Media Center PC or Microsoft TV ?

I’ve had the new Comcast DVR Set Top Box for a couple of days now, so far the test team (wife/kids/dog/cats) have taken to the set top box, and seem to prefer the set top box to the Media Center PC – the STB is seen as a consumer electronics device, it doesn’t look or feel like a computer – channel changing is ‘snappy’, the guide is not as good as Media Center PC, and the H/D is smaller (120GB I think – compared to the 200GB drive in my media center).

Obviously the functionality of the STB isn’t even close to the Media Center, I can’t rip my music, store my photo’s, or digital video – so I think the Media Center is here to stay for a while.

– Mike

Comments (15)

  1. timts says:

    just the opposite, the reason is obvious, how much do you pay for the M$ media center pc, how much do you pay for the DVR? (I think it’s free from comcast/directTV/dishnetwork etc, just some monthly charge with contract)

  2. Digger Ronald says:

    You have a Dog? 🙂

  3. Jeff Parker says:

    I have to agree, I was thinking of buying Tivo, but decided to go look at Media Center PC’s in Best buy. $300 for a Tivo, $1500 for a media center PC. I told the guy there at best buy that even though I am a MS fan, that was just nuts.

    Ok, so you can rip music, yeah I can and have been able to on my PC for years. How many people really listen to thier music on thier TV, comcast at least here has about 100 channels that are just music, I never listen to them but I am sure someone does otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

    When I had ameritech cable tv now that was awsome, right from tv remote could look and see what was playing at local theaters with showtimes, I could order chinese food through my tv it was put on my cable bill, this was 4 years ago in Detroit I had this ability. Media center I try to think of as not a PC, so what is it? I have been trying to get down to what is it? Ok so it is not a PC, it is Not a Tivo, It is not a Jukebox, what is it?

    I can’t do 90% of everything I hear it does and a hundred other things it can not do with a Modded X Box grand total cost $400 I can go get the weather on my tv on demand, I can play MP3s though it, I can watch DVD’s through it. I can Rip DVD’s through it, I have an Emulator for PS2, all the way down to the Atari 2600 on it, and I can play XBox games on it. With a $300 Tivo I can record TV shows. Grand total on all that ability is $700. Now you look at the $1500 media center PC, and say hmm can’t even play Xbox games on it. With the comcast box, I wouldn’t need a tivo.

    So you may say Media Center PC is not going anywhere, I am more curious on when it will be usefull. Xbox out performs the media center PC for all the media stuff with the exception of movie and tv recording throw on a Tivo or Comcast recorder and well Media Center PC is a waste of money.

  4. Jeff Parker says:

    err supposed to say

    I CAN do 90% of everything I hear it does and a hundred other things it can not do with a Modded X Box

  5. Mike says:

    It’s like cellphones – some people just want to make voice calls, others want ringtones and themes, others want to sync content with their desktop, and others want to sync content over the air – there are a number of devices, XBOX, Media Center, Tivo, Comcast STB, each do their own thing and may be suitable for some users – don’t forget that the Media Center PC is also a PC, so you can use this for mail, web, PC applications etc…

    For some people an MSN TV2 box may be all they need for web and media – others want full PC functionality *and* media center capability.

    – Mike

  6. Robert Levy says:

    I went with the MSTV box since it does dual tuner HDTV. And that’s simple over-cable HDTV, not the special-satellite-required OTA HDTV you get with MCE. Other benefits are seamless integration with Comcast’s Video On Demand service and, of course, price (an extra $5 a month on my cable bill).

  7. Jeff Parker says:

    Yeah, I understand, but I can not grasp the concept behind it. I look at Media center pc something similar to the old Gateway Desination systems, without the big 36 in monitor, which gateway quit making because of no demand. They wew a PC with TV tuner ability built in and a remote control and wireless mouse and keyboard, while yeah it was built on Windows 95, it was still the same general principal. I bought a Destination system back then and well I used it as my PC not my TV, I tried the TV things and yeah, they worked great but I wanted my TV and PC separated. Still do.

    If Microsoft were to take everything from the ultimate modded XBox, with things like ability to change skins and so on, with the ability of the Tivo and with the the console games then that is something I would buy.

    I have the ability to surf the web, play games, play music and Yes even get and send email from my XBox now. I do not want the ability to run application like Excel or Word on my TV. I am really only missing the ability to record tv from having a perfect home entertainment system. So I just have trouble envisioning anyone wanting the media center PC.

  8. charlie says:

    the media center pc only interests me if it can be controlled with voice.Only if I can send and receive email,make VOIP calls,conference call as many as 64 people in real time, and more ,all by using voice commands.One Voice technologies Inc.(ONEV)has this product.It’s called the media center communicator.It is scheduled for release Nov.30,2004.

  9. Robert says:

    Please forward any news you have regarding onev, One Voice Technology and the media center communicator and it’s availability. Any word on partnerships etc.

  10. Mike says:

    It looks like we’re going to have to wait until CES to get a look at One Voice and Windows XP Media Center – see the following article on –

    I will be at CES, so will blog about as many cool/interesting devices/technology as I can find.

    – Mike

  11. Scott says:

    I just setup a MPC for my new Samsung 46" HDTV. I already have replayTV, THX, and the whole deal. For me though the MPC is more than just a replacement for my replayTV, but a total entertainment system. I play all my games, surf the web, and IM w/ video. For me its worth it.

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