First HTPC with extenders

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by nickwild, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. nickwild

    nickwild
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    Hi Gang,

    I’ve been lurking around the forum soaking up all your knowledge for a while; boy you guys know some stuff… :D

    I’d be really grateful of your collective experience to help me take the plunge a set up my first HTPC that has a few items on my wish list:

    1 I’d like a “quiet” HTPC with PVR functionality that could record from my Sky box or worse case scenario from a Digital aerial feed or maybe even both
    2 I need to be able to network some client set top boxes in bedroom, dining room and kitchen ( a la MCE extenders that don’t seem to be available in the UK) to play back and record video streams and music. I want a central server/ machine and capability to start recording something from one machine and then finishing watching it in another
    3 I’d don’t need gaming facilities so I don’t need expensive graphic cards - unless it improves my PQ
    4 I like to maxmize the picture quality for DVD playback, but also have some better than average picture quality from TV. I have a Vision 4230 Plasma that has HDMI and component in and I’m going to invest in some LCD monitors for the other rooms
    5 I’d like a nice looking case to house the HTPC in the lounge (I’ve seen the Silverstone range and love the LC-09, but I fear that being mini-atx it will not be up to it)
    6 Needs to fit in with a full size Silver AV Receiver

    I don’t need massive storage capacity, but what case, graphics card and tuner cards should I choose? How does Meedio compare with MCE. When will Meedio’s DIV-X functionality go live? Don’t really want PCs in the other rooms, so what are my options regarding set-top boxes. Don’t like X-Box – far too loud – want a quiet option whatever

    I have experience of building PCs, but not done one for three years or so, so I'm looking forward to the challenge!

    PHEW! I appreciate there are a lot of questions here, but any help is appreciated – loved the recent threads on cases and mobos started by Coldkilla very helpful to a newbie like me.

    Thanks

    Nick
     
  2. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Well, I was going to suggest a main MCE machine with xbox extenders, they are not that loud... and with a combination of microsoft xbox extender kit and xbmc you can play back ALL file types.

    Or, go for the new xbox 360's if you have the budget and wait for a young hacker to get divx working :)

    However, you cannot mix sky and freeview, so you will have to decide on one (with MCE). Also running lots of extenders uses system resources, so stick loads of RAM in your main machine and as fast a CPU as you can afford.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  3. nickwild

    nickwild
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    Thanks for the advice Lisa.

    I've got an Xbox and the fan does make a din, is the x-box 360 quieter?... it certainly looks more than part than the existing one. also budget wouldn't run to a 360 in each room!

    Does anyone know whether you can still buy the existing MCE extenders even across the pond - I had heard than many of the manufacturers had stopped making them?

    can I take it then Lisa that I gonna need some big bass-ass P4 to make this work and that a Pentium-m in a mini-atx case wouldn't work?

    Has anyone xperience of using Meedio?
     
  4. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    You'll need a capture card for the Sky feed. The best one at the moment seems to be the Sweetspot as this is the only card that will take an RGB feed in. All the others have S-Video. As for Freeview Digital, there are tuners from 50 quid (Haupauge) to 130 quid (Novatech). Multiple tuners can be used in order to watch one channel and record another.
    Solutions are as Lisa has said Xboxes or building separate PCs that aren't as powerful to keep the cost down. I'm guessing you wont be having Hi Def tv's in the bedroom so you'd be able to use on board graphics to output Standard Def video via S-Video, sound is on the motherboard for you to connect to an amp or the tv, Hard disk doesn't need to be large as everything will be streamed but big enough to install whatever Media Centre you decide (Windows MCE, Meedio, JRiver etc). If you get a wireless router, you can connect the main PC via ethernet and the extenders via wireless meaning you'll need wireless receivers in the extenders.
    The Vision 4230 can only display 853x480 so there wont be a need for a huge graphics card, but it's good to have one as the on board grpahics will use the system RAM. That's fine for the extenders, but the main PC will need grunt to stream video and music while outputting to it's own TV. The nVidia 6600GT is a choice for many with Hi Def with the Pure Video codecs so take a look the vanilla 6600 or 6200 that still run the Pure Video codecs.
    Silverstone do a whole range of cases, take a look here.....
    http://www.silverstonetek.com/product-case.htm

    Richie.
     

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