Poll: Do you have a home-theater PC?

With the exception of my desktop, the next most often-used PC in my home sits in the living room. I’ve had one in there for years now, and I wouldn’t want to do without. To start, the prospect of relying on a cable provider’s box to time-shift television makes my skin crawl. I don’t see the point of having a television or entertainment center that can’t access all the music, photos, movies, and other content located on my closet file server, either.

So, what about your living room? That’s the focus of this week’s poll, which asks: Do you have a home-theater PC? You can cast your vote over on the right column on the front page or after clicking on the comment link below.

Last week’s poll tackled PSU wattage ratings. The vast majority of voters have PSUs in the 401-800W range, split between 38% running 401-600W PSUs and 35% with 601-800W models. 10% of voters have a power supply that pushes 201-400W, and the same number are in 801-1000W territory. Only 2% of those who voted are running PSUs that exceed a kilowatt, while 1% manage to get by with less than 200W. Doc would be proud of the 2% whose desktop DeLoreans are powered by 1.21 Gigawatts.

Comments closed
    • liar
    • 9 years ago

    GA-MA770T-UD3P F3 motherboard, with an AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black , unlocked to 4 cores, XFX Radeon HD 4890 Graphics Card outputting to a …Benq Joybee. 5’X 7′ @ 1280 x 1024. 1T hard drive primary, audio through living room stereo (4.1), 4 gigs ddr3 and XP 64 professional. It was just a ‘try it’ configuration; I think my family might mutiny if I tried to remove it now. Hulu looks…real good. And I wound up using it for my websurfing needs as well. Authored the Bourne Trilogy into one long movie…good fun!
    Thinking of adding a second projector and trying for a 5′ x 14′ screen…
    Use VLC for my player

    • fantastic
    • 9 years ago

    AMD dual core 45 Watt with 4GB DDR2 RAM. Windows 7 Home 64-bit and 750 GB hard drive. “Silenced” Antec Solo case with 350 Watt Seasonic PSU. Hauppauge HVR-1800 with ATI 3450 for audio and video over HDMI into LCD TV.

    It’s big, but pretty quiet and efficient. I think it idles around 50 Watts and peaks near 65 Watts. I have a bad memory, but that seems close to reality.

    <rant>
    The Blu-ray reader is useless because of stupid PowerDVD software. Seriously, you just get the latest Blu-ray from Blockbuster, Amazon, Best-buy or whatever, you shove it in the Blu-ray reader and it NEEDS an update or it won’t play. The update is only 200MB and hosted on a crappy old 56k modem in BFE. I have a separate Blu-ray player for that now. It still takes forever to get updates installed, but it seems less frequent and more reliable. It will usually play without the update because they can’t expect everyone to have their Blu-rays plugged into the Internet. Amazingly demanding technology. I just watch the movies. You can have all of the “extras”. Oh, and absurdly bright blue LEDs SUCK. I have about five layers of tape over the things to make them dim enough to ignore for more than a second.
    </rant>

    You’d think the CPU would be a bottleneck, but the way I use it, it’s always the internet that’s the bottleneck. Updates and streams choking are the main problems. After that, it’s HDMI (HDCP) synchronization problems. Usually only a problem when resuming from S3 sleep. Windows 7 MC’s guide seems kind of slow and fat, but it’s free and functional.

    The main benefit for me is that I can record while I’m asleep or doing something else and watch it later when I’m bored. TV is becoming pass’e though. Hopefully fall will bring the new episodes. Viva la Netflix!

    • cRock
    • 9 years ago

    Still squeezing some life from the retired Powerbook.

    • mcnabney
    • 9 years ago

    I have two HTPCs.

    A C2D@3ghz, 5850, 8GB, Win7, hooked to the PJ.
    A Zotac with ION, 2GB, and Win7 hooked to an HDTV.

    Connected with gigE, HDHomerun provides tuners, and 18TB available on the WHS. I use Media Browser (through Mediacenter) for stored content, Mediacenter for TV, and game on the C2D rig. Netflix and Hulu do considerable duty on both.

    • Veerappan
    • 9 years ago

    Yup.

    Specs:
    Gigabyte 780G mATX
    Phenom X3 720 (recently upgraded from x2 5000+)
    4GB DDR2 800
    1.5TB Storage (x2 in RAID 1 mirror)
    Happaugge 1250 (PCI-e x1 HD Tuner)
    802.11G PCI card for network (router’s only 802.11G for now)
    Original Antec Sonata for a case
    USB->IR converter for Microsoft’s Media Center remote control
    Wireless KB/Mouse
    iPhone as tertiary remote control
    Onkyo 7.1 Receiver
    42″ 720p Phillips Plasma

    Video travels over HDMI from the 780G’s built-in video. Audio is currently going over optical from the motherboard, but I’ll soon be converting that to pump the audio over the HDMI (used to be using a DVI->HDMI adapter w/ the optical audio, haven’t gotten around to fixing the audio yet).

