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Good: No wires no other boxes (dvd and stuff)
Bad: Can't think of anything
Comment: I purchased an Acer Idea500 and wrote a not very kind report a while ago that complained about a number of issues including support. However, I must now completely reverse my opinions, it's bloody marvelous!!! I used the email support provided by Acer, added a dolop of patience and hey presto all issues solved. Thanks Acer support
Good: Accessing all of my TV, video and music and photos in one place
Bad: Easy enough setup but took a long time as you have to burn your own backup of Windows
Comment: This is my 3rd attempt at centring all of my media in one place. First I had a Showcentre media hub, which didn't do the job. Then streaming media to an Xbox 360 via the extender, which only likes .wmv and programs such as transcode often fall over. To my surprise the Acer Idea 500 works as it should! Streams video from another PCs in my home if I want it to and no matter what format it's been encoded in.
Setup via HDMI to an LCD TV, the media centre functions of the system work well and I have had no problem setting up Freeview. I did read some negative posts about HDMI but for me it was a breeze, told the machine I wanted HDMI as my output method and there it was and no problems losing HDMI when reset.
No problems with the remote for media centre, works as it should.
The keyboard that comes with the machine has a laptop-style pad instead of mouse and this is a great way of getting around the normal windows interface.
For my needs this machine is great, I want to access my media via the dedicated Windows Media interface and will not really be dropping back to the standard XP or Vista interface to check emails and do any serious web surfing.
If you do drop back there is some over scanning that cannot be rectified, it states this clearly in the instruction manual.
Good: MCE in a box that looks OK in the living room
Bad: Not usable out of the box
Comment: I had to download drivers from Acer and Intel to get the TV and graphics cards to work well enough ot record TV. You definitely need to be a PC expert to purchase this product, and get value out of it. New drivers would solve a lot of the problems described by other reviewers (though that does not excuse them shipping the unit in that state).
It still has quirks like losing the edges of the screen in HDMI mode, but when you can work around the quirks, it is great.
Good: Looks great
Bad: Can't transmit image in 16.9 widescreen on displays
Comment: If you want to waste your money, buy this PC. The graphics card is very poor, cable/digital TV is very poor quality when viewing or trying to record. DVD or TV play back does not appear in 16:9. TV only transmits at 4:3 with lots of black boarders to provide nice screen burn on an LCD TV. Media centre cannot set-up a telewest remote control with the PC's remote. Finally, Acer's support is pants.
Good: Good looking. Compact. Promises lots of features at an excellent price.
Bad: Atrocious customer service. Unit has not worked ever since I received it.
Comment: My unit did not work from the start. Even though I purchased a 2 business day on-site warranty I have yet to receive service 10 days after reporting the problem. They keep saying that they have order the parts but cannot give me a date when they will arrive. Incidentally the parts are a hard drive and system board. You would have thought they would just replace the system, however no such luck.
No matter how good value or feature-packed a system promises to be, without good and prompt back up service it is worthless.
I will never buy anything from ACER in the future.
Good: Easy basic set-up for a media centre and reasonable picture with an old-style TV
Bad: User guides could be more detailed
Comment: I'd been thinking about getting a media centre PC for a while, and now I'm very pleased to have gone for the Acer. It looks good and use of the media centre is very easy. I'm looking forward to matching it with a new LCD TV in the next month or so and then trying it with Xbox 360 as an extender. You need to spend some time setting up the home network, but so far, so good.
Good: Cool looking pice of kit
Bad: Manual and support rubbish - dont rely on the manual to tell you what to do
Comment: Mine came from DIGI UK, good price, excellent service but now FM radio doesn't work. Almost impossible to stabilise the picture on S Video setting even on my TV. Also it seems to have a mind of its own waking up from hibernation.
Looks like my iDea 500 is going back for repair five days after purchase.
Good: Range of connectivity
Bad: User guide could be better to cater all connectivity posibilities
Comment: Very good machine with all the possible connections that you need. While easy to get up and running, I would have liked a more detailed user guide to illustrate connection possibilities. User guide is focused on Media Centre software to detriment of all else.
Have heard poor ratings about the TV tuners but I cannot complain. All Freeview channels scanned in okay and good reception. For the price, I don't think you can complain about the component choices.
I use a new plasma TV and found that the HDMI connection caused overscan on the XP desktop but was okay on the Media Center. Switched to standard VGA connection and problem went away.
Good: The unit looks good
Bad: Bad quality TV tuner, defective hard drive
Comment: Get a Philips Showline instead
Good: Styling is perfect, picture and sound quality pretty good
Bad: User guide USELESS! Teletext doesn't work. Programme guide REALLY USELESS
Comment: If you have no techy knowledge find a friend before you buy ANY media centre. Mine came from DIGI UK, good price, excellent service but now FM radio doesn't work, almost impossible to stabilise the picture on one setting even on my new large LCD TV. Looks like my iDea 500 is going back for repair 5 days after purchase.
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