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The Ultimate Living Room PC

December 17, 2009 | Ibex Marketing

Yes, we have a computer in our living room. It’s a big, old-fashioned tower case with a powerful CPU and big hard drive inside, sitting on the floor next to the TV stand. It’s not particularly lovely, but it gets the job done. Still, I think I could do better, at least until I visit and see that I definitely could do better.

I met Jeffrey Stephenson years ago when I first saw his “Humidor PCs“. These were one-off works of computer-modding art, where he’d take a wooden humidor and shoehorn an entire PC into the little box. I think we corresponded via email for a few years before we ever met in person. By that time, he was building his own boxes, often inspired by art deco products such as radios and clocks. He’s chalked up some well-deserved awards over the years, but he just won the Intel Core Custom Challenge in the “Best for Digital Lifestyle” for his latest work, which he named “Mission“.

Jeffrey Stephenson's

The mission-style table houses a complete computer in a tower case (that neatly slides out the back for servicing), but you’d never know it. It’s got extensive provisions for ventilation, including air filters to control the dust. And to my eye, it’s just plain gorgeous. And I expect that you’ll agree that it is worthy of first place.

Now, my point was not to make you as envious as I am of Jeffrey’s skills and creative talents. Instead, I want to just pose one simple question: if computers are going to be coming into our living rooms to act as DVRs and gateways to video and movie content on the Internet and platforms for free video phone calls (using Skype or some other service), then why do they have to look like computers? And no, making them look like a VCR is hardly any better. Why not hide them away in a nice piece of furniture? Computers now cost so little that I think some furniture company might want to partner with a computer company and see if they could boost each other’s sales a bit.

And they could do a whole lot worse than starting by seeing if Mr. Stephenson is available to do a little design consulting.