Build The Perfect Windows Media Center PC

DVR, HD Tuner, Blu-ray and more... Our fave HDTV expert, PCMag.com's Robert Heron, joins us with a host of tricks for turning Vista's Windows Media Center into a great Home Theater PC

Building a Home Theater PC? Thinking about HDTV, Blu-ray, and how serious a GPU or CPU you need if you don't want to run video games on your HDTV? Can you get away with 1GB of memory? What about hard drive size, or the best tuner for HD?

You're gonna love this episode! Our fave HDTV expert, Robert Heron, from PCMag.com and DL.TV, joins Patrick with a host of expert ideas tips and tricks for turning your Windows Media Center into the ultimate media PC.

BTW, our new fave tool for playing Blu-ray movies in Windows Media Center is AcrSoft's TotalMedia Theater or TotalMedia Extreme...

Vista centric? Sure! It comes standard with Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate does a solid job playing DVDs, recording TV and handling your favorite audio and video files.

Looking to integrate Blu-ray playback into your WMC machine? Check out TotalMedia Theatre, $90, which not only plays well with the WMC interface, but still plays HD-DVD disks. It's definitely a more convenient than our former fave, CyberLink's PowerDVD 8 Ultra, $99.95, which bumps you out of the WMC GUI.

Vista... not so much? We also give you a list of WMC alternatives on the show... so you can turn just about any XP or Vista PC into an amazing Home Theater PC.

On the commercial front:

Free and Open Source: