Would you buy a "gaming" HTPC?

So consoles are a thing, most if not all of us here own one and enjoy gaming on it. PC gaming is also a popular pastime but is different from consoles insofar as a PC is usually not used on the living room/bedroom TV. HTPCs are not new and many people will already have one and now Valve are working on SteamOS and the SteamBox to bring PC gaming into the living room. There are already products that tread this ground since Steam "Big Picture" made it easy.

On top of all that, we have our cable boxes, satellite boxes, freeview/set top, smart boxes and so on. The living room TV has all sorts of peripherals for multitudes of different services but I am still thinking about one more that I'd love to know what you all think as a product. I am thinking about the possibility of making these to sell and would love to hear thoughts, particularly on whether or not it might be something of interest.

The main benefit a PC has over a console is its openness, its compatibility with many peripherals, ability to build and add any functionality and do almost anything without the restrictions of a proprietary "walled garden" approach. My thought is to make a "device" that will be in the living room, as a console is, and be capable of decent gaming and HTPC uses.

My thoughts are along these lines:
- Windows 8.1 with Windows Media Center
- Wi-Fi and RJ45 ready with support for HDMI, 7.1 audio, HD/4K video
- It would have to play Blu-Ray and DVD films (preferably region free)
- It would have Steam with Big Picture
- It would include wireless keyboard, mouse, remote control (for media) and a game controller
- It mustn't cost too much more, if anything, than a PS4/XBone

Out of the box, it should have multiple codecs pre-installed to support every video/audio format imaginable. In particular, it should make using Netflix, iPlayer, YT and other streaming services easy. As a gaming machine, it will be around the mid-range area, capable of playing everything albeit not necessarily with max settings. It could have many emulators ready to go (albeit with no ROMs).

The idea is a product that can game with Steam (via Big Picture and a controller, or with a wireless KB/Mouse), can enjoy many types of media via Media Centre, generous codec support and a remote control with the "plug and play" ease of use of a console (eg. power, HDMI, audio, done).

I'm thinking that something around an i5 with 8GB RAM, an ITX board, quiet PSU and discrete GFX card (and obviously an optical drive) might be doable for less than a current gen console. Windows 8.1 and the input peripherals will add to that and there needs to be a profit margin obviously, but I suspect it could be doable.

So how would something like that sound? A PC with all the media capabilities the platform has to offer, games via Steam and the ease of use of a console. Would it be of interest, or does it stand no chance against dedicated consoles, gaming PCs, set top boxes, tablets, laptops and the rest?

You just described Valve's plan for the Steam Box.

I am not interested.

The problem with something like this is that it has two paths to go down:

A. The console path. This is what you get and it cannot be updated or anything. You pick the system up, you plug it in, and it goes.

Right now, you can play the shiniest stuff on medium setting (by your example) but how long is that going to last? Is Steam going to have a specific section for these games or am I playing Russian Roulette with my wallet in a few years when the shinier and shinier PC stuff comes out? Unless this thing could drastically cut into the console price (which I doubt), I see no reason why a console gamer would want this thing.

Console gamers won't want it because we have exclusives and an established setup with Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo. We know when we buy a game, said game will work without a problem. PC gamers won't want it because it's a crippled version of what they already have.

B. The PC path. This is what you get when you get the "basic" package. However, you have the ability to upgrade it and tinker with it and do whatever you wish because PC Master Race!

You buy the basic package at $400 (or whatever it would cost, that's just the PS4's price so I'm starting with it). Don't like playing on medium? Buy a shiny new graphics card and put that mother in! System needs a bit of speeding up? RAM that sucker!

Console gamers won't want it because it's giving us the exact problem we have with PC's (switching out parts, wondering what works with what, wondering about compatibility issues, etc.). PC gamers won't want it because it's what they already have.

So I'm good. Maybe there would be a market for this kind of thing but I just don't see it.

tippy2k2:
A. The console path. This is what you get and it cannot be updated or anything. You pick the system up, you plug it in, and it goes.

While my idea would be updateable, the idea is to make something that "just goes".

tippy2k2:
Right now, you can play the shiniest stuff on medium setting (by your example) but how long is that going to last? Is Steam going to have a specific section for these games or am I playing Russian Roulette with my wallet in a few years when the shinier and shinier PC stuff comes out? Unless this thing could drastically cut into the console price (which I doubt), I see no reason why a console gamer would want this thing.

