How to Keep Your HTPC in Your Home Office

You can use a Media Center extender to keep your Windows Media Center HTPC in your home office rather than next to your home theater. A media extender is a specialized media adapter that replicates the Media Center interface on your TV without requiring the PC to be locally connected to your home theater.

You can get a Media Center extender in your home theater in two ways:

  • Get an Xbox 360: Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console includes Media Center extender functionality built right in. You don’t need to add hardware or software — just connect the Xbox 360 to your home network and you can access any content (including recorded TV) on your Media Center-equipped PC(s).

  • Buy a standalone Media Center Extender: Major manufacturers such as Linksys, HP, and D-Link sell these devices. Media Center Extenders include networking capabilities (Ethernet or Wi-Fi), video connections (including HDMI, in most cases), and audio connections (including digital audio outputs).

HP sells a line of high-definition LCD TVs (HP MediaSmart LCD HDTVs) with the Media Center extender built into the television. Nothing to add — just make a network connection to your PC and you’re all set. You can find out a lot more about Media Center extenders (including a list of current products) at Extender for Windows Media Center Experience.

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