Media PCs have been around for a while now; but about fifteen years ago, there were not so common. With the migration to broadband and the vast improvements in hardware, PCs have made their way into our entertainment centers. Services like Netflix, Youtube, and Pandora (to name a few), drove the need for integrating the modern PC into the living room.
But what is a media PC in today’s standard? Media PC is a much broader term than what it meant fifteen years ago. Today it can mean many things, from an actual PC, to a gaming console (xbox, playstation), to a device that is used for streaming media (apple tv, google’s chrome cast), or the TV itself (smart tv).
So with all these choices, which one is the better choice? The answer to that question depends upon the individual needs.
If you are familiar with the desktop computer, and like using its interface (Windows 8.1), there are a few companies manufacturing small computers (intel nuke), that can be used as media PCs. The PC does not have to be specific, it can be any PC, as long as it is capable of doing what is needed. If you are going this route, I suggest that you do some research.
Most current gaming consoles, for example the Xbox one, can be used as central entertainment hubs. Applications like Netfilx, Youtube, and Pandora can run on these consoles. If you like playing video games and are also looking for the media PC integration, a gaming console might be a good fix.
There are also devices like Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast that can stream media from other devices, to the television. These streaming devices tend to be less expensive when compared to gaming consoles and desktop computers.
And finally the option that already comes integrated with some modern TVs. Smart TVs have features similar to media PCs. They can stream media using most current applications.
So in conclusion, media PCs can be a variety of different things. Understanding what you want from an entertainment center will help determine what is the best choice for you.