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Mediacentre / Mediaextenders Buying Guide

If you follow the current trend, you may end up with so many audio and video files that you may not know what to do with them all. These audio and video files can be played on a home media system and the best way to manage them is to do so from a new media centre. When putting together a media centre, there are some factors that will help you have an amazing experience with your favourite videos and sound quality.

What You Need to put Your Media Centre Together

You probably have many video and audio files and it would be great to have them all in one place and manage them from this single source. The first thing to do is to determine what device you'll be using for your media centre. It is possible to use an HD TV as well as a Personal Computer as a media center. This computer should contain all the files you'll be using for entertainment.

Personal Computers as Media Centre

A PC media centre could be the device that houses all your video and audio files and that can be plugged into a TV for the best sound and video quality possible. The amount and size of files that the PC will be storing may require large storage space. Apart from the large storage required, the PC should be fast enough to stream videos between connected devices. You can now buy PCs with up to a 1TB drive. It is possible to have up to three hard drives in a RAID system, such that the others act as back up if one fails. Such systems will provide greater security, but they can sometimes be difficult to install and manage.

To ensure hitch-free performances, a dual-core processor can be used. Note however that these processors produce heat and the lower the heat that is produced the less noise that will come from the PC. Some processors are more efficient and will produce lower heat.

It is important not to get carried away with all the talk on videos and forget about the audio part of it. Those who love home cinema would agree that even the best films would lose their appeal if the sound system was not good enough. Thus having the right system that your home cinema can connect to is key. With the right motherboard, you may have one or all of the right options to create great audio. However, if this function is not in-built in the onboard, a sound card can be used to improve the sound. If you intend to record TV programs using your media centre, you may be in need of a TV tuner. Although computers will come with their own media management software, there is no harm in trying out other software currently on the market.

Home Theatre System

A home theatre system that comes complete with high-quality sound speakers connected to a DVD is probably the easiest way to create a media centre. This system can be connected to the TV through HDMI ports or other ports to give you the best quality audio and video.

Game Consoles

Most of the video game consoles that are produced today all have in-built software and functionality to act as media centres. Apart from playing games, they can store audio and video files and play them too!

Media Connectors

There are many different standards for audio and video files that it becomes necessary to know the type of media connectors that work with them. To make the most use of your media centre, the right kind of connectors should be used. Different types of connectors that can be used range from firewire cables, RAID to USB cables. If you have connectors of different types, you could use an adapter to connect them together. The type of connector will depend on the device on which it is to be used. These audio and video connectors carry signals from one device to another. There are audio-only connectors such as the PC design guide and video-only connectors such as S-Video and DVI. Connectors that carry both audio and video files include HDMI cables and display ports. Some connectors are specific to named brands like Sony's digital media port that carries both audio and video files. Firewire connectors are multiple signal connectors used with camcorders and high-end audio equipment. HDMI is used to transfer uncompressed audio and video data from a device with HDMI to compatible devices like computers and TV's.

Depending on the equipment to be connected and the type of file to be transferred, it's possible to identify the right connection cable to use. Note that wrong use of connector cables may cause the whole system to malfunction!

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