HTPC Windows Media Center

Poll: HTPC vs. Extender

windows7mediacenter.jpgYesterday Ben Drawbaugh and I got into it a little back and forth on Twitter about the HTPC and using it as a HTPC directly connected to your display. Whether that is your tv, your projector or some other display medium or in the case of Ben using your HTPC more as a server in a closet up and out of the way basically running as a headless unit serving up extenders.

Back in July Ben and myself joined Josh (the other Josh) and Adam on Entertainment 2.0 Episode 37 part 1 and Part 2 in which we discussed this very topic. If you haven’t listened to the episodes I highly recommend it, some great conversations going back and forth and a ton of info. On both parts I’ve given my stance, PC’s directly connected to a display (depending on the display) are a great thing, with virtually unlimited codec support, and a plethora of content like Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, ect… Having a dedicated HTPC directly connected to your display beats out any extender out there.

I’ve been running a fully dedicated HTPC directly connected to at least one main display in my home for years, and I will never go away from that method for as long as extenders (read Windows Media Center Extenders) lack the ability to perform just as good, if not better, than a dedicated HTPC. Until you can get blu ray players that are also extenders in the same GUI front end, and until you can get full Flash playback on extenders, HTPC’s (in my point of view) are honestly the best way to go.

Now to the poll… what is your point of view? Do you Extender it? or Do you HTPC it?


About the author

Josh Shenkle

Five+ year veteran media center user. Over the years I have built over 20 media center pc's whether it has been to upgrade an existing system in my setup, or to build a media center pc (HTPC) for friends or family. My other passion besides HTPC's and Media Center is Home Theater. After purchasing my first home with a blank slate in the basement, I completely finished it off, building a home theater with a 120" front projection setup and 7.1 surround sound system. So between Media Center and Home theater that is what you'll find me talking about here. Like Adam Thursby, between the two of us are probably the only Zune users you'll find. I started out with an iPod nano but eventually found my way to the Zune and the Zune software and never looked back. Also like Josh Pollard I too am a mobile phone/smart phone gadget nerd. In my "day job" one of my job responsibilities is to test out new phones, specifically windows mobile phones, and test them out with our exchange server and trouble shoot end user issues. I am also a Blackberry convert as I recently got a Blackberry Storm for personal use and absolutely love it! I am a huge forum troll, you can find me on AVSforums, TGB, Missingremote, Hardforums, and even the AU media center forums. I like to help out where I can when it comes to HTPC's and media center in general, so if there are questions to be had, I try to answer them the best I can.