It already sorta does have a section for these games, under (quick look) "Full Controller Support".

tippy2k2:
Console gamers won't want it because we have exclusives and an established setup with Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo. We know when we buy a game, said game will work without a problem. PC gamers won't want it because it's a crippled version of what they already have.

It's not crippled in any way, it's a powerful, capable machine without restriction. The difference between it and a (pricier) dedicated gaming desktop is that it's also setup for media and use in the living room/bedroom with three cables to plug in and everything else pre-configured (as much as possible obviously).

tippy2k2:
B. The PC path. This is what you get when you get the "basic" package. However, you have the ability to upgrade it and tinker with it and do whatever you wish because PC Master Race!

That would remain an option for the future since, as non-proprietary PC parts can be changed by those who wish to. The point was that out of the box, it's already ready to go.

tippy2k2:
Console gamers won't want it because it's giving us the exact problem we have with PC's (switching out parts, wondering what works with what, wondering about compatibility issues, etc.). PC gamers won't want it because it's what they already have.

That's not really an issue anymore, and hasn't been for many years. While I mentioned above that the parts *can* be changed should one wish to (unlike with a console), there wouldn't be a need for it since it's already a gaming capable machine out of the door, with the ease of setup of a console. There wouldn't be any issues of compatibility, the whole point in a way is that I'm "ironing them out" and selling a "working product" as it were, from the get go.

nesbitto:
You just described Valve's plan for the Steam Box.

I know, it's a continuation of that in a sense. The fact that it's built on windows, but also has stellar media capabilities thanks to unrestricted web usage, multiple codec support, etc. My idea is to make it as "plug and play" as possible with as many media and gaming options available and working from day one at a price point comparable to current gen consoles.

I've always gotten the impression that when you try to turn your PC into your main gaming thing you end up wasting too much time making it run and bleeding too much money keeping it up to date.

KingsGambit:
That's not really an issue anymore, and hasn't been for many years. While I mentioned above that the parts *can* be changed should one wish to (unlike with a console), there wouldn't be a need for it since it's already a gaming capable machine out of the door, with the ease of setup of a console. There wouldn't be any issues of compatibility, the whole point in a way is that I'm "ironing them out" and selling a "working product" as it were, from the get go.

I'm going to end up skimming everything for all your points add up to one snagging point for me that I don't feel was addressed:

How long will this thing be current?

You talked about it being "ready to go out of the box", which is all well and good...initially.

A build like that; how long would you be able to expect to play games without running into problems (namely the system not being able to handle it; I'm not being difficult here, I seriously don't know, I don't PC game and that'll majorly affect what point I'm going with here)?

You could simply built a very small and cheap PC, plug that one into your TV and stream from a normal PC standing at your desk to the smaller one. Steam comes with a very good In-Home-Streaming etc.
Didn't calculate any costs, but wouldn't it be better to do it like this even if you don't have a decent machine yet? Just for practical reasons. Because like this your strong machine is standing in your home office, ready to stream to your TV. But at the same time you can use this strong PC to work/surf through the Interwebz/play a game that is better to be played at a desk

Living in an apartement with only one room this isn't a big deal for me right now. My TV stands right next to my desk/PC, so I don't need to stream or buy a console *g*

...
The captcha is giving me the evil eye!

I wouldn't want a steam box. I wouldn't want this.

To me, the Gaming functionality of a PC comes second. The main reason for having a PC is for work. I manage my Customer Database (It's like EVE, before it was cool.) write technical documents and cover letters, recently started video editing and artwork (I am good at neither.) and finally, coding and administrative duties.

Then, and only then, after all of that, does my PC become an entertainment center. With that in mind, I do run a HDMI cable from my TV to the PC, so when I turn it on, it'll instantly route video and audio to the TV, so I can watch TV. Games and the like, well, Steam is my primary method of entertainment.

The only change I plan to implement, is building a slave laptop that can work with my desktop. But it'll only be for work, and not gaming. I have a pretty cool HP computer that might be able to help me with artwork, but under no circumstance am I an artist.

This just sounds like another Steambox though, there's already about 25 of those models not, adding another won't really do much good and I've probably said it before somewhere but I wouldn't want a single one of those boxes, I'd just like a decently beefed rig because I dislike not being able to play PC games on max and I hate pre-built models and I more or less game in my room, my living room isn't the type of place I game or would even like to, I used to do that years ago when friends would hang out but we all stopped doing that a long time ago.

Basically I'm fine with my PC and consoles, this sort of thing wouldn't appeal to me in a million years no matter what it can do, sure there's probably a market but I can't see it being as big as consoles, it will be more of a niche thing if anything.

