Windows MediaCenter vs. TiVo

Guess who wins?

Why, TiVo of course.

I went over to a friend's place recently, and discovered that he has one of these Windows MediaCenter devices. They're very cool - and have enough horsepower under the hood to have a rather slick 3D fade in/fade out transition on their menu system and all sorts of other cool stuff.

Pity that it repeatedly glitched. Sometimes the tuner locked up. Sometimes the video codec died. Sometimes it just hung.

Now, in my experience, typically if a computer system is doing that, either it's a hardware problem or the OEM install of the OS has completely horked it. (This is why I always install a fresh unadulterated copy of Windows XP on systems that I don't build myself... the only system I've not been able to do it on so far has been my Toshiba Tablet PC. Which is a shame - after all, it should have a clean restore CD that just installs XP Table Edition on the machine - but then again, Toshiba seem to have proven themselves able to modify an XP install without completely borking it.)

So in this case, the blame goes to either Microsoft, HP or ... well... I dunno. One of those two. Either way, it's a buggy piece of crap. I'm much happier with my DirecTV HD TiVo... even though occasionally the display will glitch in the menus. But to fix that, all I have to do is hit the TiVo button on the remote - I don't at any time need to grab a keyboard and start killing processes in TaskMgr the way my friend does.

Round one: TiVo. By much much more than a nose.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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