Make your PC a home theatre

Nandagopal Rajan        Print Edition: July 2012

With downloads of videos and TV shows becoming common, it is only natural that the PC is now a entertainment hub . But the PC and its accessories fall short while playing HD content. Here is how to bring your PC up to the scratch.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: A desktop or laptop with at least 4GB RAM, a good graphics card and 5.1 or (7.1) sound card, 5.1 (or 7.1) speakers set and an LED monitor of at least 22 inches.

THE PC: You can run HD content on your PC if it has the right RAM and graphics card, using a media player like VLC or UMPLayer. Select a media player which can play almost all media file types and lets you enhance the picture and sound as needed.

SOUND: Most HD files have 5.1 sound, but PCs generally don't have similar sound output. So even if you play HD content, the sound will be in stereo and you might miss some tracks. To get over this you should get a 5.1 (or 7.1) soundcard installed. If you do not want to open your PC for this, there is the option of getting a USB-based external soundcard (Rs 1,500+). As far as speakers go, there is always the option of getting a home theatre system. But a good 5.1 speaker set (Rs 3,000+) will also give you a similar sound output for much less. Select units with wooden speakers for the best effect while watching movies.

SCREEN: If you want to watch movies on the computer, go for a large LED screen. Say around 26 inches (Rs 10,000 +). Alternatively, you can also get a Pico or compact projector (Rs 20,000+) to beam the images on to a wall. We say Pico projectors because they are much cheaper and suitable for the home where the images don't need to be extra large. There is also the option of connecting to a large HDTV using an HDMI cable-you might need a converter if your PC does not have a HDMI port.

WHAT TO DO: It is simple, once you have these things in place the entire rig will be as good as any TV-home theatre combo you can get. Only, this will cost you much less. This won't be a great option for people who can go ahead and buy a large TV and home theatre system. But for those who are constrained by money and space, this will be as good as anything. And if you are going to miss TV, get a TV tuner card with remote (Rs 1,200+) to add to the fun.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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