Middle class American homes have, for the most part, had
multiple computers, printers, scanners and other peripherals for several years
now. Shared broadband internet
connections and some form of home networking have also become more and more
prevalent. The one network component
that hasn’t seemed to catch on even in most SOHO’s
is a dedicated file server. Well, we
think the next year or two will see that change.
For every new
technology there is always at least one driving force for implementation. For the home PC it has often been video
games. For the internet some think it
was porn, others online games or e trading stocks. The “killer app” that finally puts file
servers into homes across the nation just might end up being the humble HTPC. I know some of you will scoff at that notion,
but consider some of the facts. All the
major PC builders like Dell and Gateway are pushing into the HTPC arena in a
big way. Microsoft is eying that market
also with its HTPC version of XP, MCE 2005.
Those facts alone are a strong indicator of the direction the industry
is heading in.
Consider the HTPC, a computer that generates a vast number
of large files in the form of recorded TV shows and movies, and that has the
almost magical ability to stream live TV to any and every PC in the house. Beyond that, those very PC’s can perform all
the functions of a PVR like pausing, scheduling recordings etc. Your HTPC is a natural candidate to bridge
the gap between the loosely cobbled together networks we find in the home now,
and the more robust networks found in most business environments.
We like to think of it as a Home Media Server, or HMS for
short. This “How to” will cover the
basics of converting and or maximizing a traditional HTPC so that it can also
serve as an HMS. First I will cover the
elements needed to build an HTPC/HMS, and then networking Guru Josh Allen will
cover setting that network up in step by step detail, and explain how he would