Imagine the convenience of managing your media resources such as videos, photos, music and television right in your computer. You don’t have to turn on your television to watch your favorite show or music player to listen to your favorite tunes. This is all possible with the use of HTPC software.
HTPC (Home Theatre PC) software converts your computer into a multimedia center. Here are our top 10 picks:
10. Hulu Desktop
Hulu Desktop is a software application that allows users to watch television shows, videos and movies on a desktop computer without opening a Web browser. One of its main features is its simple and user-friendly interface. It also works for both Windows and Apple’s remote controls. This HTPC software has functionalities for queuing shows for later viewing and recommends shows based on your preferences. It also allows for full or partial screen viewing. This free application is for the US only.
If you like to watch and record your favorite television program in your computer, SageTV is another option. It has an integrated program guide for easy recording of television shows. With this guide, you could search for your favorite shows or let your computer record all shows belonging to your favorite subject, such as cooking. Using this HTPC application, you can also watch YouTube videos in your television. This premium application has a 15-day free trial.
MythTV is an open source HTPC software application designed as a personal video recorder (PVR) for Linux. It allows you to record television shows for later viewing. This application can give you the flexibility to skip, pause or rewind television shows. It also has an automatic commercial skipping capability and allows for scheduled recording. For families with children, its parental control feature also proves to be useful.
7. Media Portal
Also one of the best HTPC software that you could freely use is Media Portal. This open source application has comprehensive features for managing your music, television shows and videos in one place. It also lets you use your computer as a PVR capable of scheduled video recording. Its other basic features include weather forecasting, multiple tuner, picture viewer and RSS Feed reader.
Enna is another open source media center designed for Linux. This HTPC software is lightweight with simple features and an easy-to-use interface. It lets you watch movies and television shows as well as listen to your music playlist on your computer; enables you to read your favorite book from the Internet; and displays a four-day weather forecast for your location.
As a centralized media application, Moovida is a tool that you could use for managing your music, podcasts, movies, and radio in one interface. It allows you to easily create a playlist with its drag-and-drop interface. It also has many useful playlist functions. Additionally, its full-screen mode is very clear and easy to navigate.
Plex is a media center that works for Mac, Linux and Windows. This application integrates with Plex Media Server which makes it possible to sync your music, videos and other media files in several portable devices and computers. It also enables you to manage your home theatre in your computer. Plex has a simple interface that is easy to use.
The JRiver Media Center is an HTPC software application that is designed more like iTunes or Windows Media Player. But it has a 10-foot user interface that is optimized for Theater View, making it work with HDTV. One advantage of this application is that it supports many types of codecs, even the most advanced ones. Also, it integrates with YouTube, Netflix and Hulu, allowing you to view online content as well. This software is ideal even for audiophiles and people who like playing audios in lossless formats.
Originally designed as a game console, XBMC Media Center has evolved into a powerful media center for Linux, Mac and Windows. This application software is capable of playing almost all media file types. It is a robust application that is designed for advanced users. It has a clear user interface where you could easily manage your media resources. This software is free to download.
Using the Windows Media Center in your home theatre computer enables you to play videos, movies, music and anything that you can stream on the Internet all in one place. It has a simple menu that is easy to navigate and it can play almost all types of media formats. This application software is perhaps one of the most popular among HTPC software.
With the use of HTPC software applications listed above, you could now convert your computer into an entertainment hub. Please share with us your review on any of the applications we just mentioned.