Services - Home Theater PC (HTPC)
Now you can use your existing desktop computer as a Home Theater PC to run Netflix, watch DVD or Blu-Ray movies, play your MP3 collection, watch YouTube videos, and more!
- Use Your Existing Case - Tower-style cases are those that stand up vertically and are more common, while desktop-style cases lay longer horizontally. Either style will work, but desktop-style cases can be implemented into your entertainment center furniture (assuming there is space available to accommodate a case).
- Parts Upgrade - Stock CPU coolers do their job well, but always leave room for improvement. Digi-Detox can replace your stock cooler with a quieter aftermarket cooler for better performance. HTPC's greatly benefit from quieter coolers as there is less noise and distractions when watching movies and videos.
- Video cards also play an important part of the Home Theater PC. Most video cards have an HDMI or VGA output jack allowing connection to a television set, but cards without these can use an adapter to allow TV connection. It's crucial that you are using a modern flat-screen, non-tube television as Home Theater PCs can't use an older tube TV.
- Audio Connections - Routing your computer's audio through your home entertainment system allows you to experience the dynamic audio your computer can produce. A simple left speaker / right speaker system is sufficient, but you can greatly benefit from the full audio output from 5.1 or greater Surround Sound if you have one. Be aware that most 5.1 surround sound systems are not wireless, so extra routing and cable planning is required for rear left and right speakers.
- Blu-Ray - Adding a Blu-Ray drive to your computer is possible but may require more processing power in regarding to your CPU or video card. Blu-Ray playback also requires third-party software (Around $50) to be installed on your computer as well. Installation is simple, but if you are budget-minded you may be well-off keeping your existing Blu-Ray player if you have one.
- Remote Control - Unlike a TV, a remote control will not let you power on your computer when your computer is completely off. If you have a wireless router though, you can use your smartphone, iPad, or Android device as a software keyboard and mouse thanks to your wireless router (required) and MobileMouse Pro ($1.99 - http://mobilemouse.com/) or other software mice apps. Consider the ergonomics and convenience when looking into a Home Theater PC. Some users leave their computer on without ever turning it off, when in practice it's better to shut it down when not in use). With the power off, it will not turn on without you physically going over to it and pressing the power button.
- Software - The free software XBMC allows you to transform your computer into the nucleus for your home theater. Alternatively, you can use the XBMC software at your disposal, activating it only when needed. Play your MP3s or music CDs, browse photos, watch movies and videos, watch and record live TV; all with the free software package. If you would like a software preview of what's available, check out the XBMC homepage by clicking here.