Windows Media Center never really took off the way Microsoft and the numerous OEMs wanted. The reasons for this are greatly disputed but once Microsoft started down the path of making concessions to cable providers and giving OEMs preferential treatment the DIY crowd pretty much lost interest. At the same time MCE was dying, DVR set top boxes from cable and satellite companies started gaining market share with their ease of use, customer service and on demand features proved to be too much for PC OEMs to overcome.
The cable companies set top boxes did lack one aspect that die hard DIY PC users had already gotten a taste of, freedom. Freedom to listen to internet radio, check email, watch ripped movies from NAS servers, YouTube, MotorTV, CNET TV, Photobucket and countless other online media served up via the touch of the remote. The truth is the old men in suits have no idea what this generation wants because they can't think outside of their profit driven world that is limited to DRM, pay to play, funk infected garbage that bills you by the minute.
The stop gap between cable company tyranny and expensive OEM Windows Media Center PCs is the media player. These devices are small, compact yet powerful enough to play full HD content from across a network or their built in hard drive. Some can double as small NAS server and pull music, movies, pictures and more from multiple computers in your home. For many functions setup is as easy as turning the power button on and selecting what you want to watch. The entertainment is controlled by the simple remote sitting in the palm of your hard, true control, no compromise - satisfaction.
Today we are looking at the Icy Box IB-MP309HW-B Network Media Player, a small device that is stacked with lots of features and the ability to function on your TV or via your web browser.
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