NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, March 2005
The Digital Home
by Sherry Zorzi

Will 2005 be the year your home entertainment goes digital? For many families, it will be. Welcome to the Digital Home!

In the digital home, you can listen to your PCís digital music on your stereo or home theater system, on your portable music player, or on your wireless notebook computer. In the digital home, you can view the photos stored on your PC on your TV or home theater, on your wireless PDA or wireless notebook computer, or on a digital picture frame.

In the digital home, you can access your broadband Internet connection from any PC in your home, or on your TV or home theater. In the digital home, you can access the videos or home movies from your PC or its DVD drive and watch them on your TV or home theater, or on your wireless PDA or notebook. In the digital home, you can view a video feed from a home webcam on your PC, a wireless PDA or notebook, or any Internet connection.

In the digital home, you can record live TV on your PC. You can program the PC to record every episode of a particular show or every show that features your favorite actor. You can pause and playback live TV. In the digital home, you can play multiplayer online games wirelessly on your gaming console, PC, and notebook computer.

Does this sound like a futuristic dream? Well, the future is now, and itís surprisingly affordable! Hereís what youíll need to make your home a Digital Home.

Start with a PC with an Intel P4 processor with HTT (hyper-threading technology.) This will give you the power needed to drive all that multimedia. The hyper-threading technology allows for parallel processing, making it speedy as well as robust. Use Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 as your PC operating system. This gives you a simple, built-in interface for all your digital media experience and can be controlled by wireless remote.

Make that PC the hub of your home network. Itís powerful enough to handle the digital entertainment, the network, and still be used for running regular computer programs Ė email, Internet browsers, word-processors, and the like. You can have other PCs and notebooks connected to it with a wireless network router, or you can use a wired connection to other PCs. Youíll need a broadband Internet connection for accessing online TV guides, digital music and video download sites, and online radio. Add a TV tuner card for connecting to your TV or home theater system.

Youíll want a DVD burner if youíd like to burn recorded TV to DVD so you can take it with you for viewing on a notebook computer. A Digital Media Adaptor will allow you to stream your music, photos and video to any room in your house. You can use your current TV and stereo system so long as they are not antique!

To top it all off, throw in a portable MP3 player and PDA so that you can take all that media with you as you travel.

The beauty of the Digital Home is the seamless connection of the personal computer, Internet, TV, stereo (or home theater system), laptops and portable music and PDA devices. You can access any media over any device in any room at any time. Now thatís entertainment!

There is no restriction against any non-profit group using this article as long as it is kept in context with proper credit given the author. The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which this group is a member, brings this article to you.

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