The home theater personal computer (HTPC) that is the heart of my home's entertainment center is also my cable and over-the-air digital video recorder (DVR). I recently added a terrific Logitech Harmony universal remote control that truly simplified the use of my rather eclectic collection of home theater gear, and I wholeheartedly recommend those sanity-saving devices to every home theater owner.
Windows Media Center (WMC) makes it easy to transform nearly any combination of over-the-air digital television (OTA DTV) and CableCARD tuners into a multi-tuner/multi-terabyte DVR capable of accessing hundreds of channels and recording hundreds of hours of TV shows.
With the aim of taming that near-infinite source of content with an elegant yet powerful interface, the CableCARD tuning masters at Ceton Corp have released the Ceton Companion family of mobile apps.
The $5 Companion app is available on Windows Phone, iOS, and Android mobile platforms, and Amazon has added it to its Appstore for Android. On the Media Center PC side of things, the setup is really simple: just install the free Ceton Companion Services program - the default settings are fine for most people. With a HTPC and mobile device connected to the same local network, the Companion app automagically locates the HTPC and provides a snappy access to a host of useful tools including:
- TV and movie gallery
- universal search function
- manage/schedule DVR recordings
- play to any TV
- Windows Media Center remote control
It all just worked! Running the Companion app on iOS and Android-based handsets, I found myself using the Companion app to provide a quick glance at what my DVR recently recorded and what was scheduled to record later that day. Search proved an ideal way of quickly finding recorded content on the 2TB of storage I have dedicated to the DVR.
Ceton Companion is for turning your mobile device into the ultimate HTPC remote control, but one thing Companion doesn't do is stream content to your mobile device - it's just a control app, and a very good one at that. If you desire to stream, schedule, and browse your HTPC's recorded content on your smartphone, Remote Potato is my go-to app.