The days of bulky home-theater PCs (HTPCs) with built-in tuners, optical disc drives, and integrated media storage capabilities are long gone. In 2017, advancements in the media / home theater space (including the rise in popularity of OTT streaming and rapid adoption of 4K) stabilized. It is now possible to create a relatively budget-friendly home theater setup without the fear of it becoming outdated within a short timespan. Given the market status, we set out to select the components for a modern home theater environment and evaluate some HTPC options. This article goes into the reasoning behind our choice of components and also provides a detailed account of our experiments with a few compact HTPCs.
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