My media centre – A field report

It’s been nearly 9 month since living with a media centre PC in my living room and it has become a regular part of my daily life. The balance between the simple watching of TV broadcasts and the common use of a PC, like surfing the internet, playing games has changed. Nowadays I do watch more and more content that is streamed and published via the internet and old school TV makes only a minor part in my daily life. The point actually is, that I don’t have the time nor the will to watch specific contents on TV at a special time and nor do I have the will to spend like half an hour to setup the HDD recorder that I don’t miss a show on TV. This is old-fashioned in my opinion, especially by regarding the fact that if I use the media centre I can watch whatever I want and what I subscriped to at any time I want. If I watch TV I’m bound to a fixed schedule and like I previously said, I’m not going to waste my rare free time to TV programs.

Another, and in my opinion, very important point that the media centre has become so popular for me is, that the content it offers is mainly customized to my needs and interests. As you may know, I’m a gamer and I love to watch broadcasts with videogame content, so I watch like GameTrailers.com, GiantBomb or GameSpot contents any time I want. If I’m more in the mood to get a little relaxation and enjoy earth’s beauty I lay back and watch the marvellous shows of Earth-Touch.com. I’ve also got tons of subscriptions on Youtube, mainly gaming content but also channels with subjects like sports, news , photography or simply comedy. As you can see, I’ve got this large variety of things to watch at any time I want, I’m near the point to think about cancelling my cable provider subscribtion because it makes barely sense.

Besides simple watching of different contents the media centre also offers another ability to serve me well, it’s a gaming platform. I had to make a compromise between ultra silent media centre PC and gaming PC. This PC serves in both ways and is not as quiet as a media centre usually used to be, but this doesn’t really matter, because while watching movies or anything else like this, you can barely here the PC and it’s not as disturbingly load as a regular gaming PC. This case, where the hardware was built in, is a silent case and I also avoided the use of unnessecary fans the gain a low noise level and I’m pretty happy with the final result. I can’t deny that there’s still some room for tweaking the system to gain a little less noise, but it’s fine the way it is.

Anyhow, the media centre is a well balanced and efficient gaming PC as well and I use this PC very often for some relaxed gaming sessions. I used to play a lot of games that are played console style (with a gamepad) on the media centre PC and left the FPS and RPG to my main game system. It’s way more fun to play a soccer or a basketball game on the couch watching the stuff on a giant TV instead of seeing this on a small 24inch PC monitor. It also fulfills some social aspects because I personally play much more games with friends visiting me as I’ve done before by just having the “normal, regular” gaming PC. Another important point for me is, I don’t have to waste money on an expensive console, even though I would like to have a PS3.

As a final conclusion can I say, that the media centre was a good investment. Ordinary TV becomes less and less important for me and like I said, I’m near the point cancelling my cable provider subscription. I gain more information in a much smaller space of time and most importantly information that I actually need instead of getting tons and tons of crap information, e.g. celebrity stuff. Some of my “gaming habits” have changed too because I’m more willing to play “casual games” like sports games and games regularly played with a gamepad. Yap, I like the media centre, everyone should have one.

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