Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Fortunately, there are some alternatives to all of this electronic junk that can accumulate in your living room (along with all of the remote controls on your coffee table). The best alternatives are devices that combine different functions. for example, its not unusual to be able to get a TV with a built in VCR or DVD player. It's also possible to get a VCR and DVD player in the same unit. Of course it might also be worth considering getting rid of the VCR altogether as it can largely be replaced by a DVD player and a digital video recorder. A DVD recorder would also be a nice alternative to a VCR.
Another common combination of equipment is the DVR and the satellite or cable TV receiver. These two devices are especially handy to combine because the on screen program guides that TV service providers integrate into the software of their receivers are also extremely helpful when it comes to programming a digital video recorder.
Media center computers take the concept of combining various functions into a single device even further. That's because media center computers contain multiple TV tuners so that- with the proper hardware and software- they can act as TV receivers. They also have the hardware and software necessary to function as digital video recorders, and they can serve as DVD players and recorders.
Many media center computers also have plenty of features that the broadcasters and movie studios don't want you to take advantage of. For example, one will automatically detect and tag the beginnings and ends of TV commercials while it's recording TV shows and movies so that it can automatically skip over them during playback. To make things even worse for movie studios, many of these devices allow you to burn video recorded on the device's hard drive directly onto a DVD so that you can have your own DVD copies of your favorite movies. This makes them more portable and allows you to enjoy them indefinitely without having them take up space on the hard drive.
While set top boxes keep proliferating, there are some alternatives to letting them clog up your home entertainment center.