Like desktop computers, there are a wide range of choices when it comes to buying a media centre computer. In essence they a built the same way and share the same components as desktop computers, but they fulfil a different role. The ideal media centre must have tons of hard drive space to store all your favourite content, must have a Blu ray drive and decent visual output and mustn’t look out-of-place under your TV. Here are a few things to look out for when looking to buy or to build
1. The case
When choosing your case, you need to ask your self just one question, would this look out-of-place in my lounge. The media centre traditionally sits under the tv with the DVD player, sky box and games console, so having a big beige box as a computer may spoil the image. There are plenty of different options on the market at the moment, with designs ranging from small black boxes to sleek brushed aluminium units.
2. Large hard drive
One of the great things about having a computer is the fact that you can have massive amounts of storage. What’s better than begin able to record all of your favourite TV program’s, movies and music without worrying about running out of space. The perfect media centre needs to come with about 1 terra byte of hard disk space, which equates to about 500 hours of recorded TV or 200 high-definition movies.
3. Decent visual output
One thing to look out for when choosing a media centre computer is a decent audio and visual outputs. Most motherboards now come with HDMI output to use with your HD tv or monitor, letting you view all of your media in full HD quality. A motherboard with HDMI output paired up with a decent blu ray drive can let you experience breath-taking visuals from the comfort of your home.
Most new of the new Windows operating systems come with Windows media centre (WMC) which is ideal software for a media centre computer. WMC can let you watch, play and record all of your favourite content all in one place. With a simple and easy to use navigation, WMC can be used with a basic remote controller connected your pc. I would recommend using Windows 7 Home Premium for all new build media centres.
5.Blu ray drive
One of the most important components is the Blu ray drive. Now a must have in new media centres, it allows you to play back high-definition blu ray movies from your pc. It’s also surprising cheap compared to a stand-alone Blu ray player, costing roughly £100.
6. TV card
To enable your computer to record and watch live TV you will require a TV card. TV cards slot straight into the motherboard of the computer and allows you to watch terrestrial, Free view channels and even satellite on certain models. They cost relatively little and be bought for about £30
To conclude there are many aspects that make up a good media centre computer. Focusing on the 5 main points above can ensure you that you get a decent all-round computer, guaranteed not to disappoint.