If you have been interested in upgrading your home entertainment set-up to the home theater lifestyle, you have most likely stumbled upon several roadblocks. And among the Frequently Asked Questions include “what is User Interface?” and “home theater PCs often make use of what type of User Interface?” which we will cover in a while.
Meanwhile, as you may know, a home theater PC is not as accessible as regular PCs because it requires more than just understanding the basics about computers. And unfortunately, most people have neither access nor time to look into the information needed to set up something that can be considered elaborate, such as a home entertainment system. Of course, not to mention the cost that comes with it.
Indeed, a home theater PC can be considered an investment in a way that one will not only need to have the funds to purchase it but the patience and time to learn how to operate and set it up.
Moreover, the depth of specialized knowledge necessary can seem intimidating and overwhelming. But if you are adamant about converting and upgrading your home entertainment system, then let us help you ease your way into it.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of User Interfaces, rigs, and the like, you most likely want to know what exactly is this home theater PC set up all about.
A home theater PC is an excellent system for anyone looking for a one-stop-shop entertainment system. To put it simply, a home theater PC or HTPC is a device that combines some of the functionalities of a personal computer with software that supports video, audio, and photo formats. One would typically build or buy these units, or rigs as what they are called, and they would be made or designed to be able to connect to your TV.
With the use of a home theater PC, you can do the following: watch videos in all formats, watch live TV shows, play video games, listen to music, record and playback videos, and view photos, among others. As you may have noticed, it is possible to watch TV—cable, satellite, etc.—on a home theater PC. This means you do not have to worry about missing your favorite reality TV or baking shows! Isn’t that great?
If you are using cable TV, then you will have more TV shows available to you compared to someone using satellite TV. However, the difference in the number of shows you can watch can be evened out with the use of TV Tuner Cards. Both cable TV and satellite TV can be routed through a home theater PC with the use of the said cards. Additionally, the TV Tuner Cards are a more recent thing for satellite TV but have been around for much longer for cable TV.
On the dark side of things, some issues that have been observed with satellite TV tuner cards such as trouble receiving HD channels and the like, have not been seen as prevalently with users who are subscribed to cable TV.
On a lighter note, if you are only looking to commit to the barest of barebone rigs and given you have a fairly decent antenna, then you can enjoy the available and free local channels, which are categorized as over-the-air broadcasts.
Do not worry; we know where you are coming from. AppleTV has not been lying to you by representing itself as a media player instead of a home theater PC this entire time. But boy, we are glad you have asked!
Yes, while it is true that media players are an alternative, and by far a more common one, to home theater PCs, they do not have all the capabilities that a home theater PC has. Media players are widely available and several different brands—Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, AppleTV, etc.—have versions of their own. More often than not, you have seen them around. They vary in sizes, and some may even be in the form of gaming consoles, but in terms of functionality, they are quite a bit simpler than home theater PCs.
A Media Player tends to solely depend on the applications or services that were designed specifically for it, while a home theater PC allows you to access any streaming website, application, and service you so choose. The only advantage of the media player over the home theater PC is its lesser power consumption. But apparently, if you are looking for something with a wide range of options, then the home theater PC is for you.
Now, if there ever was a list of barriers to everyone owning a home theater PC, the confusion on how user interfaces and remotes work would be on it.
In layman’s terms, a User Interface is a way a user communicates with an electronic device. It makes the interaction between the user and the device possible.
Home Theater PCs Often Make Use of What Type of User Interface? Great question! Home theater PCs commonly make use of the 10-foot User Interface, which has extra large menu texts and buttons that are navigated easily. The reason being is to accommodate the fact that you are, most likely, viewing from ten feet or three meters. You know, your typical distance from the TV when you are watching your favorite shows since TVs nowadays are operated by handheld remote controllers.
For comparison’s sake, the user interface of tablets, desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones, typically has smaller menu texts and buttons since they are most probably less than two feet from the user’s eyes.
Hopefully, the answers to the questions we have covered in this article will give you a headstart in your Build-My-Own-Rig Project. If you have paid attention, your home theater PC will seem less like a pipe dream and more like an achievable goal.