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Thinking of hooking up a HTPC--Suggestions? (1 Viewer)

Andrew Grall

Supporting Actor
May 17, 1999
I will be getting a new Toshiba 50H81 soon, and have an extra PC sitting around, so I'm trying to figure out how much effort it will take to set up an HTPC. I'm a builder of computers, so that's not a big deal, but if it costs much to do (after paying so much for my TV), I might wait a few months...
Anyhow, here are the computer specs:
Motherboard with built-in audio/video
Audio is something like crystal labs
Video is a form of nvidia 128 (although I also have a Voodoo2 in the system)
There is 128 MB of PC100 memory
Plenty of hard drive space
Intel Pentium II 450
Windows ME
DVD drive
I know that I would at the very least have to put in a different sound card to get DD/DTS out, but would I have to change anything else? Also, what do I need to hook up the HTPC via VGA to the component inputs on the Toshiba?
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Matt DeVillier

Supporting Actor
Sep 3, 1999
you'll need a new video card (the riva128 won't cut it) to start. the current recommendation is an ATI Radeon LE. You'll also need a software DVD player. the radeon should come with the ATI player, but you may want to test out Windvd 3.0(my pick) or powerdvd 3.0 (also good) because last time I checked the ati player does not pass the dts bitstream (DD only). to connect the radeon to your tosh you'll need a VGA->component converter. http://www.audioauthority.com/ makes such a device for about $130 which works quite well.
check out the HTPC forum atwww.avscience.com for more helpful suggestions


May 14, 2001
A few things to consider...
with a PII 450, you might be stretching to get good, hi-res software DVD decoding. You should test it out before dropping any money into this computer (I think you can get WinDVD and PowerDVD demos online). Test it at the resolution and monitor refresh rate that you expect to use for your HTPC. If it's not satisfactory, you can either upgrade the mb/cpu (better option for good video quality) or you can get a decoder card.
you can get an SPDIF out for like $13, so that's not really an issue. If you want to get analog channel outs (with dd/dts decoding at the software layer), then you'll want something more in the $150 range.

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