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Okay, here's a dumb question... :) (1 Viewer)

Jason Price

Second Unit
Sep 16, 1998
What exactly do you guys do with your HTPCs? I'm big into computers, and moderately into HT, but never really considered merging the two. So, what all can you do with a HTPC? Is it typically a cheaper alternative versus the standard components? Is the quality comparable?
Also, is there any way to use a pc as a HDTV decoder? I just bought a Panasonic 36HX41, but can't afford the decoder. If I could find a cheap way to use a pc for the decoding, that would rock...

Phu Vo

Stunt Coordinator
Aug 25, 2000
I have a workstation that doubles as my HTPC. Since my room is fairly small (10 x 10), it doesn't make sense to have two dedicated machines. One for work and the other for HTPC functions. So my machine can do everything any other PC can do. Run WORD, EXCEL, surf the net, etc. Where it really shines is when I have my projector turned on and hooked up to my second display head on my Radeon VE. It is like a whole new dimension for Home Theater. Through the HTPC/Workstation, I have a progressive scan DVD player whose quality rivals that of top stand alone units, at virtually no extra cost (my software player came with my DVDROM). DVDs played back through my PC and projector is about as close as you can ever get to duplicating the movie theater experience at home. Most of the time better. No rude people talking while you are trying to enjoy a movie or shining a laser pointer onto the screen. Home Audio is definitely better as well. DD/DTS through my MX300 with digital out is great! Also a $40 WinTV board and a freeware program allows me to scale my analog video sources like TV, VCR, and LD with comparable quality to a Fauroudja video processor (so I am told, never seen a Fauroudja in action). Add a high speed DSL connection to that and you get unlimited MP3 downloads! The possibilites are virtually endless. And the upgrading isn't as painful to your wallet either.

Abdul Jalib

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 27, 2000
For under $500, you can build a HTPC with DVD picture quality superior to any home theater equipment at any price.
For an additional $19 for a video capture card, your HTPC can be a line doubler and scaler, but in this case it is only as good as the lower end scaler equipment. You will have video noise problems without a more expensive video capture card and a quality power supply.
Finally, for an additional $380, you can buy a HDTV decoder card (accessDTV or HiPix.) These can be used to record OTA HDTV. Software decoding is a hot topic right now, but I don't think there is a good solution yet.
Those three things is really all I use it for, plus the occasional MP3.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Philips_HDTV/joinClick to subscribe to Philips_HDTV discussion group

Tim Brewers

Jan 14, 2001
While we are on these lines, I too have been looking into a HTPC a little bit. But I have no clue on what I should be looking for. How fast a processor? will the normal pioneer (or whatever) dvd player work, what video card, how much memory, what do you need for progressive scan, can it be a HD decoder with Direct tv, and OTA? etc. Can you make it all remote control? If there is a HTPC for dummies, please post a link for us newbies, we would really appreciate it.

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