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Technical assistance needed for High End Media Centre PC :)

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by nate247, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. nate247

    nate247
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    Hi Guys,

    I have just purchased a Philips 329986 LCD TV and am looking at building a high end Media Centre PC to plug into the DVI conection on the set.

    My main desire is great picture quality and I have recently seen a review in Home Cinema on a Uvem Classic 200 at £3140 that seemed interesting.

    What made me sit up and take note were the comments about its picture quality. They said that it is as good if not better than their £4500 Teac reference DVD player and I was basically wondering if anybody knew what sort of components were in this machine to give it such blistering picture performance???

    I currently have a PC that I am thinking of breaking up (If needed) adding to as required then rebuilding as a Media Centre machine. The specs I have are as follows:

    AMD Athlon 3700+
    MSI K8N (or T, cant remember) motherboard
    2GB DDR Ram
    200GB Seagate Barracuda HD
    XFX 6800GT Graphics card with Duel DVI out.
    NEC 2500a Duel Layer DVD Burner
    SONY DVD Rom Player.

    If anyone has any advice on a) whether this setup is good enough already, or b) what things need to be addded to get it to a similar standard to the Uvem machine I would be very grateful as I know very little about eeking performance out of a Media Centre PC.

    Things like does the quality of the DVD rom drive matter etc, is my graphics card good for linking to a T.V etc.

    All the best, look forward to any advice ;)

    Nathan
     
  2. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi Nathan,

    Same as any PC it is the combination of hardware/software that matters, are you thinking of running Windows Media Center software, because if so they have a list of supported components here

    All of those components you listed look plenty for media playback, you probably don't need two DVD drives though, and probably not that much memory either.

    You might want to think about a pretty case, and quiet components if it is going to be in your lounge. And how you are going to get the internet connection to it, you may also want a tv card for watching and recording tv.

    I couldn't find anything out about the Uvem PC, why not contact Uvem and asking them for the specs?

    lisa
     
  3. nate247

    nate247
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    To be honest I am not really concerned with the look/ size of the pc and its a fair point that you raise about the combination of components (thats what I am trying to achieve I guess) :)

    I have never used windows media centre before, but if it gives me any worth while benefits over my current OS (Windows XP home ed) then I will upgrade.

    I have managed to find a website for uvem, its http://www.uvem.co.uk/ but as I am just learning about PC's I am finding that alot the of jargon is frying my few remaining brain cells :)

    Basically money is no real object (obviously cheaper is better :)), I just want to build a similarly good pc (i.e pic quality wise, don't need as much HD space etc) but if I can use alot of what I have already got then great :)

    Thanks for the help thus far

    Nathan
     
  4. lisag

    lisag
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    Well, you could add the MCE 2005 software and remote to your existing PC, and a tv card (do you use sky or freeview), a supported dvd codec and you would be basically there!

    Nvidia DVD codec is good (about £10 IIRC), and depending on what type of tv you want to watch a tv card is about £50 to £90, if you get two you can watch one channel whilst recording another.

    lisa
     
  5. lisag

    lisag
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    Actually if you don't want the live tv / pvr features you could just connect it to your LCD as it is and playback some dvd's - see what you think of the quality. Theatertek is a popular DVD software player, so you could try that...
     
  6. nate247

    nate247
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    Ok great, thanks for the advice Lisa.

    As I have sky plus already, it was more for the movie and HD playback.

    I am in the market for a DVD player (approx £600 to spend) but just thought if the uvem pc could produce similar picture quality to some high end DVD players, then maybe it would be more beneficial to spend money on my PC instead and try and emulate that sort of performance :)
     
  7. lisag

    lisag
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    This might be useful http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=179519&highlight=theatertek
     
  8. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    Nate247.

    Why not ask your questions of the UVEM PC on the section of this area devoted to the UVEM?

    I have found Phil and Sam very helpful and you certianly could do far worse than engage them to build your HTPC for you as they have a vast amount of knowledge and will save you a lot of time money and effort getting a HTPC to work faultlessly.
     
  9. nate247

    nate247
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    Sorry...... didn't realise that there was a devoted section here :suicide:

    I guess the crux of the matter is that 6 months ago I spent £2k on this PC, so if for only a few hundered more I can get somewhere close to that performance then great, it saves me spending another £3k.... in which case I may as well go out and buy that new top of the range Denon as I already have a high spec pc :)

    Ooooh now thats a thought :) lol

    Thanks for the advice though, I will track that section down now and have a read.

    Cheers

    Nathan
     
  10. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi Nathan,

    Good luck with that...

    If you don't mind fitting the components yourself and tweaking the software a little you already have nearly enough for a top-end HTPC, without spenidng very much more money. In fact just connect it to your LCD as it is and play a DVD...!

    But...if you just want to 'plug and play' I am sure there are plenty of people who would be happy to take your money and you would probably get another high end pc in a pretty case to live in your lounge, (just an opinion)

    lisa
     
  11. nigel_williams

    nigel_williams
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    Give MediaPortal a try on your existing setup. It's an MCE freeware clone which I've found to be very good (so far).
     
  12. Razor

    Razor
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    Xlobby is an other free mce clone. :)
     
  13. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    Xlobby gets my vote as well.....
     

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