Also known as a "home theater PC" (HTPC), a media center PC is connected to a TV and is built and configured for streaming / downloading media available on the Internet or local network. I personally label it a mere hobby, but I admit that building the ultimate media center PC has turned into my obsession. I'm like Goldilocks seeking the one that's "just right." So much of my time, money, and effort have been spent researching, testing, building, and configuring that I thought I'd share my discoveries hoping to spare others from the inevitable torture that accompanies this project.
These were my requirements, which may or may not be in accord with yours:
- The system must have a DVD player. I'm old school that way.
- The system must have an HDMI output--one cable running to the TV.
- The system must support a resolution of 1920x1080--"Full HD."
- The system must be small form factor and quiet. I don't want a fat-ass noisy desktop connected to my TV.
- I don't need TV recording features (e.g. a TV tuner card).
- I'll try to get it as appliance-based as possible. In other words, I will try my damnest to get it running on a minimum Linux install.
This was my mission, and here is my story.