Dell XPS 410 with ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner (and Blu-ray, to boot!), which we've come to find out is, unfortunately, still just a working prototype (read: not hitting the market just yet). That didn't stop them and their dual CableCARD tuners from jacking into some serious HD cable though. Interesting notes:
- Dell claims that the sales rep who takes the order for your CableCARD-equipped Dell box will also schedule an appointment with your local cable company to have the CableCARDs delivered and installed the same day your system comes. (Really? We're skeptical.)
- The initial CableCARD install apparently took three friggin hours to drop in, provision, and get running; one of the two tuners continually didn't work for PC Mag, which caused lingering issues. Both the cable company and Dell eventually had to reflash the tuner and CableCARDs.
- HD (and some SD) video had problems: "stuttering and video artifact issues". Bummer.
- Dell said "the company went with Blu-ray instead of HD-DVD [sic] simply because BD-RE is a writable drive now" -- does that mean when writable HD DVD drives are more commonplace Dell will offer both?
- Streaming live and recorded TV to your Xbox 360 works flawlessly, as expected.
- Blu-ray playback worked well with 3rd party apps, but like HD DVD, it can't yet be done in Media Center (yay DRM)
- The system hit some performance limits when playing back Blu-ray flicks and streaming or recording media. More power!
- We don't agree with PC Mag's assessment that "TV on Vista's MCE interface is still a niche product". Perhaps because many millions of Media Center PCs have been shipped -- but let's not split hairs.