Of course, there are a few tweaks you'll want to make to your PC before it's ready to serve as your HTPC. Here's everything you need to know about how to make a media center PC out of your current PC.
If you have an internet connection, you could just connect your PC to your computer, grab a wireless keyboard and mouse, and start using your TV as a big ol' computer monitor. But to get a really nice HTPC experience, you may want to take a bit more time to put together a media center experience.
So consider investing in a remote control of some kind for your computer. You'll find plenty of options for sale online. You could also opt to use an app on your tablet or mobile device: there are several that work well with Kodi, and other options exist for other media center platforms. (You may want to grab a physical controller, too, for guests and for moments when you don't have your phone or tablet on you.)
You can watch live TV using a skinny bundle service and your internet connection, of course, but a media center PC is also capable of showing you free over-the-air TV. Instead of connecting your over-the-air antenna directly into your television set, you should consider connecting it to your HTPC via a PC TV tuner.
For instance, you can time-shift OTA TV using some popular media center and server programs. Plex will let you time-shift your OTA TV and stream it on other devices via your Plex server and Plex apps. You can even stream live OTA!
This post covers the basics of converting a PC to a HTPC. It isn't tough: Simply connecting your computer to your TV using an HDMI cable gets you most of the way there, and using a media center or media server app and a remote or mini-keyboard will make everything feel more media-center-like.
But there's still plenty more that you can do to fine-tune your HTPC experience. One of the joys of creating your own media center and streaming device is that you'll be able to tweak things. This might also be a good time to consider increasing the security and privacy of your PC with a VPN app.
Thankfully, third-party developers are more open-minded about this kind of thing. Currently there are a couple of media-center applications that you can use to control not only your locally stored music, images, and videos, but also Internet-based media streams: XBMC and Plex.
This battery powered keyboard/mouse combo is incredibly comfortable and the perfect addition to any media center. With a full QWERTY Keyboard, Touchpad with multi-touch support AND all of the media buttons you could poke a stick at (or a finger) you'll have complete control of your PC from a distance.
The Vidabox Premium HTPC Keyboard does not have a separate number pad. There is a Numlock key, which effectively changes 7, 8, 9 keys all the way down to m, ,, and . into a numpad-like function. It's awkward at times, because the keys are not perfectly aligned as juxtaposed to a standard number pad. But we will have to acknowledge that it's a media center PC keyboard, so I don't think you'll be doing accounting work on it.
Our new Raspberry Pi 3 Premium Media Centre is the ultimate system for watching all of your streaming media at home.Why spend hundreds or even thousands on a machine when the brand new Raspberry Pi 3 is perfect for the job and comes in at a fraction of the cost.
Whether you've got a gaming PC or an Xbox Series X set up in your media center, the Razer Turret for Xbox One is a top-class partner to have on hand while couch gaming. This slightly bulky lapdesk should rest comfortably and remain stable on your lap, even offering a responsive mechanical keyboard with keys that allow Chroma RBG lighting to shine. Some other convenient quality-of-life features include a small space to rest your palm and a retractable mouse pad, which integrates magnets into the design to lightly hold down the included mouse.
Yeah I tried raspberry pi for home theater, and by no means is the 4 at a point any normal person could use it for a media center. No Netflix is the first killer, but then as others point out the video decoding, and other functions like her really kill the deal. Nice read though.
Media centers are programs that organize media files like video, audio, and image files on a computer and optimize them for presentation on a TV or other end devices. The user interface is mostly adapted for use on a television. The software also offers an interface for streaming and information about offers that can be added with add-ons. The program can bundle multiple media playback options together on one unified user interface.
There are quite a few software solutions on the market with which you can organize your digital media and prime it for home playback. If you want to link up multiple devices, such as a television with a PC or laptop, to build a personal home theater, then you should ask yourself one question above all: What requirements do I have for my personal media center?
Users consume media in various ways. Some prefer to get a hold of the newest blu-rays, other prefer to stream their series and films online. If you frequently watch films in a group, then an LCD screen in your living room is a comfortable solution. If you fill your travel time with videos, then you would probably use a tablet or smartphone more often. If the entire family wants to enjoy the full benefits of the available offers, then you need software solutions that allow access to multiple devices. Do you want to play your music through the entire apartment while showing your friends pictures from your vacation? This is also possible with the right media center.
