Home Media Server- Solution Tree

Media servers have become an integral part of any home theater and/or home automation system. With solutions ranging from a simple iPod connected to an AV receiver to a multi-terabyte Kaledescape distributed audio and video system, consumers have options for media servers that range from under $100 to well over $20,000, with the sky as the limit as to price, storage and functionality.

There are two basic types of products in the server category. The first is the dedicated, close-ended system designed for one or just a few functions, such as being a music server. The second type of product is more of a computer designed with home theater functionalities in mind. These are known as media center or home theater PCs (HTPCs). These powerful, often Microsoft Vista-driven systems can be a music and video server with affordable and large storage capabilities. Downloading music at standard-definition (128 kbps) levels, as well as above CD-resolution HD music files, is also possible through companies like Music Giants. Apple’s “”HD”” files have much less resolution than a compact disc at this stage. HTPCs can do much more, including surfing the Web, managing photos, computer functionality, recording HD video from cable TV at blazingly fast speeds, and much more. The best HTPC or Vista systems, such as Life-ware, provide complete home automation functionality that can compete with close-ended home automation systems such as Crestron, AMX and Control 4.

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