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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Chapter 11. HTPC

Hacks 90–93

Although modern home theaters are beginning to take advantage of the latest developments in technology, perhaps nothing is so “modern” as the home theater PC. This is exactly what it sounds like—a personal computer driving your home theater. Instead of having a DVD player, CD player, HDTV set top box, and a slew of other components, an HTPC can handle all these tasks, and often better than the components can on their own!

Here are some common functions of an HTPC, especially on a high-resolution, progressive scan display (such as an HDTV display).

DVD player

HTPCs feature progressive scan DVD players, able to scale to any resolution, with aspect ratio control capability! You’ll spend at least $1,000 for any standalone component with even close to these capabilities.

Line doubler/scaler

Using a computer as a line doubler or scaler for analog video sources means you can get higher resolutions of even poor source material, such as VHS tapes or standard-definition cable broadcasts. Although even a scaled normal broadcast won’t compete with HD, it’s a lot better than unscaled content.

CD player

High-quality, 100% digital setups are possible, to make your computer (and theater) sound like an audiophile’s dream CD player.

MP3 jukebox

You can store all your music, categorized and organized, in one place. This includes audio CDs, downloaded music, and anything else you can think of. Plus, you can get killer jukebox frontends to easily navigate and play music.

Digital ...

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