I've had a few comments regarding my awarding Windows Media Center Edition a “+” on price in my previous post.

 

Here’s my rationale:

 

I fundamentally challenge the idea that an MCE box needs to be used as a stand alone system.  I use my MCE system constantly as my main desktop PC.  I do absolutely everything that I did when I was running vanilla Windows XP Professional.

 

IOW - Don’t spend $2K on a dedicated MCE system – spend $2K on a system that can be used as your main system under your desk and image it with MCE.  Then, spend another $60 on an X-Box Extender.  Also, I’m using $2K as rather arbitrary number.  Current street prices on hardware muscular enough to run MCE are likely to be a lot cheaper.  See the MCE 2005 hardware page for more info.

 

In terms of MCE specific costs, you can get OEM MCE 2005 online for around $150.  Add a Haupauge 250 for another $140 (if you don’t already have one), then add $30 for an MCE remote.  Total: $320, add the $60 X-Box MCE Extender and you’re looking at $380.

 

Note that you also have Media Center services in two rooms of your house.  With TiVo, you pay per TiVo subscription charges.  You also have to pay for tweaks to get more storage.

In terms of quality, I flat out disagree that MCE's image quality is one iota worse than TiVo's.  I've owned high-end Sony XBR and Wega systems for years - image quality is a main concern of mine.  My 42" Wega yields indiscernible differences between the two.