Media servers are audio and video components that store audio and video content and play it back on demand for consumers, without the need for bulky discs and/or slow load times.
Home Theater PCs (HTPCs) are considered media servers, but have many more features, such as home automation capabilities and Internet access.
Media servers are more accurately defined as purpose-built components on closed-ended systems for more specific uses like storing music, movies and photos.
Many media servers have removable hard drives and several terabytes of storage space.
We recommend that, no matter what media server you use, you back up your entire media collection in real time on a separate hard drive. The time it takes to rip your collection paired with the horrible reliability of all hard drives makes for some very sad or angry music and movie fans when bad things happen to good people.