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Contemplating a Home Media Center

John Federico

After getting an HDTV for my birthday, I've been wondering how to handle all types of content - hi-def or otherwise. After much consternation, I think I've settled on a solution for a home media center:

  • HD Tuner/DVR from Comcast. I was debating whether or not to buy a TiVo with CableCard support, but I've decided to continue using this for now. You can't beat the price, regardless of the crappy software.
  • Upconverting DVD Player. Purchased one this weekend at BestBuy. At times, the difference can be either dramatic or "meh." It definitely improves the quality, though.
  • Apple TV. Yes, I was debating whether or not to get a Mac mini to use as a DVD player/media server. However, given that I've got nearly a terabyte of external firewire storage hanging off the old G4 upstairs, I've decided to store it there and encode my DVD's in a format that's optimized for the Apple TV.

    At the moment, that's only 720p. Hopefully that will improve over time, since this sucker's got 64 mb of dedicated VRAM. Of course, I have to hope that my 'G' wi-fi will provide enough bandwidth. If not, I've been investigating Powerline Networking gear.

Given that I've just made myriad gadget purchases, buying an Apple TV right now will have a very low WAF. I'll wait a couple of months to improve my score. ;)

[tags]HDTV, High Definition Television, Westinghouse LVM-37w3, Westinghouse, LCD, Gadgets, Televisions, Comcast, Upconverting DVD Player, Apple TV, Powerline Networking, Wi-Fi, WiFi, DVD, Media Center, 720p, PowerMac G4, Hardware, Storage, Firewire, iTunes, Movies[/tags]