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Thin Client at Home – A Greener Alternative to PC Based Home Entertainment System

written by: ciel s cantoria•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 3/19/2010

Thin clients and their slim and low resource attributes can be very cost efficient in corporate environments. How can the thin client computing concept be a device for low energy and low maintenance costs in a home environment?

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    A Thin Client in a Home Environment

    A thin client at home, if used as an office work station, may be too ambitious although highly impressive if installation costs wouldn’t be an issue. Since it will basically operate in the same way as in a business environment, the homeowner can expect to contend with the same high costs of installing a dedicated server as well as pay for the exorbitant license fees. Never mind the low energy consumption because the amount you’ll save can’t quite compensate for the initial costs you have to put up.

    Thin client home use is often found in a centralized entertainment system to run one’s audio, video and digital gizmos. While others utilized their PCs to enhance their whole home entertainment system, using a thin client can be a greener way since it has lesser parts, a lower energy requirement and will emit less heat.

    You too can have the entire concept of a home entertainment system with a thin client connected to the HDTV and some surround sound speakers. Nevertheless, if you are to consider setting up a centralized home entertainment system using thin client technology, shop around for good quality parts and components so you won’t go overboard with your costs.

    Here are some simple steps that you can follow in setting up your home entertainment system using the thin client. Anyone who has sufficient basic knowledge of computer hardware will be able to set it up in no time at all.

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    Guide in Setting Up a Thin Client Home Entertainment System

    Get the Parts – Any thin client that supports DVI video output will do. This way, your digitally formatted videos will not lose their graphical integrity. Use an external Hard Disk Drive to serve as an external storage device, since thin clients normally do not have any memory storage of their own. A USB 2.0 will facilitate faster data transfer between the HDD and the thin client. Preferably, use an efficient hard drive that runs noiselessly and has a greater capacity for storage. One Terabyte will suffice to store a few hundred DVD quality movies. A Bluetooth adapter as well as a Bluetooth keyboard to provide wireless control will also prove to be very handy. On the other hand, you will need special software to link the client to a remote control for use around the house.

    What to Do – To set it up, simply connect the external drive, the HDTV, the Bluetooth keyboard and other peripherals to your thin client. You’re the best judge on what speakers to use by gauging the size of your home entertainment area and preferred speaker set. If you’re not too confident in your ability to configure the DVI video card with your HDTV, you can have it configured at the outlet where you bought your thin client. This way, there will be less hassle as well as chances of things getting off beam. If you can’t bring your HDTV to have the thin client configured, just give them a detailed description of your HDTV’s specifications. The sales people from whom you bought the thin client will be more than willing to configure the video out put for you.

    The Final Touches – After connecting everything to the thin client, it’s now time for you to configure the storage along with the software in order to control your digital media. You may want to consider the free software called Videolan VLC Player since it is very easy to use. It has the ability to run any video and audio format known today. The reason for using a different media player other than the media player included in the operating system of your thin client is that, the latter may not be formatted for DVD movies. After accomplishing all of this, you can now run and control your home entertainment system from your couch using your Bluetooth wireless keyboard.

    Thin client home use can also be a good way to go green by converting your old PC into a server based computer device. Check out a related article about Building a Thin Client with Green Computing to learn how.

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