Nowadays, it is more and more common that you have multiple devices and screens where you and your family members watch TV and movies and listen to movies.
When planning your media system, it is good to think about it in a modular way so that you can add more features and devices later on.
You can have everything in one all-in-one HTPC, or you use multiple devices connected seamlessly together.
Here is a workflow that illustrates what I mean by media modding:
In this workflow, I have set up software to record live TV from a TV tuner.
Then, I use a separate software to remove commercials, and media server software to categorize and transcode the recorded TV.
Finally, I use front-end devices and mobile devices to display TV shows.
I prefer to use a quiet front-end device in my living room to stream media and games from back-end server to front-end.
The benefit of using a light-weight front-end is that you will get an appliance look and feel that is very user-friendly.
It will also be completely quiet as you can use very power efficient process that can be passive cooled.
I would recommend starting with a media server or Network Attached Storage (NAS) that will be the back-end of your HTPC ecosystem.
Media server does all the heavy lifting such as recording TV, organizing, transcoding and streaming video files to other devices.
If you add a gaming graphics card to your media server, you can even stream Steam games to other devices.
Network attached storage
Network Attached Storage (NAS) is storage that can be accessed over a home network as opposed to single computer access.
In other words, a NAS server allows you to share media between several PCs and other devices.
An additional benefit is that NAS servers include multiple HDDs that allow you to back-up and mirror media files.
Network attached TV tuners
HDHomeRun network attached TV tuner is a great way to add modularity to your HTPC ecosystem.
You can access to the HDHomeRun from any device and as there are multiple TV tuners, you can record and watch TV from multiple devices at the same time.
It is common to watch your media files via portable device such as iPad or mobile phone.
You should also ensure that you can access your HTPC or media server outside your home network as well so that you can view your files on the go.
This means that you need to configure your router’s firewall settings so that you can access your media server’s IP address outside our home network.
This all may still sound overwhelming at this stage, but don’t worry.
The purpose of this course is to get you familiar with the basics before we dive deeper to step-by-step tutorials.