MissingRemote's 2008 Stars and Flops, Year in Review

Dec 31 2008

Well folks, 2008 has come and gone. And along with MissingRemote.com's continuing growth, we wanted to take the time to take a look at the things that came about in our wacky world of home theater & pc components and remember what were some great things that came out, and what are some failures that should be learned from.

So in case you've been living in a cave for 2008, or you just have short term memory loss and enjoy recaps, here you go!

There are a lot more examples after the break :). 

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Arcsoft Total Media Theater


Hard to argue that a niche previously dominated by Cyberlink for so many years, has now been overthrown in a matter of months with Arcsoft. They continue to demolish the competition in features, stability and performance, while Cyberlink continues to cut features such as HD-DVD support & ability to play ripped movies.


DirecTV in MCE


One in the same as the above, maybe? No, now that we've been told DirecTV's tuner for MCE is done, dead, finito, this gets a big fat thumbs down for 2008. We went from potentially getting DirecTV inside MCE with its own tuner, to now not even a glimmer of hope.

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The STARS & SUCCESSES OF 2008

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Boxee

 

This little tiny company has gained an amazing amount of notoriety in a small amount of time, carving their niche with a slick UI and abilities...oh, and did I mention finally makes that AppleTV thing useful!! Windows users need only wait a bit longer until they have a version for you, meaning that 2009 is looking even better for the Boxee folks!

Hulu

 


Not since YouTube has a website received so much publicity, and this one is just as deserved. Bringing to their website all sorts of streaming Television content into a convenient and easy to use interface. Not sure it has overtaken YouTube in terms of wasting hours at work...but it's getting there! 

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HP

 


Yes, the big, behemoth HP. Rarely has a big company done so much for a niche market, and specifically their MediaSmart Servers & Extenders, which not only were great V1, but shows HP listens to their customers....which is impressive given their size.

Windows 7


I know, you Windows haters are going to jump on me, but considering all the bad PR that Vista and TV Pack has received, you have to be impressed at the opposite going on with Win7...at least so far. Hopefully the folks at Microsoft can continue and gain back a lot of their credibility they lost after Vista, but with Build 7000 leaking before the new year, i think this can classify as a "Win" already.

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Disneyland House of Innovations

 


A big step for HTPC's gaining main-stream recognition, bringing an actual attraction to a place like Disneyland can only mean good things. Anything that could get my girlfriend to VOLUNTARILY learn about technology, is a good thing! Hopefully they will continue to innovate there, and more important, that the technology they show off becomes a reality (ahem....read: Affordable).

Blu-Ray

 


Winning the war was obviously huge (albeit in the beginning of 2008), but the technology has not stood pat, and has continued to evolve. Along with their increasing popularity, the prices of set-top players and PC drives continue to fall, and most movie title prices aren't completely absurd.

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Arcsoft Total Media Theater


Hard to argue that a niche previously dominated by Cyberlink for so many years, has now been overthrown in a matter of months with Arcsoft. They continue to demolish the competition in features, stability and performance, while Cyberlink continues to cut features such as HD-DVD support & ability to play ripped movies.

SageTV HD100


Put rather eloquently by Daniel, and quite simply: "The first extender to actually do what it's supposed to."

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FLOPS, DISASTERS, MISTAKES & MISHAPS of 2008:

Vista Media Center Extenders
The polar opposite of SageTV's Extender, the Vista Media Centers have failed the very same way their predecessor's did - Limited reach, no DVD playback, limited file support, no blu-ray playback...just...too...limiting. Especially for their original retail prices.

Vista Media Center TV Pack
I'll talk about DirecTV below, but the stability & performance issues that have been popping up since the beta continue to haunt this pack. I'm sadly still running with Vista SP1 only as Microsoft continues to learn, if you're going to mess with the reliability of Television Recordings, you will never be on par with TiVo.

 


DirecTV in MCE


One in the same as the above, maybe? No, now that we've been told DirecTV's tuner for MCE is done, dead, finito, this gets a big fat thumbs down for 2008. We went from potentially getting DirecTV inside MCE with its own tuner, to now not even a glimmer of hope.

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ZVbox

 


I know I've personally been pretty hard on them, and I did offer to discuss my product with them to see if I was missing something, but they never replied....so, I stick with my original thought - Just a terrible idea, an absorbant price, and a very limited target audience.

 

CableCard & Cable Co's (definitely not the first time)


They continue to be on this list because it really seems like they are doing everything in their power to keep you renting their boxes. Cable Card installs continue to be a headaches, CSR's continue to dissuade their usage, and their prices continue to insult your intelligence. And I won't even mention SDV...

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 HDMI


Frankly, it just continues to be a headache in the HTPC world. Never has a component that promised to make our lives easier caused NOTHING but headaches. ATI, Nvidia and Intel all continue to shake their heads at the vast number of issues their display adapters have with the wonder that is HDMI.

BD Live


I know, contradicting Blu-ray in the Star category...but have you ever played with the online features? They have to be the most utterly useless features ever. Not to mention, the havoc they cause on Arcsoft or Cyberlink every time a new title with a different BD Live interface comes out.

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[Dis]honorable Mention

Proper 1080p/24 playback from a PC - Argue all you want, and spend all the money you want on a nice TV that accepts 24p input... Getting smooth playback on these things from a PC graphics card has just not happened. Will it? Of course, but for 2008, it was a big waste of time, and possibly money. 

... 

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it! Thanks for your support, and we'd love to hear any that we missed!!

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