Ok, this is somewhat of an offbeat post for me but stumbled uppon this and thought it was really cool. I don't use a HTPC (Home Thrater PC) at home right now mostly because sich a solution would only make sense for me if my TV provider (DirecTV in my case) didn't provide me a HD DVR. And to get coverage throughout the house, I would essentially need a PC (or maybe just an Xbox360) for each TV I wished to connect. Can get expensive real quick. In the best of worlds, I would have a single HD DVR in the house, which may not even be physically connected to a television, and then each television would pull content from the DVR.
The new Extender for Windows Media Center was launched last week and from what I am seeing, it is definetly a step in the right direction (you can get general details here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/mediacenterextender/default.mspx). I've listed below some of the main partnenrs and the components they are releasing. The offerings come mostly in various flavors of network ready set-top boxes. But I have to admit I really love the offering by HP where they essentially included the technology directly inside of their new 1080i LCD TV's. I have to admit I am really tempted considering that my current 50" plasma, at ~5 years old, is starting to show its age...
HP MediaSmart TV
42” and 47” 1080P LCD Television
Fully Integrated Windows Media Center Extender
Wireless Networking with Integrated dual-band 802.11n
Product is available at Best Buy nationwide, and will receive a software download in early 2008 which will enable the Extender functionality.
Dual Band wireless 11N
Sleek 17" black chassis
Up to 1080i resolution
Multiple video formats including WMV, DivX, XVid
Price of $349.99, available for the holidays
Niveus Media Extender
High audio and video fidelity including 1080p resolution
Niveus Glacier™ Passive Cooling technology for cool and quiet performance
Stylish A/V form-factor
Price and availability TBD
Linksys Media Center Extender
Includes programmable remote control
Wirelessly streams content over dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), draft 802.11n
Built-in, up-scaling DVD-Video player for watching DVDs
Price of $299.99 or $349.99 with DVD player, available for the holidays