    OS is Mythbuntu 10.04 64-bit, and it’s sharing out its storage to other PCs in the house while simultaneously allowing remote MythTV Front ends to connect to it (primarily my Desktop and laptop).

    It works fine, but it did go through a recent CPU upgrade when I determined that the choppiness that I was experiencing watching the Tour de France was because Flash was sucking down 1.6+ of the 2 cores available when playing the Versus flash stream full screen. Changing from an X2 5000+ to a Phenom II x3 720 brought that down to about 1 core max.

    • Laykun
    • 9 years ago

    My home file server counts as my HTPC ๐Ÿ˜€

    Ubuntu 10.04 64bit

    Athlon II X4 635
    6GB DDRII 800mhz
    2 x Dell Perc 5/i RAID controllers
    Foxcon AD7A-S mobo
    X-Fi OEM Xtrememusic
    Onboard ATi HD3300

    1.5TB (500×3) RAID 0 Dropbox, for general use, I let friends backup their PCs here while they reinstall
    7.5TB (6×1.5TB) RAID 5 Media
    3.0TB (5x750GB) RAID 5 Media

    Running SMPlayer (frontend for mplayer)and using HDMI to my LCD TV and the XFi to a set of Logitech Z-5500s does the job. I usually access it through NXClient or VNC (Seeing as their’s no android/iOS version of NXClient).

    • Corrado
    • 9 years ago

    I have a Boxee PC, but I don’t think I’m going to keep using it for that for too long. I might sell my Mac Mini and Hackintosh that box.

    I have 2 xbox360’s and a PS3, so streaming, netflix and (shortly) Hulu will be covered. I also have bought MediaMall PlayOn so Hulu actually streams to the consoles as well, but its a pain because it has to run on a PC, which the only one I have is the HTPC which plays hulu directly in Boxee. I am moving shortly back into a real place, so once I set the HT back up properly I may rearrange the setup.

    • Synchromesh
    • 9 years ago

    Yes, a Dell Zino. Upgraded to:
    1. AMD 6850e dual core CPU
    2. 4GB PC6400 RAM
    3. WD 500GB 7200rpm disk I had laying around
    4. AMD Radeon 4330 MXM card
    5. DVDRW drive

    Altogether cost – $330 or so plus a few parts I had laying around. Black Friday rules! Of course took Dell over 1 month to ship it but at least they did. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Trymor
    • 9 years ago

    I have been using ‘HTPC’s’ since DVD players first came out. The cheapest I could find a DVD player was $400, so for $200 I bought the Creative drx2 (I believe it was) with a hardware acceleration card instead.

    Somewhere around the year 2000, I hooked the PC to a 852×480 projector via VGA filling an 8′ diagonal screen I made from slightly textured PVC wall board and pine for a frame. Cost me about $30 and I enjoyed for years.

    I have never owned a DVD player, and the only BlueRay player I own is the PS3.

    Anyone out there with me?

    Try

    • thermistor
    • 9 years ago

    Just moved my HTPC out of the basement last weekend. Was hooked to a 42″ plasma, now a 22″ LCD monitor in the bedroom. Specs:

    Foxconn 7050-based mobo
    Cel 420 OC’ed to 2.4 GHz
    2 Gb ram
    8400GS card
    SB 24 Live card
    Wireless G card
    Pinnacle WMC compliant remote
    Haup 750 USB tuner stick
    Wireless G card
    Optical drive for the occasional CD/DVD
    Ancient amp + Yamaha bookcase speakers

    Streams Netflix great, streams content on other PCs in the house great, analog cable with the WMC guide/preview etc., really enhances the sofa-surfing experience. No glitches or disturbing pauses for anything. Software install is kept very light to not bog this box down.

    Purposefully built with low-power stuff, and an 80+ PSU so I can let it run 24/7…figure with the LCD monitor it’s still less a power sucker than the 27″ CRT Zenith TV it replaced. Besides 27″ TV just overpowered our bedroom and looked gauche.

