HTPC.....again....god help me

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
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OK amazingly BT have decided that I am worthy and Broadband is coming to ConvergentHQ. So I am now considering the possibility of building a PC specifically for the playback and storage of HD material and my CD's.

I will want to be able to firewire the .TS files off the PC on to my JVC30000 deck to create demo material to take around UK and to shows. I am not interested in playing back DVD's on the PC.

I will want the PC to be able to output 1080i on component or DVI preferably so that I can test the de-interlacing on future and current video processors, (although I can always rip stuff to Tape for that I guess).

Oh and I want to spend £0.

Any ideas guys? Would I be best just buying a cheapo Dell?
Also I was lucky enough to see a demo of Windows XP Media edition while I was helping out at an ISF course at Linn products a week or so ago. What's the story with MediaXP? Is it going to be any use?

Lastly, I am planning on putting the PC in my media rack in a cupboard so noise is not likely to be an issue for me but control will have to be completely wireless.

So any ideas of bits or spec required?



Distinguished Member
I probably wouldn't bother with MediaXP myself. (only because it probably won't support the devices you need, like dvb cards - but perhaps it does - I've never tried it myself).

Where are you obtaining the .ts files from? The Nebula DigiTV card will save to .ts (and .mpg). Are you planning on demo-ing hi-def satellite material or something?

The best PAL sources I've found are DVD's. However those Microsoft Hi-Def dvd's are the best definition material available (T2, Coral Reef, etc). For playing hi-def material, you'll probably need a 3Gb processor, 512Mb of ram (or more), and a radeon card (like the 9600's).

A shuttle PC might be just the ticket (and you can carry it under you arm). It should be able to do everything you need. The heat pipe technology keeps it cool and silent, I believe.

The cheapo dells (although well designed) often don't have AGP slots, but it depends on the model. Worth checking.


Active Member
Hi Gordon,

I know I'm going to get beaten up for suggesting this but....have you considered going down the Mac route? They have some good little bits of software such as virtualdvhs that could be what you're looking for. Oh and they now have Powerstrip like functionality with Switchres - and even the Powerbooks come with DVI out as standard. The only thing against them at the 'mo for full HTPC is a crap software dvd player - which you say you aren't planning on using so it wouldn't be an issue. If you also wanted component in/SDI in then the Blackmagic Decklink PCI card looks a good bet.

Let the flaming commence! :D

Best of luck,


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