Johnny Novgorod:
I've always gotten the impression that when you try to turn your PC into your main gaming thing you end up wasting too much time making it run and bleeding too much money keeping it up to date.

your "impression" is about 15 years out of date

Graphics don't advance at the same rate they used to

you could throw a $150-$200 GPU into most regular PC's and (assuming they have the power to run it) have a perfectly acceptable gaming pc for years

Will it be top of the line? no, of course not. but it will play games and have mods and do all the thing you want from a gaming PC

KingsGambit:
Would it be of interest, or does it stand no chance against dedicated consoles, gaming PCs, set top boxes, tablets, laptops and the rest?

To be honest it sounds like buying a gaming PC from a builder, then specifying that you want it in a desktop or home theatre case so you can slide into the HiFi tower under the amp.

These things kind of already exist, but cost high end money since you either build it yourself or pay someone who knows to build it and set up the software, or at the other end you are describing what the Steambox is seemingly trying to be (a console priced box wit haccess to PC infrastructure). The kind of spec you're describing I would expect to be $7-800 and be an Apple style sealed box to make that price (or a $1000+ for a pro built one with retail parts and software).

Either way it would be a small market and certainly not direct competition for consoles, they make the majority of their sales priced under $400 (or even $300) and PC hardware doesn't compete there unless you build it yourself.

Johnny Novgorod:
I've always gotten the impression that when you try to turn your PC into your main gaming thing you end up wasting too much time making it run and bleeding too much money keeping it up to date.

That era ended with the Nvidia 8800 in 2007. The flaming things are still workable now, only the wholesale adoption of DX11 is going to kill them off!

Gailim:

Johnny Novgorod:
I've always gotten the impression that when you try to turn your PC into your main gaming thing you end up wasting too much time making it run and bleeding too much money keeping it up to date.

your "impression" is about 15 years out of date

Graphics don't advance at the same rate they used to

you could throw a $150-$200 GPU into most regular PC's and (assuming they have the power to run it) have a perfectly acceptable gaming pc for years

Will it be top of the line? no, of course not. but it will play games and have mods and do all the thing you want from a gaming PC

That assumes I have a desktop computer (I don't) that doesn't overheat (it does) and is pretty good (it's not) and the money for a GPU (I don't). And then I have to worry about rigging it up to a decent TV screen and getting new peripheral controllers and working around installing every single game I want to play. And you're telling me even if I could right all those wrongs, it still wouldn't be top of the line?

Eh idk about htpc but I really like the modular idea for a PC along the lines of http://www.razerzone.com/christine

If someone could do a 99dollar streaming option for PC gaming that would be ideal for me. Have the hub connected to my tv with a wireless controller but everything is streamed off the desktop. Latency shouldn't be an issue and you don't have heating issues using HTPC size cases(or 15 cases fans at rock concert noise levels)

An HTPC destroys the whole goddamn point of why I prefer PC to console gaming.

I like playing my games sitting upright and having the screen at eye level. Not to mention the keyboard and mouse destroys your back when used from a couch/coffee table setup.

I set up a non-gaming HTPC for my parents so they can stream Russian language programs, and I'm just not happy with the PC from couch experience, and I way prefer controlling things with the keyboard/mouse over gamepad, there just isn't much Steam could do to sell me a console.

Johnny Novgorod:
... and working around installing every single game I want to play...

Mate, I understand and agree with every other point in your post, but this... it brings me back to 1994 when I had the exact same argument with a friend. It was back in the day when we had to install games via 6-12 floppy disks, and then manually set up the audio using a command line interface.

This is a day of digital distribution, you buy a game on steam and even 20 gigs will be ready to run in about an hour. It may seem excessive, but keep in mind that it saves you the trip to and from your local retailer to buy a hardcopy from a console. Not to mention that console firmware and software updates reportedly eat hours of a gamer's time as well now.

tippy2k2:
I'm going to end up skimming everything for all your points add up to one snagging point for me that I don't feel was addressed:

How long will this thing be current?

In terms of media, it would last the lifetime of the hardware. The hardware requirements are relatively low (an 8 year old PC today would still play 1080p flawlessly for example) and the software would be included and set up, ready to go (Windows Media Center and a pre-configured remote control).

As for gaming, since AAA gaming has been for years cross-platform, aimed primarily at consoles and ported to PC, the hardware would be current for approximately the entire life of the current gen consoles. Since they're hardware is fixed, anything able to match or surpass that spec will be current and capable for the duration of the current gen.

fix-the-spade:

To be honest it sounds like buying a gaming PC from a builder, then specifying that you want it in a desktop or home theatre case so you can slide into the HiFi tower under the amp.

