Configuring a HD Media Center PC

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by StarStrike, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. StarStrike

    StarStrike Auditioning

    Oct 3, 2008
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    Hey guys,

    I’m looking to build a high-end computer to supplement most of the equipment in the home theatre room (projector, Blu-ray player, HD-DVD player, etc.) so that I can stream HD content via my computer.

    My budget is about $1000-1200 maximum (keep in mind I don’t need a monitor) to act as a HD media centre PC. When I was younger I used to be quite a gamer so I have a general idea of what sort of parts I’d be looking for, but as I’ve been out of the loop of the latest and greatest technology for a while, I’m not sure how to approach building this comp (especially since it WONT be used for gaming).

    What do you guys suggest?

    Here’s what I’m looking for:

    High-end Processor (I was thinking of picking up a quadcore – I hear the new i-7 processors are coming out?)

    At least 4gb of RAM (As far as I know, standard DDR2/3 should be sufficient – if not lemme know!)

    High-capacity hard-drive (I think 1TB should be sufficient – anything you can suggest that’s cost-effective/can handle prolonged periods of use?)

    Here’s where I really have no idea what to do…

    I need this computer to be able to support full HDMI for BOTH audio and video. Is there something that can process this information and send it out to my home theatre system (e.g. can there be full motherboard support?)? Or is my only option to buy an HDMI compliant video card and sound card (what would you guys suggest that would fit my price range?).

    The last thing I’m curious about is whether I can completely control my computer remotely. I know media center PCs (e.g. by HP) allow it – is there an after-market solution that I can pick up (it can be either a remote – or something like an integrated keyboard and mouse) that can do something similar with HD streaming? The ‘media center’ software needs to be able to support and output full HD audio and video (Windows Media Player sucks – it can only output stereo as far as I know, or PowerDVD that doesn’t always work properly).

    I apologize for the long post. Thanks for taking the time to read over it! Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  2. hodedofome

    hodedofome Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 21, 2006
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    I haven't been keeping up with the day to day blu-ray HTPC stuff, so take this with a grain of salt.

    Right now I don't think there's a 'good' way to play the newest audio codecs (TrueHD, DTS-MA) from the HTPC yet. The Asus card is supposed to ASUSTeK Computer Inc. but apparently has issues if you look here. I believe Arcsoft Total Media Theater is a pretty good solution for playing blu-ray and hd-dvds (I think it still does hd-dvd) and supports the newest audio codecs. It also plays well with Vista Media Center so it can be used to play your blu-rays during playback.

    You'll also need AnyDVDHD to rip the blu-rays/hd-dvds to your hard drive (I'm assuming you want to do this). It's $100 though, so consider that in your budget (I think TMT is $100 as well).

    From what I can tell, the HTPC isn't quite 'there' for ripping and playing blu-ray with full-feature audio compatibility, or at least it's not easy (and stable).

    EDIT: Looks like the link I provided for the Asus issues didn't work right, maybe this will

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