One set top box (DVR) to rule them all?

We reveal what the ultimate home theatre PC would look like

The ultimate set-top box/high-def DVR

The ultimate set-top box/high-def DVR

The Pitch: Our ultimate set-top box/high-def DVR is a home theater PC that's quiet and turns on in seconds. (That's not an impossible dream either: Microsoft has thought about it, and ASrock has motherboards that use an advanced standby state to boot Windows in around 4 seconds).

A PC-based DVR lets you hand-pick and upgrade hardware (drives, tuners, CableCards), manage codecs, and use add-ons like DVRMSToolbox, ShowAnalyzer or ComSkip to automatically detect and skip commercials. We'd follow the lead of MythTV and make ad-skipping standard...

Our interface blends the slick look and networking chops of Windows 7 Media Center with TiVo's ease of use; the latter already runs on PCs via Nero's Liquid TV kit.

Wireless Keyboard, Streaming Features: The concept you see pictured (rendered to our spec by Brian Christie Design) includes a keyboard for PC tasks and Internet use. Our SlingLoaded DVR also lets you schedule from, and stream to, any Web device. Further options: Use a remote server to record or stream shows (inspired by actual Cablevision plans), or share live TV with friends (as on Monsoon's HAVA boxes with SociableTV).

Detachable Touch Remote: Though influenced by Asus's Eee Keyboard PC, our touchscreen also functions as a detachable remote control/minitablet that communicates with the DVR through Wi-Fi or infrared.

Touch Display: Interface to adjust settings without a TV, to display the program guide, and more. Can be switched off.

Media Drives: Blu-ray/DVD to play movies, back up recordings and rip discs. Portable media drive has HDMI and works with the remote.

Parts List (Inspiration)

Luxa2 LM300 Touch Pro

What we took: Stunning bare-bones case to build your own DVR; has a 7-inch touch LCD. More.

Okoro Media Systems GX100

What we took: High-end pre-built HTPC is controlled via a bundled Nokia Internet tablet. More.

Asus Eee Keyboard PC

What we took: We borrowed design cues from this Windows XP computer-in-a-keyboard. More.

Popcorn Hour A-110

What we took: Portable media drive/streamer with HDMI, Wi-Fi, and built-in BitTorrent. More.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Danny Allen

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?