Home entertainment is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is not really surprising with all the new technology that continually floods the market to entice the consumer to buy more gadgets. A few years ago during coffee break or around the water cooler many people discussed their new stereo systems with 5.1 surround sound. (5.1 represents 5=number of speakers .1=subwoofer).So when watching the movie Top Gun in 5.1 you could really sense that jet flying overhead. Now the “in item” seems to be large screen LCD, plasma, or DLP televisions to make your home entertainment experience more like going to the cinema.Multimedia

If however you have not yet splurged on the above items you may want to consider how computers are now intertwining with home entertainment. “Multimedia” computers are now on the market from various vendors; although many people are not convinced the computer will eventually be the hub of it all. I definitely disagree!


When Microsoft released their Operating System (core program that make the computer function) Microsoft Media Center, it was designed for the primary purpose of PC integration with home entertainment systems.


A few years ago multimedia computer components were quite costly. Nowadays they are becoming commonplace components when a PC is built. A well built multimedia computer can have the capability of receiving television broadcast, sending the signal to your television with 7.1 digital sounds. (Although I do not recommend connecting a PC to a plasma screen). The audio can be sent via optical cable for virtually no sound degradation and the video via DVI (digital visual interface) or HDMI (high definition multimedia interface). And no additional amplifier is required other than a powered speaker/subwoofer (not passive).


Additional benefits of using a computer as your multimedia hub is you can download programming content (like a digital TV guide, at no cost) search for your favorite shows, watch or even record them to your PC. If TV is not all it’s cracked up to be that evening, throw in a DVD and watch it! Or listen to many radio stations commercial free. Other choices would be to watch your family “slide” show of your digital pictures, surf the web, and play internet games. I could go on and on…

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