Why no HTPC?
I've been a dedicated TiVo fanatic for 6 years now. The concept of consulting a TV guide and arranging my daily life so i can sit down in front of the TV in accordance with somebodies idea of appropriate scheduling is one I can no longer accept. I'd rather not watch TV than watch it on someone else's schedule.
At the same time, the fear of being an evangelist for technology is always "will my technology be Betamax?" I.e. will its implementational superiority finally mean nothing in the face of someone else's mass market delivery?
And because of TiVo, I have become somewhat of a HiFi Luddite. Sure I own an HDTV, but i take crappy lodef cable and then stretch and crop it to fit in 16:9. And 5.1 sound? Bah, stereo is good enough for me. If my TiVo can't do it, I don't want it. I don't care if the gore in CSI is so much crisper in HD, if I can't record it and watch it with Pause button in hand, it's not worth it. I've been tempted by the Timewarner DVR a number of times and prefer the concept of renting a DVR over buying and paying a monthly fee. But while the non-TiVo products are DVRs, it's the little things in the way TiVo behaves that make it hard to give up. I know plenty of people who have the HD DVR for HD, but still use the TiVo for everything else.
So why no HD TiVo? Or why not build my own, being the card-carrying geek that I am. Well, Ars Technica has a very nice article why we are stuck in a consumer hell where all the cool new toys don't really do what you'd expect them to do as a consumer.
Sure, I hope that I'll have the opportunity to buy and use a Series3, but I'm not holding my breath. If the leadtime of hearing about HD HTPC that's worthwhile is as long as the time between seeing the first HDTV and buying one (and not watching HD on it), then I got some time to go still. Truly, I still think Cablecard is about as likely to hit mass market as SDMI