Price: The Only Feature That Matters

Chris Lanier reviews what it's going to take to get Vista MCE to be a fully mainstream HTPC for most consumers, and surprise, it's Price that's the important thing. He has a nice breakdown of some good price ranges for different system purposes.

We need a few different price points as Vista gets here.

  • $800-$900 – Cable Ready PCs.  These PCs need to include OCUR-enabled BIOS’,
    HDMI-HDCP video cards, 1GB of RAM, and at least 250GB of storage.  They will not ship with Digital Cable Tuners
    (OCUR), but will allow users to purchase them online at a later point and
    connect them via external or internal USB.
  • $1000-$1400 – These PCs need to include
    everything from above with the addition of a single Digital Cable Tuner.  A second Digital Cable Tuner should be able
    to be purchased online.  They should also
    include at least 350GB of storage.

  • $1500 and up – These PCs need to include
    everything from above with an additional Digital Cable Tuner (total of
    two).  They should also include 2GB+ of
    RAM, 500GB+ of storage, and HD DVD or Blu-ray drive.

I see little reason that these price points can not be met
within the next month or two.  Just to
make sure, I did a few customizations of standard shipping Dell and HP PCs
today.  Here is what I came up with.

Read the rest here