Netbook as media center


I'm looking for a new netbook that will also double as a media center. I've copied and pasted the recommended questions as suggested below:

1. What is your budget?
- About £400

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
- Ideally a netbook with a full size keyboard

3. What screen resolution do you want?
- Irrelevant

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
- No

5. How much battery life do you need?
- Irrelevant

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
- Low

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
- It's mainly for web surfing, light office work and playing media. The power to do image editing would be useful but not necessary

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
- A decent chunk, because it'll be used as a media centre. Say 160GB or more?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
- Open to suggestions

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
- As long as possible

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
- Ideally I'd a like Blu-Ray player but it's not vital. Otherwise a good quality DVD ROM will suffice, so long as it can cope with a variety of DVD-ROM types.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
- Open to suggestions

13. What country do you live in?
- UK

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
- I don't currently have a high definition TV, so it'll need a standard (i.e. not HDMI) TV output as well as audio output to link to my stereo etc.
4 answers Last reply
More about netbook media center
  1. The main issue you will have using a netbook as your media center PC will be with the GPU (video adapter) used by most netbooks. Most netbooks simply don't have the video horsepower to be good media center PCs. I suggest you look at models with either the Nvidia ION chipset or one of the AMD offerings (such as this Lenovo netbook):

    I would stay away from any Intel based integrated graphics solution. They provide anemic graphics performance. Great for battery life and driving the small screen, but not good fro external displays.

    I would imagine that Misco has a good selection of netbooks. Good luck!
  2. Netbooks are cheap but they are not very powerful at all. You will see stuttering at anything higher than 720p unless you get a dedicated video option that can offload the decoding to the GPU. My thought would be buying a used but good midrange laptop for about the same price that has HDMI and maybe Express Card slot for expansion. Not as small or power savings wise but still very good option.
  3. OK, thanks for the information.

    It'd be useful to know about the video playback capabilities of some of these chips. Does anyone have some hard information about whether the Ion chipset or its equivalents will handle 720p and higher?
  4. Tom's has several reviews of netbooks and ION chipsets vs. Intel offerings. Not sure you will find the same data on the AMD offerings.
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