Personal Video Recorders are not that expensive compared to a year ago and most cable companies support them and are more than happy to give you a layaway plan on your monthly bill to get you to pick one up.  That has left the HTPC in a little bit of a bind, seeing as how there is a pre-assembled alternative that can do most of what the HTPC was for.  ExtremeTech is looking for the remaining advantages the HTPC has over the PVR, including the obvious benefit of being able to pick your hard drive size.  Most of it’s attraction is in it’s connectivity, a PVR cannot stream or other internet-delivered TV services.

“Once, I was a strong proponent of home theater PCs. As DVRs have become more commonplace, I’ve become complacent, starting to believe the HTPC had become obsolete. But as over-the-air digital television has become a reality and with video delivery over the Internet becoming more viable almost by the day, the HTPC has had a new lease on life.

A home theater PC is a personal computer you hook up to your HDTV or home theater, and serves as a multipurpose repository for your digital media content. It’s a great place to store and view photographs, video, and house your music library. It can also act as a DVR, but can’t really help with encrypted premium content, such as commercial satellite services (Dish Network and DirecTV) or digital cable—though with the latter, you can pull unencrypted content from the cable feed, provided you have a tuner card capable of capturing clear QAM signals.”

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