Home Theater PC: The Goods & Bads

Why should you invest the money in having a Home Theater PC (HTPC) when you can just stream videos through your Chromecast?

First we’ll explain what Chromecast can’t do, and then we’ll explain the benefits of investing in an HTPC.

Chromecast is great for streaming videos from the internet, but it cannot replace the capabilities of an HTPC. With Chromecast, you cannot watch and/or record live television, play DVD/Blu-Ray movies, store files, or play games. However, your HTPC can do all of this… and more.

One of the biggest advantages of an HTPC is that it acts very much like a normal television cable box. There is a remote that is easy for everyone to use. Windows Media Center is extremely stress-free to use, and the program runs directly from the HTPC on the full screen with a simple-to-navigate guide. Through the remote and Windows Media Center, you have nearly full control over the content you are playing with regard to the quality of the media, unlike Chromecast which relies on internet content quality only.

If Windows Media Center is not your forte, there are also other programs that run similarly with different types of interfaces.

When you want to play games, your HTPC can emulate almost every console of the past and even some of the present. Frogger will once again be at your fingertips and on your big screen if you would like. Most games can be played at least at a medium setting. Playing music is also extremely easy with an HTPC, with the additional options that a PC brings such as connecting a light show display on your television.

You can also rip all of your DVD/Blu-Rays to your HTPC, and have all your movies in one place and at your fingertips instead of having to search for the right disc every time you want to watch it.

The biggest drawback to having an HTPC can be the initial cost, and complexity of setup (which we can do for you!). But once you figure out how to use an HTPC and all the benefits, you can permanently cut your cable cord, thus saving you money in the long run.

Having an HTPC does require you to have the patience to learn a new way of using your television, but once you do, the sky is the limit on controlling aspect ratio, overlay, play, pause, post-processing effects and more! You’ll also have the added benefit of a number of different input types and devices to choose from that you wouldn’t have with only cable and/or Chromecast.

The real question you should ask yourself is not why you should have an HTPC, rather why not.

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