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Questions on building a HTPC.


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11 replies to this topic

#1 of 12 Jeff_Standley

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Posted September 18 2005 - 02:27 PM

I am getting ready to start buying the pieces to build a home theater PC. Does anyone have suggestions on what is good to use or what not to leave out.
This PC would be for mainly movies, so probably not to many games on this one.
I would like to load all of my movies on to several hard drives and play right from the PC onto my TV.

Play all music directly onto my home stereo.
What type of chips would be best for this application?
What software is good for categorizing all music and movies?
And does Windows XP media center work nice?
What other software is good for this application and what is the best way to put your DVD's on your PC?
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#2 of 12 SethH

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Posted September 19 2005 - 12:16 AM

Most people I've heard from think Windows XP Media Center is pretty good. A lot of people use PowerStrip to output DVD's from your HTPC.

I would recommend an AMD processor (at leat the 3000+), at least 1GB of RAM, and two hard drives -- a 40-80GB drive for the system and a larger drive for your movies (250-500GB). I would recommend getting SATA drives.

#3 of 12 Jeff_Standley

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Posted September 19 2005 - 03:02 AM

I was probably going to get an AMD chip for this one and the software is still up in the air.
Are SATA the best way to hook up any drive or just for this configuration?
How high end do you think I need to go for the video card also?
"Do you think the average stormtrooper knows how to install a toilet main"?

#4 of 12 rob-h

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Posted September 19 2005 - 06:01 AM

If you are building it and dont intend to use it as a PVR, dont buy media center. Regular XP is cheaper. Look into Medial Portal. Its sort of a media center knock off that began life as Xbox media center before MS had their offical version. Its free and even includes a PVR mudule if you ever want it. of course if you ant to record TV as well as serve your ripped dvd's and mp3's media center is a good road to follow. It's better then Sagetv,BTV or meedio at this point for users that dont want to play with settings.

#5 of 12 Jeff_Standley

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Posted September 19 2005 - 07:08 AM

I will be using it for PVR, DVD, Music and just about everything else.
What is the best thing to use for ripping your DVD's to your hard drive?
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#6 of 12 Scott L

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Posted September 19 2005 - 07:27 AM

DVDShrink works great for ripping DVDs to the harddrive.

Meedio is another popular HTPC interface, though not free. I tried Media Portal and wanted to love it but there were too many kinks that prevented it from running smoothly on my system.

For hardware I'd recommend an nVidia 6600GT, and a couple of 300gig Seagate harddrives.

Nvidia's DVD decoder is really good and can use hardware acceleration from the 6600 line of cards and above. You'll get some cool choices like VMR pixel adaptive deinterlacing. The codec also comes with nStant media, another slick HTPC interface that has some potential.

#7 of 12 Jeff_Standley

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Posted September 19 2005 - 08:03 AM

Quote:
I'd recommend an nVidia 6600GT, and a couple of 300gig Seagate harddrives.

I was actually just looking at the Seagate drives over at Newegg.com, they have a 250GB for $125.
I DVD Shrink on my PC right now and use it for ripping. How do I get a DVD to play from the DVD Shrink folder, there are like 20 files.
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#8 of 12 Gabriel.H

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Posted September 19 2005 - 11:55 AM

Don't forget a nice sound card for 5.1 (or even 6.1/7.1), creative's soundblaster audigy 2 zs is good, I'm using it and sounds great. Another program that is nice to have is ANYDVD from Slysoft. This program is a driver that removes any copy protection from dvd's and even music cd's upon inserting the disc in the drive, no need to worry if dvd shrink or other program is going to be able to rip your dvd with this thing on.

#9 of 12 Jeff_Standley

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Posted September 21 2005 - 04:50 AM

Do I really even need a seperate program for the HTPC? I could just run everything from Windows XP right on my current PC right? I might just add two bigger hard drives and an allinwonder video card to my current PC. It has a P4 2.53GHZ processor. It has 1GB ram and I would add more. Would that work the same just without the fancy wrapping the program would offer or am I missing something going that way. I started to think about it an d I would rather build a new PC instead of just a dedicated HTPC.
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#10 of 12 rob-h

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Posted September 21 2005 - 05:30 AM

If you intend to connect it to a TV and run a at a decent res, you need a large interface to work with from across the room. Its called a 10ft interface. Also, if you have kids or a wife, this interface is very much perfered then them clicking around and screwing things upPosted Image

#11 of 12 Scott L

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Posted September 21 2005 - 05:40 AM

I've been getting by without an interface, but I also have a wireless Logitech mouse + LCD monitor on a movable arm attached to the wall. Getting movies to play is as simple as dragging Zoom Player to the projector (dual monitor setup). Then open the movie folder and drag the first .IFO file into Zoom Player.

You should at least try the trial version of Meedio or install Media Portal before you settle on XP's barebones GUI. The interfaces also work like a regular program, so you can exit from it when you don't need it anymore.

You can get by with using the digital audio port on most motherboards with onboard sound cards, to your receiver. If you want to listen to music though, consider getting the $20 Chaintech AV-710. It is able to pass an unaltered 44.1kHz stream, unlike the Audigy's.

#12 of 12 Jeff_Standley

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Posted September 21 2005 - 06:35 AM

The video card will determine the res wont it? If I run components out to the TV I should get nice quality right?
As far as running the PC, my wife or kids wont be doing that. I will definitely look at some programs before going barebones XP.
The sound card will need to be upgraded though. I was looking at some of the Audigy ones.
"Do you think the average stormtrooper knows how to install a toilet main"?