Media Center Doesn't Meet Our Standards
By Joe Calise
To Media Center, or not to Media Center?
That's this year's big question. Do we jump on the bandwagon or not? I personally have mixed feelings about it.
We wonder, like many C-tailers do, if Windows Media Center is something that our customers will be looking to us to deliver or carry.
When I was offered the opportunity to become a dealer for one of the manufacturers that is making its own hardware for the Media Center platform, I took advantage of the opportunity to explore my options and see what Media Center was all about. Let's face it: If we don't familiarize ourselves with the products our customers want (or might want), those customers will probably look elsewhere.
I won't name the manufacturer and, I must say, they're a great bunch of guys. And I really do wish them success. However, my ultimate decision was to take advantage of my money-back guarantee.
When I opened the box, I figured, "Okay, I can set this up." I'm sure many of you have experienced the same first impression.
Well, as we all know, first impressions can be deceiving. I could not get the unit to work on my display. So I decided to open up the installation manual (yes, once in a while, it is necessary). Even so, I spent over two hours with this unit and still did not have a consistent display on my monitor. I was using HDMI, so I assumed it would connect very easily—which it did, but I just could not get a picture that would stay on without cutting out.
After a call to tech support, we finally got it up and running, so I played around a little bit. "Not too bad," I thought, and there are some really cool interactive features too. All was not well, however. The unit came with an ISF-certified video card, but I was not impressed with the picture at all. I found it very soft, even after trying to adjust the video settings. Evaluating the unit as a potential product in my store, I was not impressed with the audio/video portion of the platform.