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Since the price of many dedicated hardware Digital Media Extenders is only slightly lower than that of a cheap laptop, is there any reason you couldn't use a laptop as a Digital Media Extender?

I'm looking for specific reasons that might make this unworkable. For instance, would the small screen/low-power video card of the laptop prevent the movie from playing well on the TV?

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I know several people that do this. It isn't so much that it's a laptop or not. It's all about the specific components:

  • Does the video card have hardware acceleration for the video formats you want to play? If so, CPU probably isn't an issue.
  • If not using acceleration on the graphics card, is the CPU fast enough?

  • If you're recording on the laptop, is the hard drive fast enough? a 5400RPM laptop drive might not be able to record and do other things without dropping some frames.

  • If you're recording, what is the capture device? It probably has to be a USB or network encoder.

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Exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for. –  Klay Apr 16 '10 at 21:09

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