One of the problems with an HDTV is that you can’t record high definition programming with most digital video recorders (DVRs). There are a few models on the market, but most are tied to cable or satellite service. If you want a DVR for over-the-air broadcast HDTV, one of your best bets at this point is to set up a computer running Windows Media Center Edition. This can be an affordable solution, especially if you use the same box for access to Internet radio and your library of music that can then be shared across a home network.
But now there’s a new problem; most computers are plug ugly. That’s why Intel organized the “Intel Core Processor Challenge“, which offers a $1 million prize for alternatives to the traditional “big beige box”.
One of the seven finalist designs is the “Decomatic 12b” from Jeffrey Stephenson of Slipperyskip Computers. This clever art deco design is attractive and interesting. It’s designed to run silently, and packs all the power you’d want in a home media computer. The sad part is that it’s a one-off design, but maybe if it wins Intel’s prize, some smart computer company will license the design. (Or maybe they’ll choose one other of Jeffrey’s creative and clever designs. I’ve known Jeffrey and his work for years, and it’s great that he’s made it to the finals of this contest.)
You can vote for the “People’s Choice” award among the seven finalists at the Intel contest Web site (and those who vote apparently are eligible for a weekly drawing that awards a $100 gift certificate): http://www.intelchallenge.com/category/designs/?sel=34#design. So go check out the designs and see if you don’t agree with me that the Decomatic is the coolest of the crop. Someday, maybe all computers will be as attractive as this.