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I'm just trying to figure out what's so special about a multimedia PC. I have an older computer, few years, that's not too too slow and I wanted to use it. To me the multimedia PC just looks like a computer that has all your movies and music on it piped out to a TV. I thought I'd buy a video card for XP pro that has hdmi output and I'd be done. Is that all there is a multimedia pc? thanks.

EDIT: I read something that said a mpc was just a regular computer.

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2 Answers 2

Generally, a multimedia PC (nowadays) includes the ability to output video in HD (1920x1080) and will also have decent connectivity to home theater components (HDMI, S/PDIF, perhaps Dolby Surround capabilities).

You can easily mod an older PC to be a multimedia machine by adding these capabilities.

One other consideration is what's called the "10 foot interface" which is a UI designed to be used from your couch (viewing a TV "10 feet" away) rather than sitting a couple a feet away at your desk. Fonts are bigger, and these UIs usually don;t rely on keyboard input - easy to control with a remote. Windows Media Center handles this... but there are many other solutions as well (XBMC, JRiver, MediaPortal etc etc).

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A Home Theater PC (HTPC) or media PC is a convergence device that combines the functions of a personal computer and a media center software application which feature video and music playback, and usually but not always it also has digital video recorder functionality. It normally has a 10-foot user interface and is typically connected to a television or other large-screen computer display, and is often used as a digital photo, music, video player, TV receiver and digital video recorder, and normally controlled with a remote control.

The general goal of an HTPC is usually to combine many or all components of a home theater set-up into a single machine that will be located where the home entertainment system is desired. An HTPC system is typically controlled with a remote control for controlling the main interface, and the GUI normally has a 10-foot user interface design so that it can be comfortably viewed and navigated/controlled from such a distance. An HTPC can either be purchased pre-configured with the required hardware and software needed to add television programming to the PC, or can be cobbled together out of discrete components as is commonly done with Windows Media Center, MediaPortal, MythTV, SageTV, LinuxMCE, or XBMC Media Center based HTPC media center setups.

Source

HTPCs usually shine with very low noise emission.

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