    • Palek
    • 9 years ago

    Got a Shuttle AMD barebone with an Athlon X2 4850e, a Radeon HD 4670 and an LG Blu-ray / HD-DVD combo drive. Plays pretty much any type of media. It can handle even some slightly older FPS games and some recent racing games at 1080p just fine. Dirt 2 and GRID are awesome to play on a 1080p screen! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jackbomb
    • 9 years ago

    Yes!
    Pentium M 780 processor overclocked to 2.82GHz (667MHz FSB, 2MB L2 cache).
    Asus P4GD1 mobo (915P chipset, Socket 478, PCIe) with a CT-479 adaptor for the P-M processor
    4GB of CL2 PC3200 memory, dual channel
    Radeon HD 5750 video card
    LG Blu-Ray/HD-DVD drive
    1.0TB Seagate
    Windows 7 Pro

    Connected to an Onkyo TX-SR707 receiver and a 63″ Samsung plasma.
    Speakers: Polk Audio TSI400 towers, CS20 center, four TSI200 bookshelf surrounds, and a 12″ SVS box sub.

    • MHzTweaker
    • 9 years ago

    Home Theater consists of left overs from my last PC:

    Antec 900 case ( I know not really a HT case)
    PC Power and Cooling 1k watt power supply
    Gigabyte P45 motherboard
    Intel Q9450 CPU at 3GHz
    Xigmatek cooler
    Gskill DDR-2 PC8800 RAM (4gig) Pi series
    Seagate 500gb HD
    20x DVD burner
    4x Sony BlueRay burner
    eVGA GTX 295 video card
    Microsoft wireless entertainment desktop 7000 (bluetooth) keyboard + mouse
    Adesso ARC-1100 media Center Remote Control
    Wireless N network card with dual 7dbi external antennas
    Samsung LN52B750 52 inch 240 LCD
    Speakers Logitech Z-5500 digital 5.1 surround

    all media is stored on my main rig with 14tb storage plus 14tb backup

      • YellaChicken
      • 9 years ago

      l[

        • MHzTweaker
        • 9 years ago

        yeah, believe it or not the PC P&C 1kw does not have the proper 8pin connectors for the 4870×2 and 5870 in my new rig. It was bought back in 2006. I am not sure whether or not it would drive 10 hard drives, the 2 vid cards, 3 burners and 4GHz i7 on the Classified. I bought a 1600watt X3 that has been on for 16 months without a break or issue.

          • dashbarron
          • 9 years ago

          Geesh, I’d love your left over pcs.

    • wiak
    • 9 years ago

    My Current HTPC:
    AMD Athlon II X2 250
    Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H (780G from 2008, that still plays Blur-Ray Disc flawlessly using hardware acceleration!)
    OCZ Gold XTC 4GB DDR2 PC6400
    Samsung Spinpoint F3 EcoGreen 500GB (1 platter, 5400rpm aka zero noise!)
    Hiper HMC-1K53A Slim Black HTPC Case

    its kinda funny i have had my 780G motherboard for like 2 years now, and people still buy slow ion setups with awful cpus..

    i used to use a X2 5000+ from my old 690G build erlier but i chose to upgrade it to a X2 250 late last year ;D

    bah i sould have taken a Athlon II 240e (45W) or 235e (45W) or 260U (25W) oh well it aint that hot, its just around 42c idle, not that bad compared to my old X2 5000 that was over 56c idle ๐Ÿ˜‰

    btw people that look at ion setup should instead looking at AMD 880G setup with a low power amd cpu, way much better performance for the same price

    • d0g_p00p
    • 9 years ago

    I use XBMC on the original XBox. I find that it does everything I want for a media center PC. I think I would definitely build a new box to use as my HTPC if i had a HD TV. Right now I just have a standard TV

    I use my XBox with WD TV Live + and I find that both of them are perfect right now for my needs.

      • kdashjl
      • 9 years ago

      same here those old xbox with xbmc are everything for my needs

    • N_Raged
    • 9 years ago

    My PS3 serves as my media center, networked to my media server desktop. But I guess that doesn’t count.

    • [+Duracell-]
    • 9 years ago

    I think once Bulldozer comes out, the parts in my current rig will become my HTPC. I just bought a beautiful 42″ plasma HDTV…everything I’ve thrown at it looks gorgeous, but I have no HD content outside of a 360. It would be nice to be able to have a music collection playing through a receiver, or be able to watch ripped movies.

    I did bring over my rig to the TV to play a little Earthbound on ZSNES…that was interesting with the 4xHQ filter. It looked quite good for an SNES game ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s another thing I would use it for.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 9 years ago

    Can do it, but not until I get a flat screen TV!

