Want to build a HTPC but not too sure how...

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Want to build a HTPC but not too sure how...

Postposted on Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:31 pm

Hey guys. I want a machine I can watch/record TV shows on, plus I can also play music and games on. It'll be plugging into a big LCD tv when I eventually get that.

The things I'm not sure about are:

speakers: I'll have a TV tuner plus a sound card, do speakers just plug into sound card or does the TV tuner have audio? Do I need special speakers for this, or can I get a big setup from a home theatre shop?

software: I want to record shows and possibly transfer them to my other machine. Can windows media centre do this or will I need some 3rd party software? I will be running windows, not linux so I guess mythtv is out.

cases: i'll be running a full atx htpc case, so i can fit a normal board in there for ease of upgrading. any hints on cooling/ventilation/noise?

Any other general tips or advice will be very welcome.

Cheers,
Owen.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:43 am

anyone got any tips?
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 2:13 am

if you have windows MCE or Vista premium I hear that the built in pvr is pretty nice. If you have windows XP and are looking at free software I would look at http://www.gbpvr.com. It has lots of user support and add-ons and its free! And then theres the pay stuff like beyondtv and sage TV that I dont really know about.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:21 pm

Thanks mate. I'll check that option out.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:24 pm

If you aren't going with a Linux setup, windows MCE(either XP or vista) would be your best choice.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:51 pm

Media Portal is another free Media Center like program for Windows.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:56 pm

Thanks guys. I was under the impression that MCE uses DRM or something to prevent you transferring shows to another machine? Perhaps it would be the way to go though in terms of remote compatibility and stuff?

Any trouble playing games with MCE?
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:04 pm

When most people talk about a HTPC they want a small case that looks nice next to their DVD player, etc. Since your going for a straight mini tower style solution your only really worried about the capture card and display software.

For software, I've never done more than toyed with a HTPC system but MythTV seemed to work nicely.

For hardware your going to have to decide where your getting the video from, analogue and/or digital. SD or HD, etc and base your choice on that. Also the American system is different from ours, so their tuners are different.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:10 pm

Thanks dragmor.

Quick question. If i was to get a HD tuner, would I still need a seperate digital tuner or would that be included? I'll be plugging it into a big plasma telly, so I'm guessing a high quality HD/Digital tuner coming in would be what I want?

Yeah I'm going for a big chunky case, but one that will provide easy upgrade paths hopefully.

Did you use MythTV under windows or linux?
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Postposted on Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:45 pm

smakkythecamel wrote:Thanks dragmor.

Quick question. If i was to get a HD tuner, would I still need a seperate digital tuner or would that be included? I'll be plugging it into a big plasma telly, so I'm guessing a high quality HD/Digital tuner coming in would be what I want?

NFI on the tuner, I'm staying out of the whole HDTV thing till about 2010, when there will be less conflicting standards.

Guess youve got some reading to do.

smakkythecamel wrote:Yeah I'm going for a big chunky case, but one that will provide easy upgrade paths hopefully.

If your girl lets you then no problems. My girl is fussy with computer cases, etc. But doesnt mind that the TV is setup on a sink cutout which is sitting on a row of milk crates.

smakkythecamel wrote:Did you use MythTV under windows or linux?

I was using it under linux on an old P3 with some crappy WinTV capture card. I was testing it for an idea some friends had. In the end we decided that in our case it was better to just rip dvd's and make a simple menu application that let the kids pick what they wanted to watch with a remote. The whole idea was to stop kids from destroying DVD's / Videos and the players.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:00 am

If you are getting HD from your cable/satellite provider, then chances are they are DRM'ed and can't be used with capture cards off the shelf. Those capture cards are usually designed for off-the-air HD signals.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:19 pm

Thanks foxy. Don't have any pay tv, just free-to-air. I'm guessing that kind of tv isn't DRM'd? (once they start broadcasting in HD if they don't already.)
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Postposted on Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:06 pm

smakkythecamel wrote:Thanks foxy. Don't have any pay tv, just free-to-air. I'm guessing that kind of tv isn't DRM'd? (once they start broadcasting in HD if they don't already.)

I dont think there is any HD free to air channels, only digital copies of the existing channels and a couple of extra digital ones. Nothing should be DRM'd and its not illegal in Oz to circumvent it even if it was.

Pay tv is a waste of money, but foxtel is shipping with a nice dual tuner unit with 200gb of disk space (which would do what you want).

Still pay tv = bleh.
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Postposted on Sat Apr 14, 2007 2:38 am

Australia has alot of HDTV channels and content on its Free to Air. I just recomend if yo get a FusionHDTV card, just keep away from their software. Its buggy as hell.
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Postposted on Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:09 pm

Yeah I've recently found that out after getting a big LCD telly with inbuilt tuner. The quality of CSI looked awesome last night on the HD channel.

I've been looking moreso now at shuttle SFF PCs.

In regards to recording live tv, can you record straight to mpeg4 or do you need to convert it later?

Also, are the shuttle's PSU's able to run a 7600GS or will that draw too much power?

Thanks,,
Owen.
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