In the 21st century, entertainment has become the cornerstone of our lifestyle. Each and every one of us spends a significant amount of time in front of our TV’s enjoying our favorite shows, watching movies and sports or simply getting acquainted with the news. Some people use cable TV, while others have come to opt for HD-boxes, streaming devices and media players connected to the TV. Whatever the case is, we all want to get the most out of our devices and get premium entertainment. If you’re unsatisfied with your current setup, getting an HTPC might be your best shot at getting the best features and services out there.
What is an HTPC?
HTPC stands for Home Theater Personal Computer. A Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC) is basically an all in one entertainment system for your living room. It integrates itself into the existing home theater system in your living room and plays a crucial part as it’s connected to the TV system and the other home theater components. Home theater PCs are designed a little differently when compared to conventional PCs. They tend to blend in with the setup of an average living room. The case of the HTPC is usually very small and easy to ignore. They’re also quiet since they have minimal fans and employ pipe cooling instead.
Benefits of HTPC
Modern-day computers offer fast computing speeds, vast storage space and a plethora of features. That’s why you can expect a decent HTPC to perform like a modern-day computer and offer a wide array of functionality for your home theater system.
A big advantage that plays in the favor of an HTPC is that it is extremely easy to use, and works almost exactly like a television cable box. It can be controlled with a remote that’s easy to use and has a decent range of 3 to 5 meters. There’s a selection of programs you can run on your HTPC, one of the more commonly used ones is the Windows Media Center. It’s stress-free to use and runs directly on your TV as a full-screen program and offers a navigation guide to get you started as well. You can customize and control your content the way you like it to be presented through your remote and the Windows Media Center controls. Also, if you feel like it doesn’t suit you, you can use other programs to run your media and choose whatever program suits your needs the best.
Furthermore, playing music is super simple with an HTPC. Since it’s already connected to the home theater system there’s no need of any special setup. All you have to do is play music on any app that suits you best. There are also a few other features that can enhance your experience altogether when listening to music. Most music players offer digital displays and interactive displays that make the experience more fun. Equalizers and more are also available to fine-tune the sound output coming from your system and set it just the way you like it.
Another feature that sets the HTPC apart, making it a beast of an entertainment system core is that you can also rip all of your DVD/Blu-Rays to your HTPC. This way you can have all of your movies in one place and there’s no need for sifting through stacks of CDs to find the right one.
If you’re someone who enjoys casual gaming here and there, HTPC’s can be used to run a variety of games as well — depending on the graphics card integrated into the system, you can play a number of games and even emulate consoles.
Furthermore, it can be used as an internet browser as well. You can catch up on reading, look up the news, weather reports, RSS feeds, listen to podcasts and so much more. If you’ve set up an Internet-of-Things (IoT) in your home, you can control your lighting, temperature, and cooling as well as security settings. This makes the HTPC the center of your home’s whole setup.
The biggest drawback of an HTPC is the initial cost. However, it is made up for in the form of no cable TV costs, and access to a plethora of features that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to benefit from in the form of one device. If you believe you need an HTPC, check out this list of Best HTPC Cases and get one that suits you most.