Setting up a Home Theater PC

20 04 2009

Home Theater PCs, also known as HTPC is something which is not new in the States, but more so in Malaysia. With a HTPC, you can play high definition videos, games and music all in the comfort of your living hall. As I have some old components to spare, I have decided to come up with my own HTPC at home. It serves as a temporary distraction from me getting a PS3 or a XBox 360 that I have been craving for quite some time already!

My Home Theater PC Running Windows 7

My Home Theater PC Running Windows 7

So some of you might be wondering, what do I need in order to create a HTPC? Here are some of the general requirements:

  • A PC with at least a Dual-Core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 256MB Graphic Card preferably from NVidia or ATI which supports at least component output or HDMI. (These specs are important to play high-definition videos on the PC).
  • A Media Center OS. I would recommend Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Windows Vista or Windows 7. This is because these OSes contains dedicated software for playing media files.
  • Wireless HTPC remote or a Wireless Keyboard/Mouse set (I chose the latter)
  • A television, preferably a LCD or plasma TV with minimum specs of 720p, 1080i or 1080p. You may still use a usual CRT based television as long as your graphic card supports it.
  • And last but not least, you will need a HTPC casing which would look presentable to be placed in the living hall. I was fortunate enough to get one from a local computer store for just RM120 without power supply.

Once you are done, just hook up the cables for to both your TV and amplifier and play around with the settings of your graphic card driver. The best resolutions to select would be either 1280×720 or 1920×1080. These resolutions will of course depend on whether your TV supports them or not. To ensure that the TV can support these resolutions, ensure that your HDTV has the specifications of at least 720p, 1080i or 1080p.

Once you are done, thats all to it for an all in once media center in your living room. I have even connected a wireless XBox 360 controller to the PC to further enhance my gaming experience. So what are you waiting for? Start building your HTPC today!