We are going to enter in the broad universe of Home Theater PC with the goal of playing all types of videos (SD, HD, UHD, 4K, DivX, XviD, x264, H264, x265, H265, AVI, MKV, MP4, DVD, Blu-ray, etc...) and audio (MP3, AAC, OGG, AC3, DTS, TrueHD, DTS-HD, FLAC, etc...) with the maximum quality and without spending a single penny. Indeed all softwares that we are going to use are free in contrast of commercial players like PowerDVD, WinDVD or TotalMedia Theater. Icing on the cake is that the obtained quality will be better than with these softwares.
You can take a look on this page to get an idea of what you'll get : Before / After
Before we begin let me introduce myself. My name is Jeremy and it's been over 4 years since I started this HTPC tutorial. I don't know how many nights I spent on this, to give you, for free, one of the most complete HTPC tutorial that exists. So when you have finished the tutorial and if you like the result, feel free to offer me a coffee by clicking on this page.
- The tutorial is now only available in English. It's the most popular language on internet and it will be a lot easier for me to update and improve it.
- Ultra HD TV (4K) start to be available so I added it
- Everything has been checked and every part that needed an update has been updated.
- MPC-HC 5.1 is now MPC-HC-Surround and MPC-HC 2.0 is now MPC-HC-Stereo.
Recommended hardware requirements
- A Windows PC (XP SP3, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10) powerful enough to decode HD (eg. Dualcore CPU@2Ghz with SSE and a lot more for Ultra HD). As another option you can use your graphics cards to decode the video if your CPU is not powerfull enough.
- A flat TV or a video projector HD Ready (720p), Full HD (1080p) or Ultra HD 4K (2160p) linked to HDMI, DVI, Display Port or VGA to the home theater PC.
- A Home theater amplifier. The sound is a lot better with a home theater amplifier but if you don't have that your TV speakers will do the trick.
Note that I will not detail all options of the softwares we will use but only those required. You will see this is already a very big chunk! If you have any doubt about the options that are not addressed refer to the screenshot provided. Remember, you can ask all the questions you want on the forum.