    • Ruiner
    • 9 years ago

    Tivo HD and pyTivo.

    • grug
    • 9 years ago

    I do, but I find it very frustrating to have to switch between Windows Media Center for TV recording/Blu-Ray playback (either directly or mounting ISOs) with MyMovies+ArcSoft and XBMC for everything else.

    Okay, so adding an XBMC menu item to WMC’s extras menu isn’t exactly difficult, but I just wish XBMC supported DVB / recording and

    MediaPortal has never quite cut it for me, and I’d really want a good Blu-Ray player.

      • jpostel
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t understand the issue you have with MyMovies+Arcsoft TMT. I rip my BDs to disc (I find folders work better than isos sometimes).

      I don’t have any issues.

    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    I like my HTPC, but I am looking forward to the day where we have a service like Netflix that completely replaces cable. Netflix comes close, but not quite there yet.

    • moriz
    • 9 years ago

    built one out of spare parts and an old hp pavilion case. getting everything to work with the proprietary HP case was a major pain; it even has nonstandard start button pinouts.

    but it works just fine; really great for watching movies and chinese soap operas. even has a 5750 to play games on.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 9 years ago

    It’s not worth it in my household. The cable DVR can’t be beat for price and simplicity. Yeah, there are features I’d rather have, but it can never have the simplicity and convenience of the cable box without major $$ investment.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Couch behind the computer chair, move the monitor forward to play movies. Works fineg{<.<}g Watch few movies these days, nothing can really keep my attention compared to games/Internetg{<.<}g

      • dashbarron
      • 9 years ago

      I like this idea best. A good monitor, a decent audio setup, life is good.

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    I used to just hook my desktop to the TV for movies. I save all my movies in a high quality .mp4 format…which I found out my PS3 will not complain when trying to play, so my 500GB PS3 hard drive had about 250 movies. It beats moving my desktop all the time now!

    • adam1378
    • 9 years ago

    I use an AMD for the HTPC and Intel for the gaming/utility pc. The 790gx,555black,5450 for hd audio and have 3tb of bluray .iso so far. Win7 and powerdvd9 software it is quiet and a multi-use HTPC for movie watching. Also using Slysoft software also.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 9 years ago

    No. I’ve got enough parts laying around to easily build one, though.

    • kvndoom
    • 9 years ago

    HT Omega Claro halo XT -> 5-channel amp -> speakers…

    Music, movies, internet, games, all from one box. Now if I could just afford a 30″ monitor… ๐Ÿ™

    • hubick
    • 9 years ago

    Sadly, yes.

    – At some point Windows Vista decided it wanted to randomly not resume one of the hard drives when the machine comes out of S3 sleep. Now it has to stay on all the time sucking power.
    – ATI decided they wanted their newer drivers to randomly (one out of five times) reboot the whole PC when switching the receiver from some other input back to the HTPC. Moving the mouse before switching back may increase or decrease your odds of success.
    – ATI decided they wanted the sound/audio portion of their HDMI video card to randomly disappear and reappear. Sometimes it will boot with no sound, then work 5 mins later. Other times, it will drop out randomly. (power disconnect ice cold boot usually brings it back).
    – My Hauppage HD-PVR box likes to overheat and lockup on higher quality settings or longer recordings. Most sub-two hours movies can make it, but I have to point my air conditioner right at it to get the 4+ hour Tour de France to have any chance of recording.
    – PowerDVD decides monthly that it wants either a software update or $100 new version to successfully playback any recent Blu-Ray release.
    – PowerDVD has no clue how to switch the HTPC between 60hz and 24hz for Blu-Ray playback (I spent $$ for 120hz LCD, and want to feed it clean 24p).
    – Manually configuring HotKeys to get ATI Catalyst Control Center to switch between output frequencies will work on prime numbered ATI driver versions released on odd numbered months, but only during the first half of the week. Or something.
    – SageTV PVR software likes to jump random distances when using the 10 second rewind/advance through the HD-PVR’s H.264 files. The longer the recording, the more inaccurate. The forward button can actually take you back in time from the current spot, but only on alternate presses (I kid you not) – usually it alternates fwd/back/fwd/back and as you continue it actually zero’s in on where it should be in the file and becomes more accurate. The initial jumps can be crazy wild and disorienting on long files though.

    I’m sure I’m leaving out some of the other reasons why I love my HTPC so much.

