The Home Theatre Personal Computer

How's this for a box of tricks? The Home Theatre Personal Computer (HTPC) from Digital Network is probably one of the most ambitious all-in-one home-cinema systems I have yet to hear about. Not content with being just a DVD player, the HTPC also acts as a TV recorder, MP3 player, games machine and an internet workstation.

Based around a Intel Celeron 533MHz processor, the HTPC is in fact a fully functional PC system. It includes a 20GB hard drive, a 56K Fax/Modem, a 10/100 Network port and a wireless keyboard and remote control. Of course it also includes a TV-out port to connect to your lovely big widescreen TV!

The custom software allows the recording of up to ten channels simultaneously and it even allows you to record and playback at the same time. Perfect for those times when you get home to watch an episode of your favourite television show but it hasn't finished - instead of watching the last ten minutes and then rewinding to watch the beginning you can just play back the recording without stopping it. The ultimate in time-shifting! If you're worried about limited space, there is a solution in that once you've edited (with the full suite of supplied editing tools) your recording you can transfer it to VHS for long-term storage.

To top it all off, the system supports both Dolby Digital and DTS output meaning you can connect the HTPC up to a DD or DTS capable amp and get full 5.1 channel surround sound.

How much will all this cost? Not a lot really - just £527.58 (including VAT)

Colin Polonowski

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