14 February 2008

Mythbox: Debating the choice - build or buy

For ages I thought building a media PC was a stupid idea. Why would you spend all that money on a noisy, ugly PC when you could buy a cheap DVR? The answer came to me after much research and just with the passing of time.

Cost became less of an issue simply with time. Computers are cheap. Their components are cheap. This is partly because of reduced costs, partly because the US dollar exchange rate is favourable for me at the moment. Now it's about the same to build as is it is to buy.

Flexibility is the thing that really wins. With a PC I can do whatever I want. More tuners? Go ahead! Watch videos from other PCs? You bet! HD upgrade? Why not! Ultimately it was the fact that my country is finally going digital - but there's a huge lack of digital capable DVR's (I have no idea why). The choice is even more dire when it comes to DVB-S which is want I want to use. I have no hope of getting DVB-T coverage. (An aside - see if you can guess which country I'm in). With a PC I just slot in the tuner cards I want an voila! Entertainment gratification.

In summary then:


  • Just works
  • Limited expandability options
  • Small range of digital capable DVRs
  • Infinite flexibility
  • Easy upgradability
  • Choose whatever video source you desire!
  • Fiddling required
For me the build pros outweight the cons, mostly because I'm good at fiddling.