INTEL IS ABOUT TO CUT LINUX out of the legitimate content market, and hand the keys to the future of digital media to Microsoft at your expense. Don't like it? Tough, you are screwed. The vehicle to do this is called East Fork, the upcoming and regrettable Intel digital media 'platform'. The funny part is that the scheme is already a failure, but it will hurt you as it thrashes before it dies. Be afraid, be very afraid.
First, lets explore what East Fork (EF) is. It is basically a media server PC on steroids with a lot of interesting software. The downside is that it is aiming for you, not aimed at you. The first iteration, due out in Q1 2006, is based on a Smithfield dual core Pentium 4 with the Lakeport and ICH7-DH chipsets, a fairly plain combo. You also need a S-ATA HD with NCQ, and Intel HD Audio, but you can supplement that with anything else you need as long as it is on the board. You also need MS Media Center Edition 2006 (MCE 2006).
This will be replaced shortly after launch with a version based on Yonah, more like late Q1 2006, but since the Smithfield one slipped so much, this one might be delayed as well. It replaces the chipsets with Calistoga and ICH7-DHM, not a big change, and the rest remains the same. How they are going to sell a 64 bit launch and a quarter later an 'upgrade' to a 32 bit version is beyond me, but it isn't my idea. The replacement of the 130W Smithfield by the 31W Yonah won't cause many loud complaints, and the exhaust temperature of your stereo cabinet might go down a few orders of magnitude.