Talk about a digital hub: Media Center is digital-hubbier than any other computer you can buy. This Vista program is the master storage and viewing center for all of your pictures, home movies, music, and TV shows (recorded or downloaded). Better still, it turns your PC into a full-blown digital video recorder, like a TiVo. It lets you watch TV, pause it, rewind and then fast-forward it, record it, and even burn the result to a DVD.
In fact, if you exploit Media Center to its extreme potential, you could ultimately sell every piece of entertainment hardware you own, including DVD players, televisions, and stereos, as well as your membership to the neighborhood movie rental store. With the right version of Vista, always-on Internet, and a well-endowed media center PC, you can simplify and organize your life, and unclutter your home at the same time—all with a single piece of equipment.
The good news is that you no longer need a special “Media Center Edition PC” to get all of this multimedia power; any PC can do this stuff, as long as it’s running the Home Premium or Ultimate versions of Vista (see Figure 16-1). (The other editions don’t include Media Center. Sorry, cubicle dwellers.)