a PC in the living room

28 09 2007

People just don’t understand the utility of having a computer hooked to the tv in the living room until they actually do it. My wife was humoring me when she went along with my idea of buying a monitor to put in the front room with one of my computers attached. Now she would fight me if I wanted to remove the computer.

We use the computer for the usual computer stuff like email, web browsing, gaming etc but we also use it as are primary video recorder. The computer has 2 HD tuners installed. The tuners are attached to a small in door antenna and do a great job of receiving free, over the air, broadcasts. I get about 20 channels and use Windows Media Center to schedule and record my shows.

The computer in the front room is now our only computer other than my wife’s laptop. We are redecorating and took down the other computers we had setup. We don’t miss them, we hadn’t used them for some time. The computer in the front room is the only “desktop” we tend to use.

Back in August I ordered an actual HTPC case for our front room pc, it looks great. I’ll do a write up with pictures soon.

Two weeks ago I hooked one of my spare computers up to my sister’s television. She’s using it just for the computer functionality, the system does not have any tuners in it. So far she’s used email, web browsing and used it to watch videos and shows online. My sister is a new convert to the HTPC crowd. When I do put an HD tuner it it I’m sure she’ll love it that much more.

My sister’s TV is a 32″ 1080i minor brand tv. The computer looks great on this. It’s not as nice and sharp as my 47″ 1080p Westinghouse but it’s nice and does a great job. Seeing this reaffirmed my belief that 1080p is not always necessary in a TV/monitor. If cost is important then 1080i looks great. The advantage of 1080p is the higher resolution and, to be honest, lower resolution is actually easier to read. The little tiny fonts on a high resolution screen are hard to read from the easy chair.

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