Extender for Windows Media Center Launch at DigitalLife 2007

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.

HP SL4278N HP 42″ 1080p MediaSmart LCD HDTV
HP SL4778N 47″ LCD HDTV 1080p MediaSmart

D-Link DSM-750

  • 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