An HTPC, or home entertainment personal computer, is the focal point of a home theater system, providing the brain power and operating system needed to fuel your media endeavors.
HTPCs come in all makes and sizes, with an incredibly diverse selection of features to choose from, ranging from the type of operating system to its streaming capabilities.
If you are trying to build a DIY theater in your living room and are looking for the best foundation, you’ve come to the right place; finding the right HTPC is crucial to the effectiveness of your home theater set up.
With an incredibly diverse selection of HTPCs comes incredibly challenging selection; the best HTPC won’t simply wave at you!
We simplified the HTPC shopping process for you and laid out all of the info you’ll need to choose one here in this guide, so head down and see which ones we feel are worth the purchase.
Top 10 HTPCs Ultimate Table
Here’s What You Want to Know Before You Purchase an HTPC
Shopping for the brain of your home theater is like starting a child in the correct daycare – the first steps are the most crucial.
The brain is the foundation of a masterful home theater system, making it ever-important to know everything you can while choosing the best HTPC for your needs and uses.
- Processor Type. An HTPC is, indeed, a computer, and a computer operates from a processor, which usually is the most influential factor on the price of the computer. The processor type also determines other features that your HTPC can or can’t have, such as additional graphical capabilities or storage space.
You won’t find a cheap HTPC with a 6th generation Intel i7 processor, for example.
- RAM. The RAM of an HTPC is measured in gigabytes, and determines the amount of memory a computer can access at any given moment.
Generally speaking, the higher the RAM of an HTPC the faster the processing speed will be.
- Storage. You’re building your home theater system from the ground up because you want to do more and watch more; don’t let your streaming be limited by the number of gigabytes of storage that your HTPC can hold!
- Barebones. In the HTPC world, the term “barebones” means that an HTPC is a blank slate, being able to successfully accept any operating system available; this is a desirable feature for those who are truly building their entertainment system from scratch.
- Add-On Slots. Many barebones and pre-built HTPCs have slots for additional storage or RAM to be added, convenient for those who are looking to give their HTPC a competitive edge, or for those who are looking to spruce their machine up for high-quality gaming and streaming.
Top 3 Best HTPC Reviews
The ASUS M004U is a Chromebox that’s simple, powerful, and easy to set up, making it a standout HTPC. Let’s take a closer look!
Whether you’re using it in your kitchen on the back of a small monitor or whether you’re using it in your living room as part of a massive entertainment set up, the M004U Chromebox is easy to set up and start streaming!
On top of consuming very little power, it’s also remarkably quiet, even though it has a fan integrated into its build.
It’s loaded with slots for connectivity of all sorts, from SD cards to HDMI cables, and is fully compatible with both Wi-FI and Bluetooth.
The ASUS CHROMEBOXM004 is a zippy HTPC that will happily complement any set up you want to include it in. This model features quiet and economic performance, ample connectivity options, and easy setup.
The Minix Z83-4 packs a lot of power for such a small HTPC, making it perfect for a wide range of uses, from gaming to media storage and streaming.
We’ll start off with the thermal design, which is superb, allowing the Intel Cherry Trail processor to work as hard as it can without overheating or spewing heat out of it.
The Wi-Fi capabilities are excellent, with the latest connectivity available on this HTPC, as well as an Ethernet plugin available for you if you still use them.
It’s zippy enough for a family computer or to be used as a media streaming hub for your home entertainment system – whatever you want it to be, you won’t be disappointed!
Windows 10 comes pre-installed on the MINIX NEO Z83-4, as well as 4GB of DDR3L memory, combining one of the best operating systems with excellent memory.
The MINIX Z83-4 is a fast, versatile, and compact HTPC that’s perfect to use wherever you need it to operate.
The Intel NUC6i5SYH is a high-grade HTPC for entertainment systems that demand the most, featuring a lightning-fast Intel processor and much more.
Outfitted with the latest in Wi-Fi technology, the Intel NUC6i5SYH also has Bluetooth capabilities, adding to the list of ways you’ll be able to share and stream your music and videos.
It’s Intel processor is one of the zippiest on the market, a 6th generation Intel Core i5 processor, making it duly equipped to handle and stream the most demanding of videos, games, and applications.
It also comes with internal slots for memory enhancements – what more can you ask for!
The Intel NUC6i5SYH is a speedy HTPC with the latest in processor technology and Wi-Fi technology. You can also add more to it down the road, if you need more storage, due to its internal ports.