As part of an inevitable upgrade of our A/V equipment, I am looking to add a "media" PC as a separate component to my A/V system.
I am not looking to completely replace all my other A/V equipment (i.e., my DVR). I just want to be able to run my choice of PC-based media software and have the PC's audio and video feed into the A/V receiver, which in turn will feed the large screen TV and audio system.
My limited research on media center PCs indicates that most are aimed at doing EVERYTHING, including, in some cases, providing the display.
IMHO, there are some things for which a computer is simply not well-suited. For example, my UVerse service comes with a DVR that simply works. Replacing it with a PC-based solution is a royal pain, not to mention expensive.
I see a similar problem with TVs. They tout being integrated with the web, providing an interface to YouTube, Hulu, photo sharing, etc. But a TV-based browser and media client will never be as good and/or up to date as those available on a PC.
Why not just let the DVR do what it does best (record shows, provide an integrated interface into the service, etc.), let the computer do what it does best (provide up-to-date and capable browser and media client software), and let the TV and stereo systems do what they do best (display images and play awesome audio).
This greatly simplifies the design of the media PC. There is no need for a tuner, DVR or other specialized software. In addition to a good A/V receiver, I think I can get away with a PC equipped with the following components.
* A decent graphics and sound card with connections that are compatible with the A/V receiver.
* A case, power supply, motherboard, video/sound cards with a quiet cooling system.
* A wireless keyboard and pointing device that doesn't take up half my coffee table.
I would appreciate any comments, advice, opinions, etc. on this list and media PCs in general. I'm still in the research stage but hope to upgrade in the next 12 months.