentre Q Series, which while resembling a nettop actually packs a slightly more impressive 2.5GHz Intel Pentium dual-core E5200 CPU with 4GB of RAM and Intel X4500 graphics.  First on sale as the $499 IdeaCentre Q700, the 2.36 x 7.87 x 9.84 inch box packs a choice of 320GB, 500GB or 640GB hard-drives together with an HDMI output and optional WiFi b/g.

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Viewsonic VOT 132 NVIDIA Ion nettop heads new product range

Viewsonic VOT 132 NVIDIA Ion nettop heads new product range

What the world needs now, sang Viewsonic, is Ion, sweet Ion, and so they gave us this.  The Viewsonic VOT 130/132 nettop may look like a pale VHS cassette but it's actually one of the items in the company's new product range, accompanied by two other compact desktops, two netbooks and a PMP.  Of the lot, though, it's the VOT 130/132 that's most interesting, having as it does optional NVIDIA Ion graphics.

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