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Do HTPC's become obsolete?

5393 Views 32 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  ScaryBob
Well, I guess they must. But what is the expected life of one? Longer than a regular computer? For example, if you bought a Revo, do you think it would be unable to play television at some point because the technology passed it?
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HTPCers have the best chance of staying current with technology because we can swap in/out our internal and external hardware devices for the latest, greatest stuff as it becomes available or affordable. Of course that is less so with laptops, but external devices can be updated on those.

If you base your HTPC on Linux and you are an experienced power user staying with the same underlying architecture you can even change the motherboard, CPU, disks, and any other hardware piece by piece without having to reinstall the OS. ;)
DancesWithLysol said:
This is why a HTPC that consumes streaming video is in a different boat than a HTPC that is just consuming OTA broadcast TV.
Someone could build an HTPC just for OTA if they wanted to, but there are so many additional sources out there that are easily supported. I use my MythTV boxes for recording OTA and CATV, multimedia streaming/editing/storage, disk authoring/ripping/burning, transcoding, and other things, so they are definitely geared to support all those tasks. To me that's what a true HTPC is all about, but of course choice is good so a person can plan and build an HTPC suitable for whichever capabilities they like.
Windows 7 is the OS of choice for HTPCs because Windows Media Center is excellent
No it is not the OS of choice, for several reasons. For one thing, look up the digital and analogue "Broadcast Flags" and related Digital Rights Management garbage found in Windows to see the various ways in which Media Center takes away your rights to record what you want, when you want. How dare they make those choices for you, especially when there are no such laws or regulations in existence? Another problem is that Microsoft does not allow you to add Canadian OTA TV stations. You would need to use the extensive workarounds developed by pnear that Microsoft has never bothered to fix after years of complaints here. The object of building an HTPC is seriously eroded when the OS is tying your hands.
and it lets you scale the UI (Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Display)
Screen scaling, transparency, PIP, captioning, and a variety of other visual effects are done excellently and routinely by MythTV on Linux, and with a choice of many, many UI themes too. Streaming, transcoding, ripping, video capture/authoring/editing, web browsing, archiving, widgets, program guides, signal analysis tools, and much more, are all in there.

Having said all that, Linux/MythTV is the OS of choice for HTPC, but if it is too exotic for you then look for a Windows-based HTPC app or solution that properly supports Canadian OTA and that respects your consumer rights.

Since the topic of the thread is "Do HTPCs become obsolete?" the answer to that question is no, because the consumer always has good options to adapt and improve their hardware and software.
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When a person is building an HTPC they need to be honest with themselves as to whether or not they are computer-savvy and/or are willing and able to learn how to do it properly in order to meet their requirements. Saying that Windows is the OS of choice is misleading and incorrect. MythTV runs on Linux, Mac OS X, and on Windows too, and there is a great deal of support on how to make it all work. Linux driver support is not only commonplace but is also irrelevant to an HTPC builder who follows the MythTV hardware guide. It is a moot issue.
Does MythTV have support for something equivalent to Media Center Extenders/SageTV Client/BeyondTV Link, so that you can watch TV and schedule recordings from TVs other than your "primary" HTPC?
MythTV can be setup according to your needs, such as in a Mythbackend (server) capacity, a Mythfrontend (client) role, and in other permutations that allow what you asked for. MythTV also streams to a variety of UPnP client devices. Anyone can find all that out about MythTV with only a bit of reading, so we're not in need of a "can your OS do this?" discussion. :)

Now that we're past all this, the topic of this thread is about whether HTPCs become obsolete.
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