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Pros: Pretty fast and stable. I use it on a h61m-based SATA-II machine but it still helps a lot. I have another Mushkin SSD that's been solid for over a year so I decided to stick with them for my other PC.
Cons: I can't think of any cons. It just works.
Other Thoughts: I bought this on sale for $137.99 if I remember correctly.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: This can do 6 channels at once! Set-up was very easy and had no problem swapping out the quad version. I now have enough tuners to support the HTPC, plus 3 extenders. The best whole-home DVR set-up, plus you can ditch the cable companies' terrible boxes and not have to pay rental fees! They even have a pamphlet with direct phone numbers to activate your cable card. Nice touch guys!
Cons: Channel changing could be faster, but it doesn't bother us too much. Also, powering down or sleeping the HTPC isn't a good idea because the InfiniTV is slow to wake up or power-on. If you're used to an instant-on experience, follow that suggestion.
Other Thoughts: I just leave my HTPC on, but set my Harmony remote to press "Stop" in WMC, and the power off the screen. This way when I press power off, I can jump right back in very quickly.
I'd try and find the most power efficient base hardware, like a Haswell set-up with Intel HD graphics, so that you're not using too much power when not watching it.
Also, it is worth the $299.99, but they put it on sale for $249.99 quite frequently. Sometimes they have a bundle with the Echo extender, which I recommend as well (so you can share the tuners/DVR in another room).
Pros: Gives me live and recorded TV on the other side of the house without renting anything from the cable company. Cool and quiet. Power-efficient. It goes on sale for $99.99 almost once a month it seems. Honestly, I wouldn't pay full price for it, but at $99.99 I bought two! So just keep checking until it goes on sale.
Cons: The SOC could be faster - but if you disable the animations in WMC you can't tell. HBO stutters a little when watching live, but recordings are fine. My ripped DVD's encoded in h.264 mp4 also stutter, but I think it's because MP4 isn't a container the Echo likes, so I'm thinking re-muxing them in .wtv will help. I know it will handle h.264 in WTV because some of my shows were compressed with VideoRedo in WTV, and they play just fine. The remote control is sleek and does everything except control power and volume of TV. I wish Ceton had a way to program that, but I use a universal Harmony 300 anyway so it's all good.
Other Thoughts: I read all the complaints and shortcomings on-line, followed the development since it was announced, so I decided to give it a try. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Could it be better? Of course. But it does what a WMC extender is supposed to do: share live TV and DVR'd recordings from a host PC. No hassle so far. I bought this on sale for $99.99 and frankly I wouldn't buy it at full price. If it had a faster SOC, maybe I'd spend the $179.99. But it goes on sale frequently for $99.99, so keep checking.READ FULL REVIEW