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XBMC capable budget HTPC!

jammyb2004

Novice Member
hi!

happy new year everyone!

this thread is purely an idea, not what i am wanting to achieve. i have a Revo 3700 which is fine and dandy for my XBMC needs.

i just feel that this forum as a whole needs a budget sided guide spec that people will want to read about/buy/build rather than spend £££'s on i3/i5 4+GB ram and all singing all dancing, when all they want is a basic/read cheap/way of getting the XBMC experience and not to tinker with!


with that in mind, i figured we could post in this thread links to basic spec motherboards/ram/psus/cases/remotes without having to start new threads?


i mean, i don't think anyone has built an XBMC player for £100 or less, have they! that is the aim of this thread!

anyone interested? i have a lot of friends who love my revo but not the £199 retail price! i'm sure i'm not alone!



cheers

jammy
 

spacemanc

Active Member
You will never build something with a similar spec for £100.

The £200 cost of the revo is pretty close to what it would cost you to buy the parts.

And it's really not necessary to spend a fortune on a powerful HTPC. You can easily build one which is far more powerful and capable than the Revo, for under £300 - I'll post the build thread for mine later today if I have time ;)
 

steford

Active Member
I would love some help with cheap but decent looking HTPC cases. My PC case, whilst functional, looks a sight.

Under £199 is a tall order though. My er1401 came in very cheap after I sold the HDD but still not a custom build and without tuners.
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
I know I have posted about this before, but the new Raspberry Pi (a credit card sized PC that costs only £22) will reportedly play 1080 HD video, and will run off 3 AA batteries or a small solar panel!!! Within that credit card sized footprint it it has an HDMI port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an RCA video port, 3.5 mm Stereo jack, 10/100 ethernet, micro USB power port and an SD Memory Card Slot.

I am very sure that it won't be long before a cut down linux distro with XBMC will be written for this hardware.

You can bluetac it to the back of the TV and have a remote control plugged into on of the USB ports.

They are due to be released in the next month I expect Raspberry Pi | An ARM GNU/Linux box for $25. Take a byte! (the first 10 boards are on sale on ebay to raise money for charity as we speak - but they are raising thousands of pounds.....)

Robbo100
 

walleee

Active Member
Novatech vision case gets my vote...
 

tredman

Well-known Member
robbo100 said:
I know I have posted about this before, but the new Raspberry Pi (a credit card sized PC that costs only £22) will reportedly play 1080 HD video, and will run off 3 AA batteries or a small solar panel!!! Within that credit card sized footprint it it has an HDMI port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an RCA video port, 3.5 mm Stereo jack, 10/100 ethernet, micro USB power port and an SD Memory Card Slot.

I am very sure that it won't be long before a cut down linux distro with XBMC will be written for this hardware.

You can bluetac it to the back of the TV and have a remote control plugged into on of the USB ports.

They are due to be released in the next month I expect Raspberry Pi | An ARM GNU/Linux box for $25. Take a byte! (the first 10 boards are on sale on ebay to raise money for charity as we speak - but they are raising thousands of pounds.....)

Robbo100
I'm pretty sure it is ARM based, there is already an arm version of Ubuntu, do providing it has the horsepower that should run.

There is a project to port xbmc to arm chips. No idea how far it has got (there is a version of xbmc running on meego, that may be arm??)
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
AppleTV (first gen) £100 + Broadcom CrystalHD card £45 = XBMC machine thats played everything I've given it (though it struggles a bit with 1080p with DTS audio). And 1st gen ATVs are cheaper than £100 now...
 

tredman

Well-known Member
Matt_C said:
AppleTV (first gen) £100 + Broadcom CrystalHD card £45 = XBMC machine thats played everything I've given it (though it struggles a bit with 1080p with DTS audio). And 1st gen ATVs are cheaper than £100 now...
I picked up one with the crystal had card for £80 and it's great.

