Unlike most PCs, which benefit from more air-flow and a larger form factor, a HTPC should fit right in with the rest of the appliances around your television set. For this reason, most users choose a Mini or Micro ATX case and motherboard, rather than the standard ATX tower, since the cases are much smaller and come in various different dimensions. The noisiest component in a computer is usually the fans that keep the system cool, so some of the enclosures designed for media center use are fanless, relying instead on natural cooling, as well as the reduced heat concerns that go along with more budget-minded components.
Striking a balance between noise level and heat is essential, since a noisy machine will drown out the quiet moments in your favorite movies, but letting the machine get too hot will quickly reduce the lifetime of your components and could result in total failure of the machine. Any of the current integrated graphics chips easily handle p. The only option you need concern yourself is the output, but most motherboards offer HDMI-out. Going 4K complicates matters. DisplayPort, which is more common, is almost never found on televisions.
Adding 4K support to your wish-list means upgrading the scope of your entire project — for now, at least.
Build a Linux Media Center PC
Linux builds are usually free, but take a bit more computing know-how to get installed and running properly. Whatever decision you make regarding your operating system, the consensus is that the lightweight and powerful XBMC platform is ideal for controlling an HTPC. The software acts as an alternative GUI and media manager, giving you a customizable interface that is easy to control by remote from your couch.
The XBMC platform has a raft of audio and video codecs built in, as well as an ecosystem for downloads that add various functions from specific streaming services to emulators for old games. While there is a Linux-based version of XBMC available, the widely-used OpenElec is built specifically to maximize power on budget-friendly systems, and comes with a suite of software and enhancements pre-installed.
As long as you do a good job picking out a motherboard there should be no need for a discrete audio card. Most modern motherboards have a built-in chips that are able to handle music and move audio through HDMI, hopefully to your receiver or sound bar. A dedicated audio solution will provide you with high quality sound straight out of your box, with the ability to acutely control levels and the equalizer in the same way you might with dedicated media center audio devices.
It may also support more exotic output options not normally found on a motherboard, like optical audio. While a large number of users prefer infrared remote controls with a receiver to catch the signal, there are issues with line of sight and responsiveness that can be solved by using a gaming controller with a Bluetooth adapter. A number of generic controllers are available at a bargain price, but if you really want to get fancy, XBMC works wonderfully with a PS3 gamepad or Wiimote if you have a sensor bar.
The Bluetooth adapter will cost you a little more than, if not the same as, an infrared extender, and provides a unique input solution. Unfortunately this requires the purchase of a wireless adapter so that the controller can connect to the PC, and then needs a bit of love to get it working fully. Share on Facebook Tweet this Share. Is the modular Asus Prime Utopia the future?
3 Ways to Download Windows Media Center - wikiHow
Most of these will be similar to the settings you set in that initial wizard, though there are a few things you may want to pay attention to:. Apart from some basic setup, though, you should be off to the races! The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere.
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Smarthome Office Security Linux. The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere Join , subscribers and get a daily digest of news, geek trivia, and our feature articles. Skip to content. Everything was so much better before. I don't even really need my Windows 8. You know, I could probably get rid of the gaming PC hooked up to the TV if I moved the video card into my home server.
Having just one computer in the living room instead of three is the kind of thing that will make leaving Windows Media Center behind sting a little less. I bet that if I document the whole process and write it up for TR, it'll be exactly the kind of therapy I need to wrap this up and move on with life. Now, I know the thought process above has to be similar to what at least some of you have gone through. I figure I'm on the tail end of converts from ye olde Windows Media Center, but I know there are diehards still out there lamenting their loss or maybe still fighting to get Windows Media Center working on Windows 10 in a post-April Update world.
To those of you good people, take a deep breath and listen to my tale. Maybe it will help you find peace. That hardware had a good run, but it's history and not part of the equation today. Today's story really begins with the details of the three different PCs that did everything and the one PC that brought them all together. That setup got the job done for a while, but the IGP was coming up short for even the light TV gaming it was asked to do.
Step Two: Install Windows Media Center
As a result, I moved the PC into a new case, switched to a 3. It hasn't changed since—not because it didn't need to, but because it was trapped by Windows Media Center and its dependence on Windows 8.
The home server Built not long after the first incarnation of the HTPC above, my home server came together in early Originally conceived as a dedicated PC for storage and game servers, its hardware configuration has stood the test of time. The Intel iS sitting at the system's heart is a bit of an odd duck, but it can turbo up to 3.
Everything resides in a Fractal Design Node case, which I still have a strong attachment to. I still do all my best projects on this workbench.
The gaming PC When I replaced my main rig back in early , my old system became available for redeployment.
Related How To Build a Windows Media Center PC
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