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Living room pc

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Emmodd, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. Emmodd

    Emmodd
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    Newb here so any help will be appreciated.

    Wanting to build a 2nd PC to live under the TV. Mainly want it to play DVD's and music and also stream from my main PC. Would like it to be able to record fromSky also (is this possible?) and be able to decode sound in upto 8 channels.

    Any recommendations for components or direction to another sight for like-minded projects would be appreciated.
     
  2. lisag

    lisag
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    Well.... the world is your oyster really...

    Choose a nice case that is aethetically suited to your room and decide on what form factor mobo you want - ATX, microATX, mini ITX etc. Think about using quiet components, and passively cool if possible.

    There are soundcards available that do 7.1 sound, may also find this built in to some motherboards.

    Recording from sky is pretty straight forward with an analogue capture card.

    Think about what front end software you want to use as the main interface, for example Windows Media Center or one of the alternatives (some free).

    Also decide on how you can best connect to your tv, eg DVI, VGA, s-video, or VGA to RGB Scart.

    Suggested spec for a new build HTPC would be a 3ghz CPU, 1gb RAM, and a mid range graphics card. But if on a budget and not planning to playback hi-def material could get away with a lot less.

    hope that helps to get the ball rolling

    lisa
     
  3. Emmodd

    Emmodd
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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Seen some rather nice Calritas and Silverstone cases - particularly like the SST-LC10M with the VFD and IR remote.

    Want it to take over from my stand alone Marantz DVD player and act as main source of music and so picture and sound are a must. Don't have a HD tv yet but HDMI is a must for future proofing.

    Re: Sky, is there a front end which will act like the planner with Sky+ etc or is it simply like using a video recorder and you can only record what you watch?

    Internet, games etc aren't really an issue here and so good quality components to cover the rest are required.
     
  4. lisag

    lisag
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    MCE can definitely do the EPG thing with Sky you need two STB's though if you want the ability to watch one channel and record another - and maybe an additional sky sub which enables two channels to be watched at the same time? Not sure, I use Freeview and have never had sky.

    There is a power buy on the Claritas case - at the top of this forum.

    A few of us on this forum are using the Gigabyte fanless 6600GT AGP cards with the latest Nvidia DVD codec which uses Pure Video for hardware post processing - excellent picture quality can be achieved this way. Some people like Theatertek and ffdshow for post processing, that requires a little more fiddling and patience.

    I don't think you can get HDMI output on video cards yet, but you can use a HDMI to DVI adapter I think, you should check that out though if it is an important factor for you.

    I am an MCE fan, but only because I have a friend who is a registered reseller and he helped me get started with it, so I have not tried any of the other apps like media portal and other free or cheaper alternatives, they may be just as good or better.

    lisa
     
  5. rdhir

    rdhir
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    The dual core Athlon X2 will be a good bet for HD, but they need to be benchmarked with Quicktime 7.0 to be certain. They are going to be reasonable in around a couple of months when they release an X2 at around 3700 which will be cheaper than some of the single core CPUs.

    All the media center and equivalent software (or at least most) has a Sky+ or TIVO style module which allows you to record from an EPG. You should also check the reviews for pre-built systems such as the Shuttle reviews in TrustedReviews

    http://www.trustedreviews.com/article.aspx?art=1502

    There are plenty of Media Center PCs reviews here. Note that it is not essential to use Windows MCE (Media Center Edition). There are other alternatives which do the same thing and you can run regular Windows XP.

    Examples

    http://www.meedio.com

    Hope this helps.
     

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