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HP Digital Entertainment Center z556 - PC Magazine

Kevin C. Tofel

If building your own Windows Media Center doesn't sound appealing, why not consider one out of the box? At $1,499 HP's Digital Entertainment Center z556 will cost you almost $600 more than the HD WMCE box we built, but it does offer more. The z556 has two more tuners than our system as it adds two SDTV tuners to complement the ATSC. No cable or satellite support in the z556, which is unfortunately much too common in the retail systems. On the flip-side, the z556 looks more at home in your home entertainment center with it's component look and feel.

An Intel Pentium 4 running at 3.0 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GPU is also under the hood; specs that are close to what we cobbled for less. PC Mag gave the z556 four out of five stars, mainly because it does the basic job of recording your OTA high-def and because it's $500 less than last year's overpriced model. We say: do it yourself if you can; there are plenty of good spec'd out systems from our very own readers.

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