From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A media center is a computer adapted for playing music, watching movies and pictures stored on a local harddrive or on a (in some cases wireless) network, watching DVD movies and often for watching and recording television broadcasts. Some software is capable of doing other tasks, such as finding news (RSS) from the internet. Media centers are often operated with a remote control, connected to a television set for video output, and can often function as a normal personal computer. A media center can be purpose-built, or created by individuals by adding media center software to a PC or some other computer, for example an Xbox.
Typical media centers offer the following advantages to the user:
- Ability to receive digital media files (via direct video signal, computer network or USB)
- Ability to store digital media (usually on a standard computer hard disk drive)
- Ability to playback digital media through standard television or hi-fi equipment
- Simplicity (compared to a computer equipped to accomplish transfer, storage and TV/hi-fi playback)
- Cost savings (compared to a computer equipped to accomplish transfer, storage and TV/hi-fi playback)
- Portability (compared to a computer equipped to accomplish transfer, storage and TV/hi-fi playback)
Though media centers are often built using similar components to personal computers, they are often smaller; media centers sometimes have hardware that is not usually seen in personal computers, such as receivers for remote controls, or television tuner cards. Media centers have not seen widespread popularity but are starting to take hold in the UK and the United States.
There are several common applications for which media centers are beginning to gain popularity. Simply put, any application requiring the playback of digital media based files, but not requiring the full features and flexibility of a personal computer stands to benefit from the reduced size, reduced complexity and reduced cost of media centers when compared to similarly equipped PC's.
Common applications include:
- Digital Sign Systems
- Automotive Entertainment Systems (i.e. limousines, tour buses, car stereos
- In flight/room entertainment and Video On Demand Systems
- Mobile sales professionals
- Portable collections for travelers and audio/video enthusiasts
- Home theater PC
- TVIX Box
- Online media center
- Front Row (Apple)
- GeeXboX (Linux)
- GBPVR (Windows)
- MythTV (Linux)
- Freevo (Linux)
- Elisa (Linux) (http://www.fluendo.com/elisa/index.php)
- My Media System (Linux)
- Windows XP Media Center Edition
- Xbox Media Center (not to be confused with Windows XP Media Center eXtender)
- Domotix (http://www.mydomotix.com)
Media Center-A school library where students can use computers and audio visual equipment in addition to print materials.