Building a HTPC

Discussion in 'Computers' started by SteveKeller, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. SteveKeller

    SteveKeller Auditioning

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    I need a little guidance finishing my HTPC. I have a 3Ghz Processor w/1 gig ram, a 250 gig HD, and 2 dvd drives (one read / one read write) running Windows XP Pro sp2. So far so good (I hope). I'm looking for suggestions for video cards, video capture cards, PVR software, etc.

    I'd like to mainly use this machine to record cable tv (HD and SD) and play back at a later time, or burn to a dvd to watch at another location. In the future, I'd look at ripping my CD collection, and possibly my DVD's as well.

    I know there's probably a hundred different things that I'm forgetting about, but feel free to add any additional information or suggestions.

    Thanks
     
  2. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    I recently put together a HTPC which I have been enjoying immensely. Here's some of the items I have which you are still looking for:

    Video card: I choose an NVidia Geforce 6600 256MB 128-bit DDR PCI-Express card since it was about the most powerful card without a fan. Gotta keep the HTPC noise down.

    Capture card: I've had a Hauppauge PVR-250 for a few years now and it works great. It can't do high def though. If you're looking for a hi-def card try the MyHD-130 or the DVICO Fusion Cards. The Fusion cards can do QAM if that's how you're cable company sends it's Hi def signal.

    PVR Software: Lots of choices here. I've been using SageTV for about 2 years and am very happy with it.

    Keyboard/mouse: A wireless keyboard/mouse is a must have for controlling from the couch. Unless you're going to try to do a remote and program Girder. I bought the gyration keyboard/mouse suite but only because it was on sale. It's normally overpriced.

    DVD Playback software: I've found Zoomplayer to be a great piece of software. Very customizable and works well with ffDShow for post processing.
     
  3. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    OTA HD channels yes (also the ones cable broadcasts) but most of the cable-only HD channels are encrypted so you won't be able to do this.

    Make sure you have optical out from your sound card if you're going to use this HTPC for playback.
     
  4. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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    I have the AGP version of this card. It's fine but before purchasing be aware that it has a tearing issue. It can't play back at above 1280x720 (I think), without tearing unless you're using VMR9 exclusive or overlay.

    I only mention it as I wish I'd have known about the issue before I bought it.
     
  5. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    Phil,

    What is tearing?
    I usually resize to 1280x720 but I have also resized to 2x (which would be 1440x960) and the image looked great, almost indistinguishable to Hi-Def. I use DScaler as the Video decoder and VMR9 exclusive as the renderer. Thanks.
     
  6. SteveKeller

    SteveKeller Auditioning

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    The sound card is an Audigy 2 or something, (I'm at work now and not certain of the version) and it has a digital out (coax). This should work as well as optical should it not?

    Steve
     

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