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Do I "need" an HTPC?

New Start Neil

Distinguished Member
Greetings all, :hiya:

So here's the thing....

I am toying with the idea of an HTPC, and I have wanted an MCE machine running films/photos etc for such a long time.

The thing is, do I really need one, or is my desire to have one getting the better of me?

Here's what I was thinking:

MY PC is in the back room, it's a decent spec Athlon 64 3400 with 3Gb of RAM, an ATI X800 Pro (with XT BIOS), DVD +/- burner, and 4 x 300Gb SATA drives (the mobo is an Asus K8V SE Deluxe)

It's connected via ethernet to my router in the front room, which is also connected to my Snazio 1350 DVD player by ethernet.

The Snazio is connected my my Hitachi 42PD7200 by DVI, so what I was wondering is whether I could take my PC components listed above and source myself a nice HTPC case & fot them all in and replace the Snazio?

I would still need a PC in the back room, so I'd need to kind of replace with the same sort of spec but as I don't play games on my PC I think it would be cheap enough to do.

I do love the Snazio & it's versatility, but I feel that as a DVD player it falls short.

I have a Denon 1906 amp, and the kit is connected to it in the following way:

Sky HD box: Optical.
Snazio:Digital Co-ax.
Xbox 360: Optical.

So what I'm basically thinking is of replacing my Snazio with an HTPC as it could use the current DVI lead to connect to my plasma, I'm just not sure about the audio connections.

Or am I just barking up the wrong tree-will getting an MCE HTPC not really give me much that the Snazio doesn't already offer?

I really don't know what to do-whether to use my existing parts & put them in an HTPC case, or whether to spec & (attempt to!) build a new HTPC, but I can see money becoming an issue then (although maybe no more than buying a case/transferring bits into it and then buying more bits to replace the old bits I took out of my PC in the back room! :suicide: )

I hope that makes sense, I know I want an HTPC running MCE, I just don't know if I can justify it.

I'd appreciate all of your thoughts.

Cheers. :thumbsup:

[Edit]-The other thing is that currently all my stuff is controlled by a Logitech Harmony 885 remote, so I would need to ensure that the HTPC would be controllable by that too. :)
 

frz666

Active Member
i am in a similar quandry

I have a venice 3000 and a gig of ram spare atm after upgrades so was considering building a htpc

but after thinking of it I am happy to burn the my avi's to dvdrw's and play them back in my divx dvd player, I don't have sky or a hd telly so am struggling to see the point

to me it sounds like you don't need a htpc, have a look in the for sale forums, there are plenty of folk who are selling after building something they just don't use! I think I would be in the same position as I will have to spend at least another 300 - 400 get one up and running:thumbsdow

might be a fun project but I just don't need one myself, like the new watch I just ordered, and the several pairs of headphones I have !! :hiya:

sorry it might not be what you wanted to hear...
 

New Start Neil

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the reply. :)

I do hear you, but I'm kind of thinking that it would simply make life easier having it in the living room directly connected to my plasma.

It's simply an ease thing rather than anything else, I don't really know why-but I have always wanted to run MCE on my TV! :oops:

I also can't help thinking that it would be easier all round just to build one & keep my existing PC where it is, but I suppose by using the bits I currently have & then building myself a lower spec PC for the back room I was hoping to save a bit of cash.

I don't want/need the HTPC to play games, it would solely be to play HD films/DVDs/photos/camcorder footage etc (I also like the sound of the 'my weather' & other plug ins that are available!), so does anyone have a rough price that I would be looking at to either build or buy?

Also-will an HTPC upscale standard DVDs?

Thanks again. :hiya:

[Edit] - Sorry, the other thing that I should have mentioned is that I don't need it to broadcast or record any TV channels as I have Sky HD for that, so it's literally a machine to handle HD films, pictures, DVDs etc.
 

MacBurp

Active Member
Install MCE on your PC and use your Xbox 360 as an extender. You can connect with component or VGA to your plasma, and use the My Movies plugin to manage your DVDs. Very simple - I don't think you need an HTPC.

regards,
Paul
 

New Start Neil

Distinguished Member
Install MCE on your PC and use your Xbox 360 as an extender. You can connect with component or VGA to your plasma, and use the My Movies plugin to manage your DVDs. Very simple - I don't think you need an HTPC.

regards,
Paul

Hmmm-I hadn't thought of that. :oops:

Will the 360 play my *.TS files that are stored on my PC & also my NAS hard drive that sits on the same network?

The other thing is-I don't think the 360 upscales DVDs over component (VGA lead only I think), and as all my cables are chased into the wall behind the plasma I can't change it to a VGA lead.

Ta though. :thumbsup:
 

Dominic

Active Member
the my movies plugin doesn't seem to play .ts files over the extender (ie 360) you can play DlVX and Xvid on the extender, using transcode 360 (another plugin)
'think the new version of my movies will work over extender, maybe do some googling
 

MacBurp

Active Member
the my movies plugin doesn't seem to play .ts files over the extender (ie 360) you can play DlVX and Xvid on the extender, using transcode 360 (another plugin)
'think the new version of my movies will work over extender, maybe do some googling

I hear the latest version of My Movies has Transcode 360 integrated into it. Not sure about the .ts issue though. Check it out at http://www.mymovies.name/home.aspx. find out more about Transcode 360 at http://runtime360.com/blog/

regards,
Paul
 

borofoga

Active Member
Azzin - so you know you want an HTPC but you can't justify it - try these ten reasons over at http://www.funky-frog.com/custom_solutions/ten_cool_things.html
:)

Yep i need one!

I was thinking of getting the Sony Vaio XL 201.

My requiements are to play endless photos, DVD's, music, DivX HD and WMV HD files all from one hard drive to my my Sony 46W2000.

But my requirements are that the HTPC looks attractive with HDMI and is as quiet as possible. Will the XL 201 do?

Or should i build an HTPC?
If so where do you get sexy cases from?
Is the building the same process as building a normal PC.

Any advice links etc?
 

Blump

Active Member
personally i love media center :)

I mainly use it for dvds and find its great and if you fiddle around with post process filters you can get an amazing image produced that i havent seen matched even on the upscaling denon
 

richjthorpe

Active Member
You can build a media PC quite easily and cheapily (Relatively). Here is my spec and the costs as they were in March this year....

Mobo: Asus A8N-VM CSM. Has integrated nvidia 6150 GPU that handles HD stuff and DVI output. £50
CPU: Athlon 64 3200+. Again, runs HD without glitch. £100
RAM: 2 Gig although 1 Gig is more than enough. 512MB will do actually. £60 for 1 Gig
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint 250Gig (IDE). £60
SPDIF module: £10 for connecting to my Denon amp.
DVD recorder £25
MCE: £80
MCE remote: £25

This comes to £410 but is without case. I use a tower case that is hidden in a cupboard and the IR receiver sits on top.

Prices have dropped and you may be able to take things from your current PC (A Gig of RAM). You might not need as large a Hard disk if you have an NAS saving more money.

Go on to Ebuyer or Scan and start clicking, see what price comes out.

Richie.
 

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