The world of home entertainment has exploded over recent years and, with the advances in technology in both internet speed and networking capabilities, it has resulted in the popularity of the home theatre. Purchasing a home theatre setup outright can be an expensive venture, yet there are ways of utilising such hi-tech innovations and working with what, in many cases, you already have. Your desktop or laptop PC can become a part of your home theater, reducing the cost overall and allowing you to enjoy your budget big screen experience. Here’s how.
One Screen – Dual Purpose
The simplest way to begin to integrate your PC with your home theater is by finding an easy way to connect your TV to your PC or Laptop.Review the back of your TV to check for a VGA or PC monitor connection. If you don’t have one, purchase a VGA-to-HDMI converter or USB-to-HDMI, either of which is an inexpensive way of allowing your PC to be connected to an HDTV. If your PC already has an HDMI output, it eliminates the possible need for an additional adapter. Directly connect the HDMI output of your PC to an the input on the TV. These type of connections channel both video and audio signals, so once you have the output connected directly to your TV, your PC screen should be displayed on your TV and the audio should also be connected without the requirement of further fiddling or integration. You now have a vast screen area – perfect for web browsing, document and photo viewing, photo, video creation and editing
Build Your Network
In addition to your PC, you may choose to connect a Smart TV, media streamer, even most Blu-ray Disc players to your internet router, either through ethernet cables or utilising the WiFi facilities in your home, creating a primary home network. Then, depending on the capabilities of each connected device, you may be able to expand further access to and streaming of, audio, video, and still image content stored on your PC to your TV either directly or routed through a compatible your Blu-ray Disc player or media streamer.
Utilize your PC as the control hub for your newly configured home theater system. Using Internet Protocol and providing your key components all have RS232, Ethernet ports, and, in some cases Wifi, they can all be linked together for your PC to control all of the settings needed to perform the tasks to access, manage, and play your video and audio content. Also, linking relevant applications where possible you could even go as far as to control the room lighting and heating or air conditioning. If connecting a video projection systems, you could potentially lower and raise the motorized screens.
TVs themselves are becoming more sophisticated, and some are blending the borders between TV and PC functionality with their own built-in web browsing, streaming, home automation control and security systems. If you combine that with the smartphone and tablets, which can also stream content directly or through a network, and it becomes evident that there is no Home theatre-only, PC-only, or mobile world anymore – they are indivisible.
Whilst kicking back and watching your favorite TV show or movie or chilling out to your jam, the only thing modern technology can’t do for you is grab a cold drink from the fridge. Who knows, that technology may well be on its way.