In a thoughtful response to Monday’s column on the TouchSmart, Microsoft evangelist Charlie Owen said he’d like a journalist to review Media Center in its intended setting — instead of putting a kitchen PC in the living room. From his blog:
“It sure would be nice if a journalist would review a Windows Media Center system as our team envisions. Let us hear about your environment, and then help you select a combination of hardware which addresses your needs and wishes. Some might say this would affect the integrity of the writer. I don’t think so — as long as the writer is up front about the assistance he got from Microsoft.”
It’s a generous offer, but as I commented on his blog, I prefer to have an “off the shelf” experience when reviewing products, as if I were an average consumer. I’d still like to talk to his team, though, perhaps closer to the launch of the “Fiji” update of Media Center that may arrive later this year.
It was a little goofy to put the TouchSmart in my living room, but the room is probably smaller than the kitchens of most people buying $1,800 computers.
Consumers are also interested in using the system in unexpected parts of the house, Julie McDonald, an HP marketing manager told me. She said one customer wanted the system in the foyer, and she’s using a TouchSmart in her family room.
I thought about testing the TouchSmart in my kitchen, but the room is still midway through a never-ending remodel.
Maybe I’ll balance the coverage by testing a living room PC in the kitchen/dining room, if I ever finish the construction.