My Dream HTPC vs. budget considerations

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by aevarga, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. aevarga

    aevarga Auditioning

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    Alan
    Budget considerations aside for now, I would like to know what recommendations anyone has for building my own HTPC. I have looked at a few individual components, but there is so much to pull together I really need personal experiences to guide me. Here's what I'd ideally like to have:
    • stylish case, but not overboard on cost wireless remote control Windows 7 Home Premium OEM mobo and processor (Intel/AMD, speed, dual vs. quad processor) 6gb memory (overkill?) blue-ray DVD 1 Gbps Ethernet card video card with 1GB DDR3 onboard memory (low heat) with VGA/Toslink/HDMI outputs audio card with Toslink/HDMI outputs, Dolby Digital and DTS capability (if better than on video card?)
    I plan to also install Office 2010 Student Edition for about a year until laptops are purchased for college, at which time the HTPC will be used excluslively for:
    • Netflix streaming (to take over for XBox) Blue-Ray DVD viewing Internet TV viewing Internet video viewing (e.g. You Tube)
    I am really not happy with my Yamaha HTR-6030 receiver, so I also need a recommendation for a replacement that will provide one outbound video signal and one set of 5.1 audio signals, but with the following inbound connections:
    • HTPC PS3 XBox 360 PS2 (optional) Gamecube (optional)
    Has anyone assembled a receiver/HTPC rig something like this already? I don't have an unlimited budget, so I will probably need to compromise on some features of some components, but it doesn't seem like it should be that hard for someone who knows tech gear. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    If you want to do quick and simple for ~$700 you can get a Dell


    http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-zino-hd-410/pd


    Not that I'm a huge Dell fan but it is pretty hard to beat.

    It isn't hard to build a PC these days... If you search around I'n sure you can find some guides to help you. Otherwise you can find people like me that would be glad to build one for you.
     
  3. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    The dell isn't bad; but remember, again, because of it's setup it won't really handle the highest bitrates you can throw at it, and if you add a TV tuner, you better do it over ethernet. (ie, SiliconDust)


    That having been said, you need to really evaluate your budget, and then we can start talking about what you want to do. You can do "good" to "solid" under $400 easy of course, and then you've got people who go all out and drop $2k easy and use an HTPC as their full pre-pro. So, it all depends on what your goal is.
     
  4. aevarga

    aevarga Auditioning

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    Thanks for your initial replies, guys. I've already looked at the Dell Zino, and with options I was looking at about $800. The integrated sound card does support THX 7.1, and the motherboard has HDMI and SPDIF outputs. However, the video card (Radeon HD5450) comes in several configurations, and I don't know if the one with 1GB of DDR3 is an option. The one component I'd really like but don't see on here is a wireless remote, like for my receiver. Someone suggested that a wireless mouse and keyboard will accomplish the same thing. Is there a remote that would allow browsing on Hulu and Netflix while the HTPC is connected to the Internet, or do I need a traditional mouse and keyboard? Would I be better off buying what I can from Dell and upgrading as needed, or should I build one from scratch? I'm comfortable building a PC for regular use; I just don't know decent specs for an entertainment system. I played with Windows Media Center on my son's Windows 7 Dell notebook, and it can move around my home server without a problem, but again, that was done primarily with a mouse. And again, do either of you have a receiver you'd recommend that could accommodate multiple game systems, as well as the HTPC?
     
  5. jayjose01

    jayjose01 Auditioning

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    I custom build my HTPC a few months ago and running XBMC with custom skin. If you plan to go with custom built HTPC, I think this will be of some use to you http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=94199. Somewhere in the forum, they also cover how to configure XBMC to work with different kinds of remote. There's even an adroid app for smartphone and tablets to control your XBMC (I'm using my android phone as a remote for my HTPC/XBMC).
     

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