Tip Of The Day: 10 Reasons Your HTPC Should Be Your Blu-ray Player
This article is obviously inspired by CEPro’s recent article "10 Reasons the PS3 Should Be Your Blu-Ray Player". Credit goes to the fine editors at CEPro for the article. I did want to take the chance to list why an HTPC is the best way to go for a Blu-ray player. I will go through item by item explaining why I feel the HTPC is a better player 🙂 I had to modify the list a bit 🙂
It’s Future Proof
For all the firmware updates the PS3 has, there are at least 4 or 5 companies developing software for Blu-ray playback on computers. An HTPC has a natural advantage in that any software developed for personal computing can be modified for a 10′ UI (think Arcsoft’s Total Media Theater).
We just posted a press release a few days ago that Total Media Theater has been approved for Profile 2.0 . I am sure it won’t be long before the rest follow suit. It can be profile 10.8 for all that it matters, as the PC platform is no doubt the easiest to program for. If nothing else, the sheer amount of enthusiasts with programming experience makes future development look bright.
Currently I can play most major titles (including World Of Warcraft) and have a lot of other options including web based games and even launching emulators from a 10′ UI. I am not convinced that an HTPC would match some of the serious console play, but there are a lot of options available to you.
The Market Is Right
I’ll look at this from a slightly different perspective. The market is indeed right, there are countless folks who have built PC after PC exclusively for gaming. What to do with that system after you have upgraded to the latest and greatest? Why not build an HTPC! A case and video upgrade is sometimes all that is needed.
The Price is Right
I suppose that depends where you are on your build. If you have already completed an HTPC, the cost to add Blu-ray is only a couple of hundred dollars for software and a Blu-ray player. If you are building an HTPC exclusively for Blu-ray playback, you are looking at twice the cost of a PS3 or standalone Blu-ray player.
Networking Functionality\DVD Library
The HTPC makes a great platform for a DVD/Blu-ray hard drive based library that can be accessed by multiple computers throughout the house. Of course, it can connect to any computer in your network to play any media file you can throw at it.
We all know an HTPC can do a lot. I won’t go into detail here. Instead go check out this Top Ten List . Though the PS3 is scheduled to have PVR duties sometime this summer, in Europe only.
High Definition Audio
I’ll be the first to admit that stand-alone players and the PS3 have it a little easier when it comes to audio CODECs. Though the situation is changing as software developers play catch up in the HTPC arena. You can expect 8 channel LPCM via HDMI on the forthcoming NVIDIA GeForce 8200 and Intel G45 motherboards.
Sony’s Gaming Business Is On The Rise
I really have no response to this one :).
It’s Rack Mountable
There are plenty of rack mountable cases.
TV, Movie Downloads
There are numerous web based methods to get the content you are looking for. Services such as Amazon’s Unbox fill this gap nicely. Of course, there is also Netflix Watch Now to fill your void.
Other Things To Consider
- Developing software for a closed hardware is significantly easier. HTPCs have a multitude of configurations that can make for a stutttt-tttering experience
- The scope of what an HTPC can do can be a bit overwhelming. Bite-sized chunks are the way to go. Plan on your PVR duties first, then maybe our media library, then a DVD library etc.. etc..etc…
- I realize CEPro’s article was written from a custom installer perspective. Hopefully I changed the flavor of the article enough to give you an idea when you consider your future Blu-ray options.