Media Center Extenders -- remember those? Yeah, those things were all the rage at CEDIA 2008, and right around four hours after the show closed up, you and the whole world forgot about 'em. Honestly, the concept and execution was flawed from the start. These standalone boxes provided exactly what media loving consumers didn't want: yet another set-top-box crowding their space. Furthermore, most were priced at or above the cost of an Xbox 360, which -- lo and behold -- could be used as an MCE as well as a darn good gaming console. See the holes in this plan yet? Furthermore, most of 'em, particularly those that relied on WiFi, were utterly unreliable and offered disappointing streams. High prices plus lackluster results yields low demand, who woulda thunk it?
Essentially, manufacturers were hoping that those with loads of media on Windows-based PCs would jump at the chance to get all of that material on their HDTV with the addition of one little box. And in theory, at least, that does sound somewhat attractive. Unfortunately, only a few of these were announced in Denver, and almost all of them suffered from inexcusable delays. By the time they hit the market, all of the buzz generated at the trade show was extinguished, and early reviews were less than positive. It didn't take long to see prices begin to plummet, all while fence sitting companies realized that avoiding this niche would likely be most beneficial to their longevity.
Today, we're seeing Linksys' DMA2100 and DMA2200 listed as "Discontinued" at a number of legitimate e-tailers, and while D-Link's DSM-750 and HP's MediaSmart Connect seem to be hanging around at near-full price, we can't say the same for Samsung's discounted MediaLive Digital Media Adapter. Heck, Niveus Media doesn't even list its Media Center Extender - EDGE as a product on its website anymore. It shouldn't be any real shock that hardly any other companies have jumped in since these first few, and we're having serious doubts about the future of the dedicated MCE. Are you getting the same vibes? Do you think these things could thrive at the right price? Let us know in the poll and comments below!
Update: Turns out HP is axing its MediaSmart HDTV / Connect lines as well. It's full statement sent to us is after the break.
HP is discontinuing the MediaSmart TV and MediaSmart Connect lines. As part of HP's ongoing strategy to accelerate the growth of key product categories, improve efficiencies and profitability and continue to drive innovation for its Personal Systems Group, the company made the decision to place its Connected Entertainment and Managed Home product lines into its global Attach Business. The Attach Business develops products and services that supplement and extend the customer experience of HP's core product lines such as the MediaSmart Server. With these changes, there will not be any follow on MediaSmart TV or MediaSmart Connect products in 2009. With the PC at the center of the experience, HP continues to be committed to delivering high-definition, connected entertainment to consumers around the world.