This day and age of digital content-on-demand, normal television programming is becoming outdated as people are turning to on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu or HBO GO for the viewing desires.
Even with the emergence of smart televisions more and more people have decided to go the small form factor PC route as a Home Media PC.
Whether just for streaming services, playing media collections stored on an external hard drive or for video chatting with Skype the HTPC caters to everyone’s streaming needs.
It can be tricky to decide on a HTPC that would suit your needs, but we here at Tijei have your back and have compiled a list of the best selling small form factor computers that would serve well as Home Theater PC’s but could also be perfectly adequate if you need a basic computer that doesn’t waste space on your desk.
note that this post contain affiliate links through which we shall earn a commission as an appreciation to our work on this blog when you click and buy some of our reviewed products.
The Intel NUC NUC5i5 is a mini PC equipped with an Intel processor on a custom motherboard designed by Intel. However, this is not a complete desktop as it lacks essential components like RAM, Hard Drive and Operating System.
The system does provide easy access to the internal components so that even a non-technical user can add the necessary hardware without much effort.
It’s primarily made of solid metal with glossy black plastic lid on top. It is very light and measures barely an inch thick. Despite its miniscule size, all the standard ports are included.
The front panel houses two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and the back has two more USB 3.0 ports, a mini Display Port, a mini HDMI and Ethernet. Both Bluetooth and a high speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi are built-in. After you’ve purchased the required amount of RAM and Hard Drive or SSD, you can add those components to the empty slots which can be accessed after removing the four screws on the bottom panel.
If you want an affordable, fast and highly portable desktop to connect to your large screen TV, the NUC5i5 is a well-priced desktop for the included hardware and upgrade flexibility. Order it today from amazon at $408.49
The Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB is a reasonably priced desktop packing entry-level hardware components capable of efficiently running everyday applications along with the Windows 8.1.
Weighing just 0.8 pounds and 5.9 x 1.5 x 4.1 inches in dimensions, it has a small footprint that doesn’t take much space on your desk. Most of its ports are neatly placed on the back and either side of the black box.
It comes with three USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI, Bluetooth, Ethernet and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Therefore, dual monitor configuration is possible on this machine.
This small PC doesn’t have any moving parts like a mechanical hard drive or cooling fan, which means you will hardly hear any noise while working with it. An optical drive, keyboard and mouse are things that you’ll have to purchase separately.
Intended for basic use, the QS-1043-QB has a Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3735F processor, which is a processor mostly used in small-sized laptops and mid-range tablets.
Combined with 2 GB of RAM, it can run basic tasks without much problem. Users have also reported a smooth experience while streaming Netflix, web browsing and playing 1080p videos with many users reported their satisfaction with its boot up times.
Not a lot of files can be stored in its 32GB flash storage, however users have the option to add up to 128GB via an SD card.
All in all, if you want a small windows desktop to work with as a media center or something cheap for your basic office related tasks, the QS-1043-QB is worth a look ($159.99 on Amazon.
Lastly: on the top of the list is this lightweight HTPC from Asus. The Asus VivoPC-VM42-S075V, although limiting this to a HTPC would be a mistake.
The Asus VivoPC-VM42-S075V is a full stand alone PC and can be used from anything from light gaming to office work and beyond. It runs windows 8 so you are not limited as to what software you could run like its Chromebox counterpart.
While it only has a 1.5GHz Intel Celeron, it does have 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive so storing your movies or series won’t be a problem. All in all the Asus VivoPC-VM42-S075V is a fantastic and versatile little computer and would make a great addition to any home entertainment setup.