Obsolete however; so the news atv2 is probably the cheapest xbmc route now (or an emachines er1401/2?)
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
ATV1 with crystalHD outperforms ATV2 massively. Load it up with CrystalBuntu (removing the Apple OS) and you've got a fully fledged 1080p media player. ATV2 only has hardware support for h264 encoded 720p material, whereas ATV1 with CHD has hardware support for h264, xvid, divx, wmv, etc etc right up to 1080p
 

tredman

Well-known Member
Matt_C said:
ATV1 with crystalHD outperforms ATV2 massively. Load it up with CrystalBuntu (removing the Apple OS) and you've got a fully fledged 1080p media player. ATV2 only has hardware support for h264 encoded 720p material, whereas ATV1 with CHD has hardware support for h264, xvid, divx, wmv, etc etc right up to 1080p
It does I've had one running crystalbuntu for a good few months and it's excellent.

Doesn't change the fact its now obsolete and the atv2 is cheaper. From the looks of things the atv2 with Eden will be pretty capable.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
IMO obsolete doesn't really play a part, nor doe the price point. The ATV2 may be cheaper (tho it retails at £100, ATV1 can be had for less than that - you got one with the CHD card for £80, so it's not actually cheaper), and the ATV2 will never have hardware support for anything other than h264, and be limited to 720p, so it's still inferior. Trust me, if I thought the ATV2 was superior, I'd have switched up by now as there are a bunch of other options the ATV2 offers such as AirPlay and Plex. But bottom line is, for using as an XBMC device, or as a non-Apple media device in general, the ATV1 still kicks the ATV2 around the ball park
 

jammyb2004

Novice Member
Robbo - I've seen the pi around and hopefully it'll take off! be awesome to have that running XBMC lol!

ATV 1st gen + Broadcom crystal HD sounds like the basic spec then! You can pick up the latest card for £30 now!

What about the secondhand/eBay market?? Can it be achieved with that? I mean for £100-130 I could pick up a netbook capable of 1080p HDMI out and bung XBMC on that!
 

spacemanc

Active Member
The Revo includes a 500mb hard drive and a wireless keyboard and mouse. Of course if you go for a lower spec, then you can probably do it cheaper, but for the same spec, I doubt you can beat the revo by very much at all.

Going for second hard parts on ebay has risks, but if you do, then you can build a pretty good HTPC with far more power than a Revo for well under £200.

Case with PSU - £25 New
Mobo with IGP - £30 s/h
Dual Core CPU - £30 s/h
4GB Fast RAM - £15 New
Wi-Fi Card - £10 New (If needed)
500GB HDD - £30 s/h (will be much cheaper when prices return to normal)

The IGP on the mobo would be fine for most things, but if you wanted to push the boat out for 3D or even light gaming, then you could add a brand new ATI HD 6450 1GB for £30. The cheapo ATX cases are much bigger than a Revo, but if you put it on it's side, then they aren't really much bigger than an AV amp.
 

tredman

Well-known Member
IMO obsolete doesn't really play a part, nor doe the price point. The ATV2 may be cheaper (tho it retails at £100, ATV1 can be had for less than that - you got one with the CHD card for £80, so it's not actually cheaper), and the ATV2 will never have hardware support for anything other than h264, and be limited to 720p, so it's still inferior. Trust me, if I thought the ATV2 was superior, I'd have switched up by now as there are a bunch of other options the ATV2 offers such as AirPlay and Plex. But bottom line is, for using as an XBMC device, or as a non-Apple media device in general, the ATV1 still kicks the ATV2 around the ball park
Crystalbuntu does airplay & has done for a while :D

I agree atv1 is better, but they are becoming rarer now and are not the best long term recommendation - though crystalbuntu, with its new settings gui, is the best xbmc distro imho.

Edit - This sounds promising www.raspberrypi.org/forum/general-discussion/xbmc-live-usb-persistent

i would have said the emachines er1401 was the best and cheapest solution (though they seem to have sold out now) - they were £120ish and have a better cpu than a revo
 

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