      • glynor
      • 9 years ago

      Sounds like you got a bad HD-PVR. I have two of them. Both work beautifully with both BeyondTV. (I own a license, but I didn’t use Sage 6 at all because it was clunky, ugly, fiddly, and later had many issues with the HD-PVR.) BeyondTV has basically been abandoned by SnapStream, but still actually works fine for me on my main recording system (Windows 7 64-bit). Unfortunately the Link clients lock up randomly under Windows 7 64-bit when starting playback, and can crash the server if you change channels a lot in quick succession, so I’ve started the switch over to SageTV 7. Sage 7 has handled my HD-PVRs fine so far, though I’m still qualifying it in testing, so I haven’t used it much in production.

      I’ve had the oldest of my two HD-PVRs for around 18 months. It’s locked up maybe twice in that time. My newer one (about 7 months old now) has not locked up even once yet. The only “special” thing I did was to lock my cable boxes to a fixed resolution output and made sure to use the current driver. I did wait for quite some time before I bought the first one because the early models obviously had some serious issues. Current models seem to have fixed it completely, in my experience.

      My server runs right now with those two HD-PVRs and an ATI Theater Pro 650 for analog cable content. Works beautifully.

      I don’t use optical media directly anymore, but PowerDVD was always a pain in the butt. It is much easier to rip the discs and store the originals away somewhere safe anyway.

      For the 24p judder problem, J. River MC 15 will let you set a custom refresh rate /[

    • PrecambrianRabbit
    • 9 years ago

    Where you all are, does your cable service allow you to get their full range of channels via a tuner card or cable card? When I was last looking at such a setup, I was told that I could only get the analog channels that way. So, I stuck with the provider’s DVR box.

      • hubick
      • 9 years ago

      Component connection from Cable Box to HD-PVR capture. HD-PVR infra-red transmitter controls cable box.

    • elnad2000
    • 9 years ago

    I have an HTPC. Antec NSK2400 with a AMD Phenom X3 something. Also have a 5750 that can run games very well on my 46″ LCD (1920×1080). Can’t push all the settings to max, but will surely replace it for a GTX 460 someday. Also have a little wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse and a XBOX controller with Xpadder for games.

    I’m also running MediaPortal with StreamedMP and Fanart Handler. I tried XBMC and MythTV but MediaPortal run best for me. I have an Hauppauge card but never succeed to see TV (digital cable) on it. Really don’t care since I have other way to watch tv episodes. Would like the PVR feature, but in Canada, we don’t have CableCard.

    Last.FM looks great too. Always have good comments for my HTPC when friends come visit. And everything is cable connect. Wifi G wasn’t enough so I went gigabit. Now even 1080p mkv run perfectly.

    • HighTech4US
    • 9 years ago

    HTPC System

    Hardware:
    Intel C2Q Q8300
    4GB RAM (3.19GB usable)
    nVidia GeForce GT 240 1GB DDR5 (96 CUDA cores)
    (2) Hauppauge 1250 Tuners
    1TB Seagate, will be adding in an additional 2TB WD soon
    Old Silver Mini-Tower Case (Matches other equipment fine)
    50″ Samsung Plasma
    MCE Remote
    Gyration Ulta GT Suite (RF wireless mini-keyboard and gyro air mouse)

    Software:

    Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit (more compatible with programs than 64-bit)

    Windows Media Center (got tired of the constant beta that MythTV software is in a constant state of) and Nero LiquidTV went belly up. WMC just works right out of the box. Plus the FREE program guide is a nice addition.

      • henfactor
      • 9 years ago

      Sigh, unless you have a specific program that doesn’t like working in x64, this statement seems very windows XP-ish.

        • HighTech4US
        • 9 years ago

        I have friends who regret installing/upgrading to Windows 7 64-bit because some of their applications wouldn’t run on it.

        I see no need to gain that 0.81gb of ram just to find out that one of my applications (now or in the future) won’t run on the 64-bit OS. What a pain that would be.

        Plus don’t forget 64-bit OS and applications do have a larger memory foot print so I see it as a wash (not having the 0.81gb ram).

        Again, why take unnecessary risks?

          • ClickClick5
          • 9 years ago

          Try upgrading/updating the programs. Norton Ghost 2003 hates 64bit.

            • HighTech4US
            • 9 years ago

            Seems like a waste to spend time and money on a non-existent problem. Win 7 32-bit works on all my applications and I just don’t see a 64-bit only application that I would need to be on my HTPC.

            This “go with Win 7 64-bit” no matter if is reasonable or not just seems like a bunch of jonesing to me.

