Why would you want a media centre for your house? Well if you watch a lot of films online or watch YouTube then a media centre can really save you a lot of money in the long run.
All you need is a spare computer or laptop the smaller the better really, doesn’t have to be super fast just fast enough to play HD films like Blu-ray. You can buy a Blu-ray drive for half the price of a normal Blu-ray player! They are much cheaper, buy one and install it into your computer. A Blu-ray driver for a laptop might cost a bit more though.
DVD drives are really cheap for computers now and most laptops already have DVD drives installed in them.
If you want your media centre to play movies online or watch YouTube then you might see how close your TV and spare computer are to the router for the internet access. Keep in mind that if your router is wireless you can install a wireless card into your computer and most laptops come with wireless connection built in.
Once you’ve got your internet connection sorted and what type of disk drive you’re going to use you can check the connections on your computer or laptop, most laptops have VGA out which will give you the best out put unless you’ve got a HDMI port then you should use that. Every computer has a VGA port normally if not you can install a video card that will have one on, you can get these for less then £30.
If your television doesn’t support VGA input then check for an S-Video port, most Televisions have this type of port. Then check your spare computer or laptop to ensure they also have S-Video out put, if not then you’ll have to buy a converter VGA to S-Video or VGA to SCART, or VGA to HDMI any of these will allow for a connection to be made to your computer.
Once you’ve connected your computer or laptop to your television then you can start it up and on your television select the source from the list, VGA, SCART, S-Video or HDMI. You should now see the boot up screen from the spare computer or laptop.
If after the boot up the television screen goes blank then this normally means the computer or laptop is running at a resolution which the television doesn’t support try lowing it and see if that works.
Now that the spare computer or laptop is linked up to your television and you can see the desktop, you can check the connection to the network/Internet, once you’ve check that you might want to connect some other devices to your spare computer like external drives, data pens. You can also connect a NAS (network added storage) to your network, this can store all your films music and photos that then can be accessed from your computer or laptop and be shown on your television.
If you don’t have an operating system on your computer you can always download a free operation system like Bunt, which is a free Linux based operating system. This operating system is different from windows but you can still do almost the same things with it.
For the price you’d pay for a new media system this is can be a so much cheaper option and you can do much more on a spare computer then a standard media system.