Integrate your PC into your Entertainment Center
Personal computers have reached a point where it is now very affordable and simple to integrate them into your entertainment system. The personal computer is no longer relegated to the corner desk where it collects dust when it is not being used checking email, or simply browsing the Internet.
PCs are now powerful enough to create a very extensive entertainment center with endless possibilities. Most PCs sold today have built in DVD players which gives the user the ability to watch feature length motion pictures. With the speed of PCs today movies can be watched without any jittering.
However, more than that PCs offer many other benefits besides just watching movies. Gaming is a big deal and personal computers have certainly been at the forefront of the technology. Throughout the computer revolution, gaming has been a large part of the industry. Gaming consoles such as XBOX, PlayStation, and Nintendo are proprietary in nature and games must be purchased for that particular game console. However, with PC versions you can run several games on one system and there is none to little compatibility issues.
There are a few issues that you must be made aware of in order to have a pleasant entertainment experience. PCs are relatively inexpensive and come equipped with a lot of processing power. However, some manufacturers will hold back a little of that power and offer it as an upgrade at the time of purchase for a modest fee, of course. Nevertheless, if you are offered upgrades for memory, hard drive, or processor speed, I would suggest that you do take advantage of them.
For a workable entertainment system I recommended that you purchase a computer which has at least one gigabyte of memory. Another issue to be aware of is that the many computer manufacturers use a graphics card which is built into the motherboard. In general, these are pretty worthless and will actually use a portion of your system memory. This will decrease the amount of physical memory available to your system, and result in poor system performance.
The sound card is another piece of hardware which is usually built into the hard drive and while it may not have a large impact on system resources it is usually not a quality piece of hardware and can affect system performance in some applications, especially in computer gaming.
The best tip for making your entertainment system the best it can be is to purchase a video card and sound card separately. These cards are relatively inexpensive and the jump in performance makes it a very worthwhile purchase. Video cards are very powerful and they have their own onboard resources. This allows your CPU (Central Processing Unit) the ability to process applications and leaves the graphics rendering to the video card itself. In a recent online poll I conducted, NVIDIA was overwhelmingly, the graphics card manufacturer of choice.
One important feature to look for on a graphics card is a “Video Out” option. This option allows you to connect your computer to a device such as a standard television, or other external video device. There is much talk about HDTV these days, and personally I do not really care all that much about it. My preference is the size of the screen and I find that projectors are the way to go.
With a Video Out port you have the ability to connect your PC to a video projector which in essence can give you a screen with an area the size of a wall in your home. This gives you the impression of being in a movie theater and it becomes a very immersive experience. Imagine if your computer screen was as big as 72 inches or more, and you were able to watch movies and television on it.
Myself, I really like computer gaming and there is nothing better than playing your favorite MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Game) on a screen as big as your wall. Of course, it takes a little getting used to, but it is worth it. Another nice feature is that sound systems available for PCs have come a long way and surround sound is normal for a good gaming rig.
Worried about missing your favorite shows on television? No sweat, many of the cable networks allow Internet users the ability to watch their favorite shows online. It is completely free to watch online television and some of the networks even archive shows so that you can view episodes that you might have missed. Guess what? You just saved money by losing that monthly cable bill, how does that feel?
Many households have a computer, and it is a good idea to put that resource to use so that it benefits you in every possible aspect. By making the computer the center of your entertainment system you can have all of your entertainment needs satisfied in one inexpensive and relatively compact piece of equipment. In essence the computer can now be your television, home theater, stereo system, video game console, telephone, and much more.
Tags: Computer , Home , Entertainment , Center , HP
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