            • Waco
            • 9 years ago

            Funny, I was going to say this “go with Win 7 32-bit” no matter if is reasonable or not just seems like a bunch of jonesing to me. Unless you have a specific program or piece of hardware that doesn’t work properly in 64 bit (I honestly haven’t run into *any* and I have Win7 64 on all my machines except my netbook) I see no reason to not move to 64 bit given the chance.

            Hell, the performance increases from 64 bit drivers alone are worth it.

            Mine is the following:

            X3 720 @ 3 GHz
            8 GB DDR2-800
            ~11.5 TB storage (external boxes + 1.5 TB internal)
            Radeon 4830 512 MB
            Windows 7 x64
            Powercolor ATI Theater 650 (I think that’s the card)
            60″ LG 1080p plasma
            Marantz 5.1 receiver – old roommate left it behind…moron ๐Ÿ™‚

            • Homerr
            • 9 years ago

            I had to upgrade from Hauppauge PVR-150’s to a WinTV-HTR-2250 when I went from XP Media Center 32 bit to Win7 Ult 64-bit. But I also converted from SD to HD in my recording. That’s the only thing I had to change.

            • indeego
            • 9 years ago

            /[<"Hell, the performance increases from 64 bit drivers alone are worth it."<]/ Which ones againg{

            • Waco
            • 9 years ago

            There was an article on HardwareCunucks or HardOCP…I can’t seem to find it at the moment. If you run SLi/Crossfire or run at high resolution with antialiasing the 64 bit drivers performed anywhere from 5-25% better (obviously depending on the game).

            If I can find the link again I’ll post it up.

            • Veerappan
            • 9 years ago

            VMWare Infrastructure Client for ESX Server 3
            eBahn Reader from Bentley Publishers (electronic manual for my car)

            Those are the two programs that I still use that won’t run in a 64-bit OS. They do run fine in either XP Mode or VirtualBox.

            Many older games also won’t run in a 64-bit OS, but those will often run under either emulation or in a VM (especially a VM that offers 3D acceleration and USB passthrough for controllers).

            I’ve moved to 64-bit Win7 on all my machines, but there are programs out there that don’t work in 64-bit Windows.

    • JimKirk
    • 9 years ago

    I built one that holds digital copies of all my dvd’s. (500 meg C: drive and 2T data drive for movies). I’m reasonably happy with Windoze Media Ctr and it’s remote control. It’s HDMI to my Samsung 55″ LED, and optical sound out to my Logitech Z5500 speaker systems. It isn’t exactly home theater quality, but it’s 1080P 1920×1280. My laptop does my day to day computing. PS3 is good too.

    • jackaroon
    • 9 years ago

    I would really like to make one, but I have this nagging fear that once I get the hardware together, I’ll find out that I hate the software, or the cablecard adapter is missing some vital feature.

    • Ruiner
    • 9 years ago

    What is this ‘legal’ thing you speak of?

      • Ruiner
      • 9 years ago

      Argh. Reply to 7

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 9 years ago

    Does a PS3 count?

    I can stream just about anything to it.

      • tu2thepoo
      • 9 years ago

      i use my xbox360, connected to my server computer running the free version of tversity. i just re-encode incompatible formats (.mkv, usually) to wmv or h.264.

      it’s less hassle for my friends/roommates to use when they want to watch a movie. few things drag a party down like having to explain how to log in to the HTPC, find the movies, load them up – oh wait, windows media player won’t load the plugin, oh crap, VLC won’t output to the toslink for some reason…

      • YellaChicken
      • 9 years ago

      Same, could do with an option for ‘My Console serves as mine’ or similar. I just picked ‘Desktop/Laptop serves’ instead though, the contents streaming from that to the PS3 anyway so I guess it’s the same.

    • PixelArmy
    • 9 years ago

    I have one basic one and another one I also use for gaming/development.

    Basic:
    C2D E4500
    6GB RAM
    Sapphire Radeon HD4650
    Hauppauge 2250
    1TB WD Black
    Lian Li PC-C37B
    Logitech DiNovo Mini
    Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
    40″ Samsung LCD

    Power:
    i7-860
    4GB RAM
    Gigabyte GeForce GTS250
    Hauppauge 2250
    1TB WD Black
    Antec Fusion 430
    Logitech Wave KB/Mouse (when I need a keyboard)
    MCE Remote that came with the 2250.
    Receiver for the XBox 360 Controller.
    Win7 Professional 64-bit
    42″ Westinghouse LCD /17″ ViewSonic LCD

    Only hiccup is streaming HD video between the two via WMC doesn’t stutters while WMP12 doesn’t (and the loss of WMC controls is annoying).

    • Thanato
    • 9 years ago

    Made from the extra or old parts, but I did buy a blu-ray player for it.

