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Watching DVDs on Computers

The line between the computer and the home theater set up is becoming very blurred. This is only natural since more and more home theater equipment, such as the DVD player is basically a computer itself. Home theater equipment now has connections to your home computer via firewire (IEEE 1394) and USB ports. Because of this there is a need for a computer operating system that is designed to expedite the integration of these two common aspects of our lives.

One of the more recent advances in this inter-connection is the Media Edition of the Microsoft XP operating system. It makes the interaction between your home theater and computer easier than ever. At least that is the word from Microsoft. Only time will tell as this operating system starts appearing in actual homes.

Of course operating systems and features like will require a fairly powerful computer. You really should have a multi-media ready PC to take advantage of this operating system. Consider a Pentium 4 with a lot of RAM, fast video card and a large hard drive before you even think of getting the operating system.

Features of XP Media Edition

bulletDigital download and Storage, Personal Video Recorder (PVR). This feature permits your computer as a kind of TiVo. You can record video directly from your digital cable or satellite on to your hard drive. You can then edit the programs and re-record them to a DVD.
bulletElectronic Program Guide (EPG). Similar to the feature in TiVo and other external home theater hard drives, XP Media Edition connects to the internet to gather information as to what is on your television stations. You can then program the computer to always record every episode of a particular show. You can also browse a menu to select which shows to record. This takes the hassle out of programming the start and duration of a program.
bulletViewing options. You can either watch your programs on your TV or in a window on your computer. This permits you to watch a program while working on your computer.
bulletDigital Home Movies. You can browse your collection of home movies with thumb nail views. You can also edit these home movies adding music, commentary tracks etc.
bulletPhoto Albums. Organize your digital photos and play a slide show on your computer or television.
bulletFull DVD support. Turn your computer into a full function DVD player. With this trend more and more of the functions and required equipment for your home theater will be moved to your computer. Makers of such equipment are bound to resist these functions. The computer based DVD player features parental control, multi-angle and all the features you commonly find on a stand alone DVD player.
bulletMusic Jukebox. Load your CD collection into your computer and play the songs through your home theater receiver. You can also mix in other formats such as the ever popular MP3 files. You can create play lists, browse information about the songs and artist and download the songs to portable players. Most of the album information is now on the internet so you have little if anything to type in.
bulletRemote Control. The new XP Media Edition interacts with many universal remote controls. With some of the new remotes you can download from the internet all the settings required to replace the many separate remotes you have all around your living room.

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