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What is HTPC and how to build HTPC ( Home Theater PC)

The Home Theater PC is a dedicated computer used for Video display and Audio Audio for a multimedia effect. In the following sections starredreviews has attempted to answer questions related to the Home Theater PC ( HTPC)

Q. What is HTPC ?
A. A Home Theater PC (HTPC) is basically a computer with added feature of being able to supports video display ( in HDMI, RCA, Component Video), music playback. Other two desirable feature include the digital video recorder and Audio Recording. Most recent HTPCs have ability to play high end games that can be viewed on large HDTV. Such HTPCs typically include a high end graphics card.

Q. Does HTPC include a Remote Control ?

A. Typically yes, a remote control eases the operation in a typical set up. However, a set of wireless Keyboard and a wireless mouse can act a remote control, without need of a dedicated remote control.

Q. Can I purchase a pre configured HTPC or I will have to build my own ?

A. You have the option of both – buying a stand alone unit reduces the hassle as it comes with all the required hardware and software for the unit to act as a HTPC. Building your own HTPC gives you flexibility and ability to add hardware that you need.

Q. How does an HTPC connect to a TV ?

A. Modern TVs come with HDMI and an HDMI is a must have connectivity feature required for a HTPC. HOwever, many TVs require COmponent Video or VGA. A typical HTPC is therefore, required to support HDMI, Component Video, VGA, DVI and older Composite Video. Some HTPC also support S-Video.

Q. Can we not hook the HTPC on the back of a TV on the Vesa Mounts ?

A. Very good question. In fact such products already exist. Take for example the AspireRevo AR3700-U3002 that is powered by Intel Atom 1.8 GHz Intel Atom D525 dual-core processor. Vesa Mounted kit is include with this PC as also a wireless keyboard and a mouse. You may however, like to invest in such other device with better processor.

Q. What about the noise generated by the Fan and its interruption with the Audio System.
A. Fan noise, Harddisk noise is a common issue with the HTPC systems. You should invest in a low power processor that utilizes high quality fans. Fanless processor based HTPC could be other option.

Q. If I use a mouse and a Keypad I have to manage two different devices. That is annoying.
A. There is a solution for it. You may get keyboards that have mouse keypad functionality in built. Take a look at the Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad (RT-MWK01), available at around $40. Ergoguys sell Wireless Mini Keybaord with built-in Trackball for Htpc for just around $40.

Q. OK. I want to build my own HTPC. I can assemble the motherboard, put my own processor of my choice and the PCI Express Cards for video Display. But how do I get the required case ?
A. What you need to do is buy an HTPC Case. Carefully choose the one which will fit in the motherboard form factor that you need. The A3701BB HTPC Media Center ATX box from Athenatech is sold as a separate unit for around $70. There are cheaper boxes available for as small as $50. Check out amazon for the details.

It could be a good Hobby idea to integrate an Audio Amplifier into it.

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  1. Mouse
    May 12th, 2011 at 19:02 | #1

    Excellent write up !!! Can you suggest some cheap HTPC that I can buy at Best buy, walmart or Amazon ?