Home Theater PC
[slideshow_deploy id=’119′]Definition: A home theater PC can be just about any PC you can connect to your big screen TV. HTPC is the acronym for this.
Reasons for using an HTPC:
- You can do anything you would normally do on a computer using your big TV as the monitor while sitting in your favorite chair or couch.
- You can stream video services such as Hulu, Netflix and many others along with recent episodes of your favorite shows.
- You can rent and or stream movies from iTunes , Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster and many other sites. Streaming on an HTPC usually works better than any other device because the HTPC has more memory, computing power and handles buffering much better.
- You can play games from the comfort of your favorite chair on the big screen. No need for another device to connect to the TV, or clutter the space around the TV.
- You can play your great music collection over your big speakers where it sounds really great!
- You can use the HTPC as a media server to share your music, movies, pictures and any other media with other devices on your network.
- You can record live TV, pause, rewind, anything you can do with a DVR without monthly rental fees.
- You can use it with digital cable, analog cable, and over-the-air signals.
- There is enough media available most people will not miss cable TV. You certainly won’t miss commercials.
- You can store and watch your DVD/BluRay collection without having to go find the disks.
- You can watch any regular DVD or Bluray disc just like you would with a regular player. You can also play regular CD’s if you still have those.
- You can run slide shows or use visualizations while playing any music playlist for a great background at parties.
- Your HTPC can be used as a giant photo frame to show off your pictures.
- You can listen to internet radio, ITunes, Windows Media Player or any number of other audio programs you like.
- You can use Skype or other internet chat programs to talk to friends and family from your favorite chair.
- Did I mention you can get away from your uncomfortable desk chair and sit on the couch?
- You can use the HTPC to automate things in your home.
- You don’t have to try to figure out some strange menu on that huge remote control that came with that new internet connected TV.
- The list goes on as software is developed.
While almost any PC can be used for an HTPC, there are some criteria to look for. If you are planning on connecting to an HD TV, then you will most likely connect using an HDMI cable, which means you need an HTPC with a HDMI port. You will most likely also want to tie into your surround sound system so you can take advantage of all your speakers and great sound system. Some systems can use the HDMI for this but a digital ToSlink or digital RCA type connection can also be used. If your HTPC is going to sit near the TV, or perhaps behind a wall hidden from the room, then you will probably want some kind of wireless keyboard and mouse to control the computer. This covers the basic connections but there is much more that can be done. The next big thing to decide is what all do you want your HTPC to do. The more things you want it to do, the more powerful it will need to be. A very low powered system can stream content from the internet as long as it has the graphics capabilities. However if you want to be able to record three channels of HD video while watching a Blu Ray video, while serving out music to a few others in the house, then you need something with a little more power.
If the HTPC is to act as a server for others, then you will want to leave it on all the time and not let it sleep. Because there are so many processors and motherboards out there, matching components can be a bit tricky. Custom building an HTPC is the best way to get exactly what you need. Choosing software and configuring so you have a good experience is a big part of what we do.
Tell me what you want to be able to do, and I’ll put together a package deal so you can sit in that favorite chair and relax.