Ok, this is somewhat of an offbeat post for me but stumbled uppon this and thought it was really cool. I don't use a HTPC (Home Thrater PC) at home right now mostly because sich a solution would only make sense for me if my TV provider (DirecTV in my case) didn't provide me a HD DVR. And to get coverage throughout the house, I would essentially need a PC (or maybe just an Xbox360) for each TV I wished to connect. Can get expensive real quick. In the best of worlds, I would have a single HD DVR in the house, which may not even be physically connected to a television, and then each television would pull content from the DVR.

The new Extender for Windows Media Center was launched last week and from what I am seeing, it is definetly a step in the right direction (you can get general details here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/mediacenterextender/default.mspx). I've listed below some of the main partnenrs and the components they are releasing. The offerings come mostly in various flavors of network ready set-top boxes. But I have to admit I really love the offering by HP where they essentially included the technology directly inside of their new 1080i LCD TV's. I have to admit I am really tempted considering that my current 50" plasma, at ~5 years old, is starting to show its age...

HP MediaSmart TV

  • 42” and 47” 1080P LCD Television
  • Fully Integrated Windows Media Center Extender
  • Wireless Networking with Integrated dual-band 802.11n
  • Product is available at Best Buy nationwide, and will receive a software download in early 2008 which will enable the Extender functionality.

HP SL4278N HP 42" 1080p MediaSmart LCD HDTV
HP SL4778N 47" LCD HDTV 1080p MediaSmart
HP SLC3760N 37" ADVANCED DIGITAL LCD HDTV

D-Link DSM-750

  • Dual Band wireless 11N
  • Sleek 17" black chassis
  • Up to 1080i resolution
  • Multiple video formats including WMV, DivX, XVid
  • Price of $349.99, available for the holidays

Niveus Media Extender

  • High audio and video fidelity including 1080p resolution
  • Niveus Glacier™ Passive Cooling technology for cool and quiet performance
  • Stylish A/V form-factor
  • Price and availability TBD

Linksys Media Center Extender

  • Includes programmable remote control
  • Wirelessly streams content over dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), draft 802.11n
  • Built-in, up-scaling DVD-Video player for watching DVDs
  • Price of $299.99 or $349.99 with DVD player, available for the holidays