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 9 years ago

    I have no real need for a home theater PC. My PS3 can play DVD’s, Blu-ray and DivX, and that’s pretty much the majority of what I need right there. I also have a Toshiba HD-A30 HD DVD player and a high definition cable box. I have a bookshelf stereo hooked up to the audio out jacks of the TV. If I ever really needed support for any other file formats, I would probably just go out and buy one of those Western Digital HD media player devices.

      • Prestige Worldwide
      • 9 years ago

      Count me in on PS3 for the same purpose. It’s networked to all computers in my apartment and all of my roomates stream media from their PC’s to it. We don’t have TV but my roomates download TV shows and then stream them to the PS3. That’s all I need at the moment.

    • mbutrovich
    • 9 years ago

    Mac Mini with 10TB DAS reporting for duty.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 9 years ago

      I have a imaginary PC with tons of storage as well. Please explain how you have 10TB of storage on that setup

    • marvelous
    • 9 years ago

    Don’t use actual PC but use video box

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    What is the definition of “home theater PC” in this poll? I’ve got a Mac Mini connected to my TV — does that count? Or are you only focused on PCs with a specific version of Windows?

      • Kurotetsu
      • 9 years ago

      Considering a Mac Mini is a PC, and since home theater PCs are usually used to stream/play content to a television or entertainment center, I’d say yes does it count.

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    Shuttle SD11G5 w/ a Pentium M @ 1.73 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB HDD. Windows Media Center records my DOTA shows via an Hauppauge 1250.

    ~40W power consumption and literally no noise (the single fan rarely spins up). The thing puts itself to sleep when it’s not recording a show, and wakes itself up prior to a show starting.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    I see no need in my life for such a PC, mostly because consoles do it easier and generally speaking just as well with less fuss and faster boot times.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    The two links “Do you have a home theater PC?” and “last week’s poll” both point to the previous poll about PSUs.

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    How about an option “I did but I got fed up with it”. At least two of my other friend and I have had a poor experience with our htpc. Getting them to work with your tv service can be a pain in the butt. Plus it uses tons of power. It is a huge waste of energy. If you turn it off then it takes forever to start up.

    The only one I enjoyed was XBMC on my original xbox. It didn’t work with TV but it was great for playing videos over the network.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      “It is a huge waste of energy.”

      What’s sad is that I bet most people don’t even notice this because the slew of cable boxes, recorders, and DVD players most people leave running 24/7 with their TVs are just as bad.

        • insulin_junkie72
        • 9 years ago

        Your typical HD DVR that’s standard cableco issue is a major energy hog.

        Most of them suck down 30 watts even when they’re “off” (which is the major killer, IMO), and in the ballpark of 50-70 watts in usage.

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 9 years ago

          The hard drive is still spinning when off, and the Satellite dvr’s even have the display output active.

            • Duck
            • 9 years ago

            That’s just piss poor.

      • kiwik
      • 9 years ago

      Just learn to use the sleep mode in S3 ACPI with Windows 7. Your PC will consume less than 5w and will wake in less than 5 seconds.

      Try doing that with your PS3 + HD PVR.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        My PS3 turns on faster than the TV, so that isn’t an issue for me.

      • burntham77
      • 9 years ago

      With the right hardware choices (and there are a LOT of them these days) you can build a fairly power efficient HTPC, as I have. As far as waiting for them to bootup, I’d rather wait the minute it takes to bootup than just leave it on all day. It really just depends on usage.

      • CheetoPet
      • 9 years ago

      My solution was to all that was

      – cancel cable subscription and give them their box back
      – have box auto suspend after an hour

      But I prolly watch less TV than the average bear so might not be the best solution for all. I can personally stand to wait 24 hours to watch the latest Family Guy episode.

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 9 years ago

    Too lazy to build it. Waiting for someone to build an amp with the latest audio and video codec support and a 6″ or better display with USB storage support and I’ll retire my DSP-1. It was way too much work dealing with crappy tuner drivers (I’m looking at you Hauppage!!!) and various updates/patches, etc. to be worth the effort for what I was getting/wanting in so far as entertainment was concerned. The theatre system is a highly specialized, single-purpose tool and I don’t want to muck it up with IM, e-mail, internet, gaming, …etc. When I push the power button, I want instant on and ready to rock. Television is pretty much a wasteland right now (to me) and a server to store vids that the amp can access wirelessly or through a hard connection would be my preferred method for viewing programming if I’m so lazy that I can’t be bothered to put the file on a thumbdrive or SATA harddrive and walking it over to the amp, next to the USB dock.

