Hardware

Home Theatre PC Build Guide

It is quite questionable to build a home theatre PC in the age of streaming sticks like Amazon Firestick, Chromecast, etc. However, when you consider the fact that a home theatre personal computer gives you more options in personalization, features, and save you a couple of bucks as well. Not everyone wants to control his or her TV from a smartphone. Sometimes old-school remotes give a more intuitive and tactile feel. A home theatre PC is the best way to have a large media library on a fairly compact computer. In this guide, EverythingTech will guide you on how to build a Home Theatre PC.



Who should Buy the Optane Modules?



Intel Optane Memory Module is a great option for people who are looking for a good computer speed but constrained to a budget. However, it is still a question of how can you really save with Optane in the long run.



What will be the main objectives of this home theatre PC?



  • Consume minimum space in your living room.
  • Wi-Fi enabled PC for wireless internet
  • Stream from an online platform like Netflix, Prime Now, YouTube, Hulu, etc.
  • Storing a local media database for offline use
  • Light gaming
  • 4K enabled



Choosing the components



Case



When you are building a Home theatre PC, you want something compact, which would not consume much space on your table. We would not recommend going for traditional ATX or micro ATX form factor. Choosing the Mini ITX form factor would be better if you want to save space in your living room. However, try to choose a cabinet with good ventilation since smaller form factor means higher temperature. Brands like Corsair, Cooler Master, Antec, Zebronics, and MSI are great for cabinets with good airflow. Get a fancy case instead of a basic one, since the PC will also become a decorative item in your living room. Say yes to RGB lighting if possible.



Processor



Choosing the processor should be a big headache when you are just going to watch videos and stream from the internet. However, if you consider 4K video playback and light gaming, then you might need to pay a little attention. Any processor from the i3 8th gen series would be fine for our build. However, you might need to add an additional graphics card for 4k video playback and gaming. Whereas, Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 with “G” models would become the best value. They have their own inbuilt graphics processing unit and thus, they don’t need an external graphics card. Surely, a dedicated graphics card will help you to boost your performance. However, you will need to spend extra and buy compact cards to fit in a mini ITX case.



Motherboard



The small form factor is really tempting, however, mini ITX motherboards are quite expensive. Especially, AMD Ryzen boards are quite expensive. Gigabyte, ASUS, ASRock, MSI, etc. are some of the most reputable motherboard manufacturers. Most modern motherboards should have USB 3.0 and HDMI connectors in their I/O ports. Try to choose a motherboard with inbuilt wireless capabilities (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth).



Storage



It is not super important to have SSD on our build. Instead, we need to focus more on storage capacity to store a large amount of media. SSD would be good only for the Boot drive of the OS and software. Whereas, an HDD would be perfect to collect your movies, pictures, music, etc. For this reason, 120 GB SSD would be enough for the OS. For your main storage, you should buy a hard drive with at least 2 TB of storage. If you are going for a mini ITX build, then you have to consider 2.5” inch drives to save space.


RAM



You just need a decent amount of RAM to run the OS and video playback smoothly. For this, around 4 gigs of RAM should be enough. If you plan to do light gaming, then go for 8 GB. If you are choosing the Ryzen processor of the build, then it is recommended to choose a RAM with a higher frequency. Ryzen processors run the best with high-frequency RAMs.


DVD Drive



In the age of digital media, it is not recommended to have a DVD drive in your Home Theatre PC. These days, we rarely use DVDs on our computers. In addition, it is not easy to fit a DVD drive if you are looking for a mini ITX build. However, if you have owned a large collection of CDs and DVDs from the early 2000s, then you can get a DVD drive. You can also purchase an external DVD writer for this purpose.


Peripherals and Remote



There are many PC media remotes available on Amazon. These remotes are like your traditional TV remotes with play, pause, volume controls, etc. You can also get a compact PC remote with a keyboard and a touchpad. It can do almost everything, which your regular keyboard and mouse can do. If you plan to do some gaming, and then a wireless gamepad would be a better choice for the couch gaming experience. If your motherboard doesn’t have inbuilt Wi-Fi, then you might need to buy a Wi-Fi PCI card or a USB Wi-Fi stick for your PC.


OS and Software



Windows 10 should be the best choice of OS to get the most features including light gaming. The streaming services can be accessed straight from a web browser or apps are also available in the Windows 10 Store. You can set up a better interface by installing the Kodi home media streaming center to organize and watch your movie collection.


Features and Uses



Local Video Streaming



The larger the hard drive the better it is. You can store a large number of movies on this home theatre PC. Kodi is the best software to enable a couch movie experience in your living room. It can organize every single movie on your hard drive and present them in a cool interface.


Online Streaming



The media streaming sticks are really cool, but from this PC you can enjoy almost any streaming service at your home. You can add new add-ons to your web browser to make the experience unique according to your taste.


Gaming



Couch gaming is fun since you do not have to sit on a chair and stick yourself to the monitor. You can enjoy titles like Fifa, NFS, and PUBG straight from your couch. Light gaming is possible with home theatre PC.


Media Server



Since every single media file will be present on this PC, you can create a local server in your home to allow streaming on other devices. This will allow others to stream media on their own devices.