Media Center Computer
What Can You Do With a Media Center PC?
Media Center Computers are all-in-one machines intended to be a digital entertainment hub for everything from videos and movies, music and podcasts, to images and TV shows. Putting all your entertainment in one place is more than convenient, it is essential in today's digital entertainment landscape.
These computers have nearly unlimited potential for entertainment. The only limitation to having all your media in one place is the capacity of the integrated hard drive to store it all. These computers literally act as a television, music player, radio, disc burner and much more.
We have rated the best media center computers available on the market today. We have also created informative articles related to media center computers. At the end of our research the Apple iMac, Sony Vaio L and HP TouchSmart claimed the top three spots on our lineup.
The best media center computers allow you to perform all the following tasks.
- Play Music: These systems can play CDs, stream internet radio stations and play any music file on your hard drive. Many also come with audio and music editing and organizing software.
- Access the internet: Visit your favorite websites or download music and movies from the comfort of your sofa with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
- Burn DVDs and CDs: Most media centers have the ability to burn to dual layer discs, as well as standard DVDs and CDs. Some even have dual drives: one for reading; one for burning.
- Watch Video: Media center computers feature fast graphics cards and HDMI outputs so you can interface with your HD TV or display effortlessly. You can watch DVDs, access cable and satellite feeds, stream video from the web or watch movies stored on your hard drive. Serious setups include Blu-ray Disc drives to allow you to get the most from true 1080p HD video.
Media Center Computers: What to Look For
A good media center computer is suitable for everything your desktop PC does and more. They perform best with multi-core processors and 4GB or more of RAM. The best media center computers feature mammoth hard drives of at least 500GB.Below are the criteria we used to rank the media center computers in our lineup.
Award-winning media center computers all possess optical drives for playing CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. Furthermore, they all contain wide, beautiful screens with HD resolution. Many of the devices we reviewed even have touch screens, giving the computers the tablet feel that's starting to pop up on many devices.
High speeds and lots of memory are the name of the game in this category. All of the best media center computers we reviewed have these in droves. Look for a device that has, at the very least, 4GB of memory and a 500GB of storage.
Ease of Use
The best media center computers offer plug-and-play operation. That means they are ready to go out of the box and all you need to do is connect them to a power source. Ideally, you should not even need any additional cables to get going. Since all the products we reviewed have built in Wi-Fi, connecting to your network should only take a few seconds.
Help & Support
As with all things in life, not everything goes according to plan. If this happens with your new media center computer, the manufacturer should have friendly, informed customer service representatives ready to help you with your problem. Additionally, if you get a faulty unit (it happens), make sure the warranty provided by the manufacturer will replace the unit at no charge to you.
Media center computers should live up to their name, meaning they should be compatible with any type of digital media that you own. Every system in our lineup delivers on that promise, and the differentiating factors are mainly design, power and storage capacity.
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