Short for home theater computer, HTPC is one that combines standard computing capabilities with the ability to record and playback audio and video either on a computer monitor or on a TV and stereo system. Depending on the application, some HTPCs use a special version of the Windows operating system to control the home theater features.
The original HTPC dates back to the late 1980s, where tuner cards were installed in the Commodore Amiga PC to play broadcast or cable content on their computer monitor. Since then, computers have been built for all types of home theater capabilities, including acting as a digital video record (DVR) and a complete movie and music playback system. Microsoft created Windows XP Media Center edition in 2002 to be a complete home theater system on a computer and even included a remote control for easier access and control. Third-party vendors have created many applications that serve as a home theater control center for computers, as well, making it even easier and less costly to build a HTPC.
Also see: DVR