Media centers are great because they allow you to watch your regular TV channels, to keep playing your regular CD/DVD media, sometimes even BluRay, to play audio, picture, and video files on your TV (like AVI, JPEG, and MP3), and to stream files to your TV from another computer. Other advantages of media centers are that they allow you to stream audio and video from such Internet services as Pandora and YouTube and they allow you to get information like reviews and subtitles from the Web. When choosing the best media center for your TV, ensure that it does all or most of this.
When choosing the best media center for your TV, ensure that that the media center program you go for is TV ready. Consider the case and go for a media center that does not look out-of-place in your living room. Some of the best options are sleek brushed aluminum units and black. Consider the internal capacity of the hard disk. Today's media centers come with as much as 1 terra byte of HDD space. It should come with decent visual output, a Blu-ray drive, and a TV card slot.
Consider the storage type. Other than a hard disk, the media center should also feature additional storage options. Most of the best media centers also come with SmartMedia, xD-Picture Card, SD Card, CompactFlash, and Memory Stick for storage. An important tip when choosing the best media center for your TV is to stick to brand boxes. With top brands, you will be sure you are getting quality and you will be sure of customer support.
One of the best options is AppleTV. The media center is a complete media center solution. Its greatest benefit is its integration with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and iTunes for Windows. It integrates seamlessly with other Apple Inc. products like iPod. It is easy to use and elegantly designed and it streams music wirelessly to speakers connected to AirTunes. Windows Media Center by Microsoft Corp. is a media player and digital video recorder. With the media center, you can organize and play videos and music as well as view and record live TV. If you have the latest Windows 8 Pro, you can have it as an add-on. HP Media Center TV m7690y comes with a 19-inch LCD screen and a TV tuner. It includes a DVD drive that writes labels to discs. It has an impressive capacity of 160.0 GB.
XMBC was designed as the media center for the first Xbox. It has since evolved and it is now more than that. Its greatest benefit is its customizable abilities which make it easy for you to quickly access music, TV shows, and movies. Another good option is Boxee. It allows you to browse an entire App store as well as movies and TV shows. The media center allows you to customize everything. You could go for Hulu Desktop. The media center allows you to add videos on Hulu.com, making it useful for people in the U.S. only. Kylo is essentially a Web browser specifically built for TV. The media center allows you to link to the top video sites. This is, however, not a good option if you are looking for Hulu since it is blocked.
Another of the top media centers is Moovida. It is characterized by a slick user interface where you can brows your videos. This is only a good option if you want to organize your desktop video collection since it lacks in online content. If you are running Linux OS, your solution is Enna. It features couchbound book reading support, a photo browser, and capabilities not seen anywhere else.
Read independent reviews in tech magazines and review websites for tips when choosing the best media center for your TV. You could also get tips through recommendations, customer testimonials, and blogs, discussion forums, and other online communities.