Turn your PC into a multimedia hub

Vickie stevens
Converting your PC into a media center is easier than ever. We’ve gathered the latest in PC system reviews to help you achieve entertainment nirvana.

We’ve also updated our coverage of peripherals and components, including reviews of inkjet printers and a new crop of video cards. And then there are those must-have tech items to make you mobile: Bluetooth headsets and stereo headphones, USB Flash drives, and portable PCs.

Niveus media center: rainier edition
Editors impressed by Niveus Media Center
Streaming Internet radio and personal video recording with remote control is all available through your PC. The editors of Maximum PC Magazine review the latest in media centers and declare Niveus’ Rainier Edition Media Center “the best of the batch,” with the Voodoo EPIC a close second.
Niveus Media Center: Rainier Edition (Score: 8.0/10.0)
Link to all ratings and full review

HP media center 7160n photosmart pc
HP’s offers dual processor for media needs
Digital media’s power-hungry applications demand serious hardware to run smoothly, including dual-core processors. PC Magazine takes a look at the latest PCs for digital media power users and awards two systems its highest honor.
HP Media Center 7160n Photosmart PC (Editors’ Choice, Score: 4.5/5.0)
Sony VAIO VGC-RA842G (Editors’ Choice, 4.5)
Link to all ratings and full review

Jabra's freespeak bt250
Jabra is CNET’s top-rated headset
The number of single-ear headsets for Bluetooth-enabled phones and PCs has dramatically jumped lately. In CNET’s review, strangely, it’s the oldest unit tested — the Jabra FreeSpeak BT250 (photo, left) — that captures the top spot from a bunch of newbies.
Jabra’s FreeSpeak BT250 (Editors’ Choice, Score: 8.3/10.0)
Plantronics Discovery 640 Bluetooth (Editors’ Choice, 8.0)
Link to all ratings and full review

Plantronics explorer 320
Explorer 320 headset rings in Editors’ Choice
So many Bluetooth earpieces are coming out that the five units tested by Laptop Magazine didn’t include any of the ones CNET rated (see above). After a week spent wearing each model, Plantronics’ offering outranked the others.
Plantronics Explorer 320 (Editors’ Choice, Score: 4.0/5.0)
Link to all ratings and full review

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2005-10-27: