This week’s Switched On, which should be posted later today, discusses HP’s discontinuation of its Digital Entertainment Center living room form factor PCs and Microsoft’s struggles to advance PC form factors. As far as I know, CEPro broke the story. Those who follow the convergence or PC retail space should read Julie Jacobson’s excellent series of articles about HP’s experience with the DEC in the custom installer channel. Part II looks at HP’s experience with the custom install channel earlier in the article, but the third part of the article, which I believe was posted today, delves deeper into why HP is leaning toward its MediaSmart TVs.
I akso had to chuckle as Julie found this way to sidestep an “off the record” comment:
Although HP spokesperson Pat Kinley did not want me to quote her as saying that the HP product and interface is simpler to use than the MCE solution, PC World did quote her: “We have other products on the market now and future products that I can’t talk about that perform essentially the same function in a way that’s easier for the consumer [to use].”
The article concludes with HP trying to position more as competition for AppleTV vs. Media Center Extenders, but you can’t compete with one without competing against the other, as Microsoft has been driving home with its comparisons between the Xbox 360 and AppleTV. In any case, building well-implemented DMR capabilities into the TV is a good differentiator for now, and most consumers would likely prefer no external box to even a small one like AppleTV, but with Pioneer, Sharp and surely others to follow, how long will it be before this falls too far below the consumer purchase criteria list to matter?