Home media networking "is a new category that nobody owns right now," says Malin. Many CE manufacturers, he says, are excited about and licensing Media Center in order to better understand an "open-ended solution" to convergence (CE brands have long offered more proprietary approaches to networking).
Tweeter sent personnel to HP's call center to see how it handles customer support; where Tweeter's rapid response support team calls typically last about four minutes, HP's last about a half-hour. For Media Center-related calls, Tweeter plans to be the first point of contact for its customers, and then hand off calls to HP if need be. Tweeter sales staff and installers are undergoing an intensive training program on Media Center, adds Malin.
Not all media center PCs will run as quietly or look as CE-friendly as the HP. But even more traditional-looking PCs that run Media Center can be connected from another room to the entertainment center using Media Center Extender devices, to be available from a number of vendors. HP, for example, will offer an extender for $299.