And what's a media center PC, really, than a tricked-out set-top box? In the HP's case, it even looks like one.
Thomson/RCA makes convergence products, such as Internet-enabled projection TVs and MP3 players; it has an ongoing relationship with Microsoft, which owns about three percent of Thomson and provides the WinCE OS for use on RCA HDTV products. "In general, we welcome the concept," says spokesman Dave Arland. "There's an opportunity for products that bridge between these two camps. We're not going to draw a line in the sand, CE versus PC. It's not an either/or situation."
Different consumers will want different types of products and systems, and RCA's goal is to prove agile in this regard. Arland says consumers like to "mix and match, not buy all branded products from the same company," and that the one fault of many home entertainment systems, both from the CE and the PC industries, is that "they tend to be closed systems. There needs to be interoperability." If it proves to be winning technology, Media Center could prove an attractive de facto standard that could be leveraged by CE manufacturers and retailers alike.