    Of course, a ‘theatre’ system to me is something that has a centre channel with at least two 6″ mids and a high horn to complement the L/R speakers with two 12″ sub speakers and separate mid and high emitters…in each front unit and single 10s with mid and highs in the rear along with a 10″ powered sub to help with the booms. Logitech 5.1 does not equate as a ‘theatre’ system. Altec Lansing and two can systems need not apply. Mostly semantics but those are not theatre systems. Entertainment centers…maybe, but not theatre systems.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 9 years ago

      lol, wow. where did you get your information with regards to your speaker preference? I find your size reference amusing and dissing Logitech 5.1’s as not a ‘theatre’ system. I won’t even get into how you don’t take the size or shape of the room in consideration.

      Just curious on how you came to your conclusions what you think is a “‘theatre’ system”

      • MHzTweaker
      • 9 years ago

      Home Theater consists of left overs from my last PC:

      Antec 900 case ( I know not really a HT case)
      PC Power and Cooling 1k watt power supply
      Gigabyte P45 motherboard
      Intel Q9450 CPU at 3GHz
      Xigmatek cooler
      Gskill DDR-2 PC8800 RAM (4gig) Pi series
      Seagate 500gb HD
      20x DVD burner
      4x Sony BlueRay burner
      eVGA GTX 295 video card
      Microsoft wireless entertainment desktop 7000 (bluetooth) keyboard + mouse
      Adesso ARC-1100 media Center Remote Control
      Wireless N network card with dual 7dbi external antennas
      Samsung LN52B750 52 inch 240 LCD
      Speakers Logitech Z-5500 digital 5.1 surround

      all media is stored on my main rig with 14tb storage plus 14tb backup

    • cobalt
    • 9 years ago

    Running MythTV here. It’s also my home file server as well, running RAID on a few TB drives. If I’m going to leave it running all the time and want a bunch of storage, might as well dual-purpose it, right? Silverstone HTPC case with VFD — wonderful that it fits full-size gear and multiple hard disks, though the iMon VFD’s IR protocol is frustratingly non-standard.

    Looking forward to internet based streaming eventually widespread enough to ditch tuner cards and program guides entirely….

      • notfred
      • 9 years ago

      Another MythTV user here. My server is in the basement though with a network boot diskless frontend, plus all my other PCs can run the frontend if needed as well.

    • Jigar
    • 9 years ago

    22″ LCD on my main PC which is in my bed room is all i need. I also have a TV which is eating dust.

    • no51
    • 9 years ago

    Well, right now I have an old AGP S754 Athlon running XP hooked up to a 32″ HDTV that I use to stream videos with, does that count?

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    Had my roommates Dell c2q 6600 w/ 8gb and a nv 9600GT running as our HTPC, but I just put a new (last gen) mac mini in there to free up his pc.

    • paulWTAMU
    • 9 years ago

    I want one but have no immediate plans. I want to *legally* be able to buy software to rip my DVD’s and Blu-Rays to a PC and leave that hooked to my TV via an HDMI port…but stupid DMCA

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    putting my gaming rig on the 60 ” plasma this weekend.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Awesome! Plasmas are so pretty. LCDs are for geeks.

        • ew
        • 9 years ago

        Mmmm….. 60″ plasma.

      • bittermann
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah baby! I have mine on a 50″ Plasma….

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    I keep saying I’d buy/build one, but every time I price one out I’m too broke to do it. Hopefully in the next year I can at least grab one of the new Zotac Zboxes or a WDTV Live to use with my receiver.

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    Yes, but I do NOT use Windows Media Center for my PVR and Media Management duties. SageTV 7 and J. River Media Center FTW!

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    I just use my pc as my media center. I have a 15 inch screen at 1024×768, that’s in my bedroom. I just use that, as If im going to watch something, chances are it’s late, and I don’t want to have pants on.

      • morphine
      • 9 years ago

      Hm good point on the small screen, the things one tends to watch without any pants on are usually not HD to begin with…

        • jdaven
        • 9 years ago

        Not true, that market is sometimes first to adopt new technologies such as HD. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          uhhhhh i watch bbc shows, such as mighty boosh, the extras, and the occasional hollywood movie. I behave myself gentlemen. DO YOU KNOW WHY WOULD HAPPEN TO ME IF I WAS CAUGHT DOING THAT?!?!??!!! OMG I DON’T EVEN WANT TO IMAGINE IT!!

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    doublepost ftw!!

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      booo, way to waste a first post

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This