- Media Streamer
- Home Theater PC
- When I originally acquired my first home theater PC, Scooter, I knew that it'd be useful
to have a computer permanently attached to my TV, but at the time I wasn't 100% sure what I'd use
it for most. So,I went with a small form factor, traditional, Windows PC, in order to maximize
flexibility. There were certainly pluses to this approach -- anything I could do on a PC, I could
do on my TV -- but, there were also plenty of minuses. Namely, navigation had to
be done with a pointer-based interface, manipulating icons and windows. Not very couch-friendly.
Also, it was slightly underpowered, with no hardware video decoding, so many high-definition
sources didn't play smoothly (most notably, Netflix).
- As I used Scooter, I gained a better understanding on what I used a home theater PC for: Netflix,
Pandora, some purchased iTunes content, and a small amount of website streaming (mostly from network TV
websites). With this in mind, I spent a great deal of time researching dedicated media streaming devices,
trying to find one that would excel in each of these areas.
- The Apple TV was, by far, the best match. Netflix and iTunes playback are built right in. And the
support for AirPlay offers the flexibility to cover the other use cases (Pandora and website streaming)
and other possible gaps. No other device offered the level of flexibility that AirPlay does. And with
dedicated hardware for video decoding, all sources support high-definition video. So the Apple TV
didn't force me to abandon any of my use cases, offered a much more couch-friendly user interface, and
was an upgrade in many ways as well.
- Beauregard consequently became my primary HTPC for my primary TV, and Scooter shifted to being
the HTPC for my basement TV.
- This was originally obtained October 29, 2013.
- Beauregard was retired on November 12, 2016, when he was replaced with Persephone and passed onto my parents.