These things kind of already exist, but cost high end money since you either build it yourself or pay someone who knows to build it and set up the software, or at the other end you are describing what the Steambox is seemingly trying to be (a console priced box wit haccess to PC infrastructure).

In a sense, that is fairly accurate, but the idea is that the final "black box" is a ready to go system for media and gaming. The issue with SteamOS is that it cannot support DirectX and while the benefit is no cost of a Windows license, the trade off is a limited library.

The idea is that you would receive your purchase "Box", a nice, small and quiet HTPC size machine, plug it in similarly to a console and get Steam Big Picture with a game controller, Blu Ray and WMC with a remote, an option for KB/Mouse and it will out of the box have configured all the codecs, emulators and what have you so everything "just works".

I haven't budgeted a spec yet but I think once done the first time, it would be easy to replicate thereafter. I realise such a thing cannot compete against console exclusives but the beauty of Steam and Big Picture is that it can be as easy (or easier) to use on a big screen. Because it combines unrestricted support for every for of media imaginable (whereas consoles may only offer certain services, for example), it could be used for watching DivX/XVid, MKVs, anything they choose. A complete media center with a remote control and a capable gaming machine (without the hassle) with a controller with the benefits of Windows and all the software available for it on top.

I realise price will be a vital factor, but think it might be doable, even if I buy at retail prices. Buying at wholesale prices would make it maybe ~15% cheaper still. Even if it's a little more than current consoles, it offers many benefits which could be a draw to potential customers.

Tho judging by comments so far it doesn't sound particularly promising. o.o

Johnny Novgorod:
That assumes I have a desktop computer (I don't) that doesn't overheat (it does) and is pretty good (it's not) and the money for a GPU (I don't). And then I have to worry about rigging it up to a decent TV screen and getting new peripheral controllers and working around installing every single game I want to play. And you're telling me even if I could right all those wrongs, it still wouldn't be top of the line?

Let me address your all your issues

- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit (Seriously, my decent 5 year old desktop kicks my decent new laptop's ass)

- DVI to HDMI adapter, or just a card with HDMI out
- Wired 360 controller is great
- I usually install games days before I actually get time to play them (months even!). Getting things on release is also a waste of money.

- PS4 wasn't top of the line the day it was released, and PCs have only become better.

Oh, and desktop PCs are also desktop PCs, and can be used for a little more than just gaming :p

Gennadios:
I set up a non-gaming HTPC for my parents so they can stream Russian language programs, and I'm just not happy with the PC from couch experience, and I way prefer controlling things with the keyboard/mouse over gamepad, there just isn't much Steam could do to sell me a console.

The thing is WMC and Steam Big Picture make it very easy to control using a remote (play, stop, rewind, up, down, okay, etc) similar to a DVD player, and for Steam, a game controller (like the 360 controller) can do everything. You're right about KB/Mouse on a couch not being as much fun, hence they're secondary to my idea. You would plug this in with the ease of a console, install a game thru steam (or a physical disc) and play it with a controller just like a console game.

It would be a little more complicated to browse the web with a KB/Mouse from the couch, but I'm sure there are models that make it more comfortable (eg. wireless, inbuilt touchpad, etc). That device would give full PC level web browser support in the living room, easy to use YT, iPlayer, etc.

Johnny Novgorod:

Gailim:

Johnny Novgorod:
I've always gotten the impression that when you try to turn your PC into your main gaming thing you end up wasting too much time making it run and bleeding too much money keeping it up to date.

your "impression" is about 15 years out of date

Graphics don't advance at the same rate they used to

you could throw a $150-$200 GPU into most regular PC's and (assuming they have the power to run it) have a perfectly acceptable gaming pc for years

Will it be top of the line? no, of course not. but it will play games and have mods and do all the thing you want from a gaming PC

That assumes I have a desktop computer (I don't) that doesn't overheat (it does) and is pretty good (it's not) and the money for a GPU (I don't). And then I have to worry about rigging it up to a decent TV screen and getting new peripheral controllers and working around installing every single game I want to play. And you're telling me even if I could right all those wrongs, it still wouldn't be top of the line?

Im not sure how you can even try to justify the whole you have to install PC games thing in this day and age when you have to install pretty much every console game to said consoles hard drive now.

That and installing games on a modern PC is for the most part a case of clicking and moving your mouse a couple of times.

