Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror takes a look at the increasing efficiency in home theater PCs over the years. His latest build includes a new Sandy Bridge based Intel Core i3-2100T system which idles at 22 watts. This is less than half of his 2008 build while still doubling performance.
With the continuing decrease in price and increased hardware integration, building a high performance HTPC for less than $500 is increasingly realistic. Furthermore, with the expanding variety of online media streaming options including Netflix and Hulu, an HTPC allows for the flexibility of viewing any type of media without being tied to your cable provider.
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