Tuesday, November 27, 2007
There is a lot more technology available now than there ever has been before that can make give you more control over your TV viewing experience. This technology includes interactive on screen program guides, digital video recorders, DVD players (both the high definition versions and otherwise), and even video game platforms could be argued to be devices that can maximize your control over how you use your TV. But in the case of most of these devices, in order to take advantage of them you're required do two different things. First of all, you need to buy each of them separately which can cause you to have to deal with a profusion of devices in your home entertainment center, a profusion of remote controls on your coffee table, and most of all a profusion of cables that need to be sorted out and plugged into their correct connections. The other thing that you need to do is to sacrifice a lot of your control over the details of how all of these devices work.
There is another option for taking advantage of all of this technology in your home entertainment center, but in many ways it's not for the faint of heart. This solution is to get a media center computer. With a media center computer, you'll get all of the functions of your major home entertainment system components all rolled into one. Plus, you'll get all of the productivity and web surfing capability of a real computer in your home entertainment center as well.
One device that will maximize your control over your home entertainment is the Monolith MC, which is a media center computer that runs the Linux operating system and takes advantage of special open source software that's designed for use with TV and video applications. The Monolith MC has multiple TV tuners that can receive digital and HDTV programming. It can also function as a digital video recorder that's capable of recording off of at least two separate channels at the same time. It will also allow its user to choose the video format that TV programming is recorded in in order to conserve hard drive space. For example, the MPEG-4 option takes up only about a quarter of the hard drive space that the equivalent video recorded in MPEG-2 format will take up. The Monolith MC will also detect commercial breaks automatically during recording and tag the beginning and end of them so that it can automatically skip over the commercials during playback! (That's one feature that you won't find on many other DVR's!) This device also comes with access to a program guide service that doesn't require a subscription, plus when the digital video recorder part of it is programmed, it will automatically search the program guide for alternative broadcast times for programs in order to minimize the chances of scheduling conflicts.
The Monolith MC also has plenty of computer features as well. For example, not only will it play DVD's but it can also take video from its hard drive and burn that video onto DVD's that can be played on other DVD players! This computer also comes with a web browser, the ability to play digital audio, computer games, and plenty of productivity software as well.
In other words, this device brings the freedom of open source computing into the home entertainment center.