Hello friends welcome to Sam's HTPC thread....
Well after 2 weeks of research and development and another week to successfully deploy it, finally completed building MY HTPC,
Following is my story and complete built
To begin with one might ask with Media players all over the place giving an out of the box experience and I; already owning one, what was the need to go for an HTPC??
Well following are the 3 main reason for the same .... ofcourse there were many other small factors as well, but the following remains the main.1. My POHD does not support HD audio and I was not willing to spent another 10-12K to get a new Media Player just for this drawback (reason in the 3rd point)
2. YAMJ, every single media player I have seen (except TViX maybe) has a pathetic YAMJ, along with a crap interface ..... yes even extremer or new POHD2, all lack a polish quality media interface and yes, much needed elite YAMJ
3. Last but not the least, since I upgraded my PC and assembled a new one, I had my old hardware at hand, so decided to use it as my HTPC. All I added was a case and a mid level GPU
(details discussed later in the post.)
Now I had a very specific objective for the my HTPC, as to how it needs to be configured and how it should behave, which was very much in the lines of an actual media player. Few of the points that I had in mind for my HTPC ....1. It should definitely have the feel of a media player, no windows feel at all, should boot directly in to my Media Center. Though the base would ofcourse be windows (one can opt for linux as well) but I opted to go
for windows .....
2. Boot time as fast as possible (just like media player), will upgraded to SSD later.
3. Quality YAMJ and polished look and feel...... with the entire interface drooling with quality. (This was one of my main reason to ditch media player along with HD audio support)
4. Support for HD audio. (DTA MA and DD THD streaming)
5. Remote for HTPC just like a conventional Media Player
Now that we have a small introduction before moving further I would like to show you the final product, so that you may have an idea what lies ahead.
For the Media Player I decided to choose the awesome front end media center from Xbox called XBMC or Xbox Media Center
. There are loads of other media center applications as well like for example "Windows Media Center", "Media Portal", "Media Browser"
etc etc and
every media center has its own pros and cones, but XBMC with its cones was the most polished looking media center with max number of TPA plugins and themes .....
Following is the video that shows the complete bootup of the HTPC in to XBMC and explorers the few main functions of the same.
If the end product is liked and there is enough interest in the thread, I will share more details as to how I configured XBMC to behave like how I wanted to.
The video is in two parts since youtube does not allow to load a video which is more then 15 minutes. Plus the quality is bit poor, I recoded the video in 720p but the entire size landed to be pretty huge, around 5GB, so I had to compress it and lessen the resolution to 640x480 to get it under 500MB .....so bare with me on the quality of the video. But it would given you a fair bit of an idea as to how XBMC looks and feel.
Part 1YouTube - ‪XBMC Demo part 1.mp4‬‏
Part 2YouTube - ‪XBMC Demo Part 2.mp4‬‏
To begin with the hardware .....
Remember HTPC is not big deal, you dont need a powerhouse of a hardware to actually get the max out of your HTPC, not even 3D, with my current config I could have used it as my 3D HTPC as well if I had the 3D display .....
The config (remember its the old hardware I used.)1. Intel C2D E6300@3.2 Ghz
2. ASUS P5B Delux mobo
3. 4GB DDR2 RAM
5. nVidia Zotac GT440 GPU (This is New)
6. Silverstone LC10-E HTPC cabinet (This is new as well)
Point to note is that I chose to go nVidia way this time for multimedia needs. If you do some research you will come to know that though ATI leads the GPU segment with their HD series, when it comes to A/V playback capabilities nVidia is said to be better. Specially with CORE AVC codecs used with their popular CUDA technology
. Plus there are some rare bugs with video playbacks with ATI that pushed me to go for nVidia for my HTPC. GT4XX series is the best known for A/V playback with full support for HD Bitstreaming and 3D playback.
For case ... well Silverstone LC-10
was the cheapest HTPC case from Silverstone, and I did not want to go for any conventional case. Though there was few from Thermalake that I really liked.
Apart from it I used ....
1. Logitech wifi keyboard combo
2. ANDROID XBMC remote
3. ANDROID TMT5 remote
The applications used ...
1. Xbox Media center XBMC
2. Total Media Theater 5One can use Power DVD or MPC-HC (with ffdshow)as well
3. Media Center Master
Following are the pictures of my hardware and XBMC. The skin I have used in the below snaps are "Transperancy!" and "MediaStream Redux". Have shared loads of snaps so bare with me ...First my hardware ....Now my XBMC Pics ....
Suggestions, Questions are welcome ......
Core i7-2600K|Win 7 Ulti x64|ASUS P8P67 Pro|G.Gkill 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 |Sapphire HD5850|DELL 24" UltraSharp IPS 1080p|5.0 TB storage|Intel X-25M 80GB SSD|LG Bluray/HD DVD combo|CM690|Altec Lansing ATP5|Onkyo 6200