Stabinbac:

Johnny Novgorod:
That assumes I have a desktop computer (I don't) that doesn't overheat (it does) and is pretty good (it's not) and the money for a GPU (I don't). And then I have to worry about rigging it up to a decent TV screen and getting new peripheral controllers and working around installing every single game I want to play. And you're telling me even if I could right all those wrongs, it still wouldn't be top of the line?

Let me address your all your issues

- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit (Seriously, my decent 5 year old desktop kicks my decent new laptop's ass)

Well there you go. I have a (crap) laptop that I use exclusively for work. I already have a gaming console, why would I buy another more expensive computer when I already have the best of both worlds? Now if I didn't have a laptop or a console, then maybe I would consider getting an HTPC a tempting choice.

Cant say I would be interested my PC is about 7 years old or so although my graphics card is only about 3 years seeing as the stupid thing fried itself after only a few years dont know how considering most PC games I play are pretty damn old.

I just prefer gaming on consoles for that new high end experience sure im certain I could upgrade my PC but a lot of the games I want arent available on PC or get inferior versions if that wasnt the case I may reconsider but even then a high end PC is not something I need especially one dedicated to gaming. Most of the PC games I play are either old ones like on GOG or indie games neither of which require a lot of power.

I dont get many new PC games because they are pretty massive in size me downloading even an 8gb game takes absolutely ages as in just one day if I am lucky plus I have a cap so large games are out of the question personally if its over 2 gb it makes me really think about whether its worth it and anything over 10 is definitely out. I sometimes get boxed versions of games but to much DRM turned me away so I just dont bother. Also I dislike Steam so support it very little I really only got Steam for Skullgirls because I wanted the earliest access to the new characters and wasnt sure they would be able to continue console support at the time.

Oh also my PC and consoles are all connected to my TV in my bedroom so theres no need for me to stream it to a TV also never saw the point in Steam big screen mode always seemed kinda pointless to me tbh.

Johnny Novgorod:

Stabinbac:

Johnny Novgorod:
That assumes I have a desktop computer (I don't) that doesn't overheat (it does) and is pretty good (it's not) and the money for a GPU (I don't). And then I have to worry about rigging it up to a decent TV screen and getting new peripheral controllers and working around installing every single game I want to play. And you're telling me even if I could right all those wrongs, it still wouldn't be top of the line?

Let me address your all your issues

- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit
- Laptops are shit (Seriously, my decent 5 year old desktop kicks my decent new laptop's ass)

Well there you go. I have a (crap) laptop that I use exclusively for work. I already have a gaming console, why would I buy another more expensive computer when I already have the best of both worlds? Now if I didn't have a laptop or a console, then maybe I would consider getting an HTPC a tempting choice.

Actually, you don't have the 'best of both worlds'. You have 2 forms of limited functionality of 1 world. My PC can do everything your laptop and console can do and then some. I honestly am not trying to talk you into a HTPC but just making a point. This is only 1 world.

The only benefit a laptop offers is mobility in exchange for a lot less power for price and overheating issues. IMO laptops are only good for work or surfing the internet - which your phone can do - so mostly just work on the go. Battery life is an issue as well. Consoles are not the 'best' of that world as they offer no mods and no community patches and a limited interface due to controllers' confined input ability. If a Bethesda game releases everyone on consoles is sitting around complaining for the devs to release a patch to fix the bugs while PC gamers just install the community patch and are doing ok.

Mostly the one benefit you have to the laptop/console system is not having to worry about upgrading hardware because you can't. Yeah, you could on the laptop but most people who run laptops would rather just go buy a new laptop than install a new component or just not upgrade. (Especially, if its primary funsction is work) Laptops are very confined spaces for upgrades and most don't want to break out a screwdriver and do it themselves so the upgrades aren't as cheap. Plus, price for power in laptops is poor because they have to shrink the tech which makes the price go up.

What you have is the two closed platforms of one world. The laptop for mobility is one benefit a PC can't offer so I understand work on the go as a must. Console gaming got big when it was crazy expensive to have a PC in your home. Now that PCs are much more feasible, consoles are becoming less relevant and more like an anchor. Consoles are cheaper because you buy the hardware on a kind of credit. They know you will buy games and those games won't be cheap because you still have to "pay off" your console. PCs demand the money up front but they also provide games at a much cheaper rate. I have just over 30 games on my PS3 from last gen. I have 120 games on Steam that span 2 console generations and the PS3 library costed me more. I will soon catch my PS3 dollar amount on Steam but that's crazy isn't it? 30 games cost more than 120? That's 4x value.

