Great review. Looks like a great system, if a bit cheap to look at.
When a media PC being used, we can expect the sound of the movie or TV program, or music to have a significant masking effect on the PC's noise.
Except for those silent scenes and the sound of the fans and humming of the drive that totally destroys the movie.
There should be no
sounds other than the move (and your own bodily sounds
Having lived with a PVR from a satellite TV supplier for over a year now, I tend not to agree with you. The PVR has a fan that always runs and a hard drive thats hard-mounted to the chassis. It's not quiet, but I have it sitting on foam feet to reduce the vibration transfer into the cabinet that it's in; the overall noise is definitely audible as a low hum when the TV is off.
The TV room is quite small, maybe 10'x9', and the seated position is just 6-7 feet away. It measures somewhere close to 30 dBA/1m, though the overall acoustic signature is smoother than the Hiper. But when we watch the odd TV show (or more often) a movie, the noise of the PVR is never an issue, we never notice it. This is even with artsy films that sometimes have no sound in the track at all.
There are 2 reasons for my apparent noise tolerance (despite my many years of work against PC noise!):
1) The volume level is always much higher than the residual PVR noise. Even when it's turned "low", the peaks are much higher than 30 dBA/1m, and the minimum must be around that level or higher for speech intelligibility.
2) My focus when watching a movie is on the movie, so the PVR noise simply doesn't even enter my consciousness.
$400 does seem high especially when the cost of an OS is considered too... but I wonder if a Mac Mini is a good substitute. It also runs $600~800... and can you add a tuner? I guess an external USB tuner. I've heard of overheating and noise issues with the thing, too. Personally, I prefer the form factor of the Hiper. It's an honest effort to really make it fit in with other AV gear. It's not as cheap looking as you think the photos make it look.
FYI, Shuttle's complete Media systems range $1100~1550
. w/o monitor.
EndPCNoise's media PCs start at $1300
No one sells them for cheap, it seems.