Back in the mists of time my friend and I separately set out to build ourselves PCs to act as multimedia players. I’m not sure if “HTPC” had been coined back then because my friend christened his “The Home Entertainmentorium”. Snappy!
My wife was highly sceptical about my plan to build a second PC and install it into the living room. She was sure that it was simply a devious plan of mine to extend my computing related mess throughout the house. However she could see the benefit of having her 600+ CD collection collated with each track only a click away so I was in living room PC business.
Looking at my HTPC PC now it is seriously dated with its 1.6 Semperon CPU on an Asus A7V8X-MX motherboard with Gforce 6200 GFX. That said it still performs its multimedia tasks in a most satisfying way, CD and DVD burning, TV recording, music, DVD player, photos, internet access, internet radio and 5.1 surround sound to mention but a few. All told it’s a great bit of kit and thanks to the BBC iPlayer, 4OD et al it has become even more useful.
I have to admit that I am pretty smug as, after my wife’s initial resistance, it has turned out that she uses this PC far more than I do. In fact, she refers to it as “her” PC.
Currently I am thinking about upgrading to accommodate HDTV but this would require a new CPU, motherboard, probably RAM, Blu-ray Drive and TV card. Not to mention a HDTV. That’s a pretty penny and at time of writing I think it’s still a bit early to jump on the HDTV bandwagon, besides that, the thought of replacing our entire DVD library to take full advantage of HD brings on nausea.
If you haven’t dipped your toe into the HTPC sea yet why not give it a go.
Just bear in mind that you are going to want the PC to be as quiet as possible. Also don’t get hung up on what the PC looks like (as I did). For simplicity’s sake I would advise using a standard size case which, if it’s a bit ugly, you can always hide away.