OK your idea has some issues which I think I should bring up.

Windows 8.1 - No-one games on windows 8 if they can help it. Windows 8 has compatibility issues with a lot of games and kills off most of the back catalogue you could access.

Region free Blue Ray / DVD - I don't know about blue ray but you'd need to do a fair bit of work to have an unlocked DVD drive as most give you 4 chances to switch regions then permanently lock after the 4th change.

DO NOT USE AN INTEL - Look intels have raw power and a brand name. Intel already overclocks the hardware slightly to get more power and as such can harm the lifespan. As this is at best a mid range rig go AMD, there's a reason every console in the new generation has gone AMD.

That said I would be interested in one.
I presently PC game on a 5 year old mid range laptop, and I mean it was mid range non gaming when I bought it 5 years ago.

It's presently in the shop for repairs and general maintenance.
I know soon I will realistically need to upgrade and would like to in the future.

From what I've heard the Steambox will be linux not Windows and possibly be modular so you could change and mod parts over time.

I don't have a Tower PC because for various reasons I no longer have a place to set one up fully but I did long ago have a Tower I could game on despite the low ram and graphical power of 256mb and 64mb video ram (the thing had a 3.6Ghz single core processor it carried the thing lol)

If you're happy to stay behind the top tier curve graphics wise (but still ahead of console to an extent) you can get a gaming PC quite cheap (Cheaper if you build your own but still). The people spending $1,000 a year are those just going for AAA games and wanting to play them at absolute highest settings.

Why PC game ?

1) If you buy a powerful rig initially and claim it's for work you can work and game on the thing so it's the cost of your work PC + console in one really.

2) More freedom, seriously you have the choice of so many places to get games from and they are often cheaper, especially if you wait till sales times.

3) Larger library and huge back catalogue to explore

4) Free to play games that are good and not price cash gougers

5) Actual servers not the P2P console nonsense.

I do have consoles and can see why they exist and their use but I have to say PC is better simply thanks to the variety alone.

KingsGambit:
The thing is WMC and Steam Big Picture make it very easy to control using a remote (play, stop, rewind, up, down, okay, etc) similar to a DVD player, and for Steam, a game controller (like the 360 controller) can do everything. You're right about KB/Mouse on a couch not being as much fun, hence they're secondary to my idea.

Yeah, I don't really get the argument against mouse/keyboard being used on a couch. OK, yeah - chances are, it would not be really comfortable (depends on your set up really) but thing is, you don't even have to use them. I've set up an HTPC at home - my old laptop I don't really use any more. It's for watching movies only but I don't need a keyboard or a mouse for it - my first attempt was with XBMC which is a player available in several ways but I got the Linux distro built around it (XBMCbuntu - which is Ubintu based, to the shock and surprise of nobody) - that has an Android app that allows controlling it. It's not great but it works as a remote, so...yeah, no need for any other input. But this one didn't really suit me that much, so I went with something even simpler - VLC media player. On Windows, if it matters, but it doesn't really for it's multiplatform - VLC already has API for remote controlling it and approximately a zillion Android apps that use it. I went with VLC Direct Streaming Pro Free (yeah, that's the name of the app) because not only can it act as a remote control, it also allows you to stream video between your Android device and PC in each direction. The remote control capability is simply better than what XBMC allowed.

So in conclusion, no - I don't think keyboard/mouse need to be used at all.

And to answer the question in the OP - I do not plan on buying one, but I could, perhaps, build one. In fact, I very probably would, I plan on, one day, building a beefy computer and having pretty much any other devices in the house being slim clients interfacing with it. So, in a way, it'd be able to act as an HTPC but not only.

It isn't as if there aren't wireless media remotes for the PC, so if you didn't want to use a mouse and keyboard for your media then you do have alternative options.

As to the original question, would I buy a PC dedicated for the living room? No, I don't believe I would.

Don't get me wrong I know there are some great small form factor PCs, that have great gaming functionality. Yet I would struggle to justify the machine given its limitations over my regular desktop.

I know it is hypocritical but I think the combination I currently have, my desktop and an Xbox 360 for streaming to my TV, is perhaps the best combination there is for what I want to do.

My laptop I keep offline to avoid distractions while working on it.

Well, depends if form factor is your niche. I avoid gaming HTPCs because they tend to be very cramped and hard to clean, refit components, and leave my fingers tied in knots. Building a computer is always a challenge, but a gaming HTPC adds another level of joint crunching I don't like to remember.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked