A home theater PC makes TV more convenient than ever, but you might not be getting the best possible picture quality out of the box. Here are a few tricks for improving it.
One of the best parts about XBMC, the kickass customizable media center software, is its browser-like extensions. If you've ever wanted to incorporate watching TV, listening to podcasts, or playing video games to your XBMC box, this is how it works.
Plex, an especially handsome piece of media center software, has been shoehorned onto jailbroken AppleTVs. It's still in early development, but man if this isn't the most beautiful way to stream all those files of yours to your TV screen.
The standard cheapo dorm room media center is a few cinderblocks and a few two-by-fours. But that is a pretty ugly and cliched solution. This Freefold shelving system is instead made of cardboard, and it actually looks pretty slick.
Like Kate Moss, this crazy thin EdgeCenter media server from Piixl (who?) is nearly invisible when viewed from the side. And that's precisely the point, as the pricey unit is meant to be hidden behind your HDTV.
Roku updated the lineup today with two new models bookending the current Roku HD: The $80 standard-def SD and the $130 HD-XR, which I tested. It's solid, but still needs a firmware upgrade (coming soon) before it feels truly next-gen.
Just in case you missed it buried underneath the upgrade to Netflix Watch Instantly the other day, Microsoft has gone live with Internet TV on Windows 7 Media Center, offering content (of rather poor picture quality) from the following providers:
This Ceton Multi-Channel CableCARD is very interesting, both for its ability to decode six cable streams at once to record six shows at once on your Windows Media Center, and for the fact that it's not all that expensive.
FINALLY. Microsoft and CableLabs are finally opened the door to have regular people add in CableCARD tuners by themselves, after they've purchased the PC and set it up. This is good news.
If you record a lot of shows using a CableCard in Windows Media Center, know that the upcoming 1.19 update will loosen the reins on these recordings and allow you to copy them to other WMC machines and portable devices. In other words, you record into WMC, you can copy the content wherever you want—save for…
Want to get media onto your TV using some of that fancy DLNA standard hardware? You still might be at a loss for which media center software is right for you, but now there's a handy chart.
Well, it's Japan-only for now, but the Wii is finally starting to compete with the PS3 and Xbox 360 in the only category in which it's in third place: Media center functionality. CinemaNow, apparently, is the guinea pig of choice.
Microsoft has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the living-room PC experience, thanks to Media Center. Slick interfaces and powerful audio/video features combine with the power of a full computer to create a nice experience—though it pays if your PC is CableCard-compatible, for full HD over cable. In…
Toshiba's jump into the network-enchanced home entertainment game is partnered with Microsoft—Windows Media Extender functionality, along with Yahoo widgets, will hit their Regzas, combo LCD/DVD players and a standalone player—but we'll have to wait.