Why Haven't CableCARD Home Theater PCs Taken Off?


Over at Zatz Not Funny, the greatest name ever for a blog, Zatz asks an important question: What’s up with CableCARD-ready PCs? Did they fall off the face of the planet, or are people just not enthusiastic about the idea of sticking a PC in their entertainment center?

I look at it this way: There’s one group of people who have no qualms about getting a home theater PC (or HTPC) and truly experiencing a one of a kind entertainment extravaganza, then there’s people who head over to Wal-Mart to buy a home theater in a box and think a $50 DVD player and a couple of plastic speakers will recreate the joy of heading to the movie theater. The fact that theaters have gone to hell (in a hand basket) notwithstanding.

With a CableCARD slot-ready PC, users can do away with having to rent a set-top box from the local teleco or what have you, can have storage space from here to next Tuesday and, with the appropriate software, can do everything that a TiVo or a generic DVR can do. What gives? Why don’t people jump on top of this?

Could it be price? Zatz points out that such PCs can be had for $1,500—not cheap by any means, but nothing that couldn’t be saved up for in a few short months. In the meantime, you could figure out how to best integrate the HTPC into your setup.

Or could it be that, for whatever reason, people just don’t want a PC in their entertainment center? Wasn’t the Mac mini supposed to be aimed at, in addition to first time Mac users, people who wanted a cheap HTPC solution that doesn’t look like garbage?

It seems, to me at least, that the smart money is on using a HTPC. Over time, it gives the most “bang” for the “buck,” and you’re not indebted to the local teleco for life.

Or maybe I’m just dumb.

Do CableCARD PCs Really Matter? [Zatz Not Funny]