The graphical orientation of the TV screen is called the 10-foot user interface. Format and font size are designed to match the TV screen and be easily seen from 10 feet. All media centers that want to serve as alternatives to Kodi offer this type of user interface.
MediaPortal is an open source media center developed specially for Windows. The developer concentrated on the integrated video recorder in particular, which is the unique selling point of the Kodi alternative. For this, you need a TV subscription. Teletext as well as a guide provide information via the television program. The selected films or series can be watched either live or recorded. The program even wakes up the computer when the shows in question are on. An active community provides plugins, for example MP-TVSeries, for organizing your shows on your hard drive. Users access the stream via the home network.
Yep, everyone's talking about using the Mac mini as a home media center, and there's a reason why: its diminutive form factor makes it a good candidate to fit unobtrusively into an existing audio/video or home theater setup. It looks more like a consumer electronics device than a computer, so it won't look out of place in your living room. We think of it as the central brain of our system; the glue that holds all the devices together. It can serve the role of scheduler, controller, audio/video recorder, audio/video playback, audio/video download, and it even makes a decent audio/video production unit, as well. You might not win the next Sundance with your iMovie, but you sure can impress everyone at the next family reunion.
So for this week's How-To we'll cover the various aspects you'll need to think about when planning your Mac mini media center system, plus show you how to control your Mac mini headlessly from any computer in your house-there's no need to BYODKM; just BYOB, pop in a DVD and enjoy your HDTV, OK?
There's more than one way to skin a mini, so we're going to walk you through our setup and give some overview ofwhat tools are required. Audio and video connections are going to vary greatly depending on your particular setup, sowe'll do our best to show what we're doing with ours and give you a head start on what you'll need to get your ownsetup up and running. Most of the connections are fairly simple, so this how-to is geared towards covering the basicissues you'll have to resolve, plus show you how to divert the cash from the D, K, and M into better investments foryour media center. Without further ado...Storage First problem to solve is the storage issue. Whether you get the 40GB or 80GB drive, you're still going to run out ofspace right quick. Start thinking about external storage right now. This is going to depend much on your availablespace, your personal preferences, and what equipment you already have lying around. If you have an old PC of any OSflavor lying around, now is the time to repurpose it into a file server. You don't need a speed demon to serve in thiscapacity, because you can schedule large file transfers to happen overnight or at other times your home network isn'tin heavy usage. We turned an old PowerMac G4 400Mhz machine into our file server. It lives at the 'front end' of ourback end/front end media center solution, which we'll talk more about later. We run it headless, as well - another DKMchunk of change you can sink right back into extra storage. If you go this route, you'll want to soup up the chassis with as many hard drives as you can. Cannibalize old drives,look for sales online, keep an eye out for friends with neglected machines lying around. Leave no hard drive behind, myfriends. Setting up your server on your home network should be fairly straightforward. You'll want the connection to be wiredfor faster file transfer. If the server machine is running OS X, getting it to talk with your Mac mini is easier thanselling a marked up iPod shuffle on eBay - your success is assured. If you're planning to set up your server as a Linuxbox, you probably don't need any further instruction from us. Go nuts. If your server is a Windows box and you'reunfamiliar with the vicissitudes of cross-platform networking, you'll have to do a little bit of research on bestpractices for smooth communications between the two. Sadly, this is beyond the scope of this how-to, but if many peoplerequest more information we may cover it in a future how-to. If you don't have a spare machine lying around to serve duty as a file server, you can either get a cheapo bare bonesPC to fill the role, or invest in an external storage solution. Depending on your needs, this can be as simple as asingle external Firewire drive; 250GB drives are going for less than $200. If you plan to ultimately burn most of yourrecorded TV and video to DVDs, you will most likely be fine with this solution. You can also daisy chain severalFirewire drives together (or use a Firewire hub), and add more as your needs require. An alternative to using external Firewire drives is to set up a Firewire enclosure, which converts one or more IDEdrives into a Firewire-accessible storage solution. This can be a more robust and compact solution to housing multipledrives, and it can also be less expensive than buying multiple Firewire externals. It's an excellent way to get someusage out of any old IDE drives you have laying about; there are also enclosures made that will convert notebook drivesinto Firewire storage.AudioTurn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from EngadgetYou can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu.Not nowTurn onTurned onTurn on 2b1af7f3a8