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Old 02-12-2012, 08:21 PM   #1
tsiguy96
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Default OT: HTPC

anyone built one of these on a stupidly tight budget before?
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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Sure doesn't everyone build an HTPC. I mean seriously HTPC for life!







What is HTPC?
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:35 PM   #3
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Oh yeah HTCP, who hasn't built one?
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:37 PM   #4
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Just buy a nice TV that has a USB flash drive built in. Problem solved.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:41 PM   #5
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What r u hsing your htpc for?Most TVs nowadays support dnla.if you have a decent pc,you can stream Your media from your pc to your tv.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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Yeah I am curious why the need for a HTPC. I went and looked it up. My Samsung has ports for my PC to connect into and so does my Receiver.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theAPAOps5 View Post
Yeah I am curious why the need for a HTPC. I went and looked it up. My Samsung has ports for my PC to connect into and so does my Receiver.
I really think Google is about ready to blow up the need to ever build one.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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anyone built one of these on a stupidly tight budget before?
I built one pretty cheap. Dual core wolfdale. 2gb. Win 7 home premium.

What do you want to know
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:04 PM   #9
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I really think Google is about ready to blow up the need to ever build one.
Yes I see where you are going with that. Good Point!
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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I've built dozens.

What's a "stupidly" tight budget, and what do you want it to do?
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:17 PM   #11
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Yeah I am curious why the need for a HTPC. I went and looked it up. My Samsung has ports for my PC to connect into and so does my Receiver.
An HTPC is just a home brew tivo, cable box, whatever you might want to call it. Throw in the ability to play more or less any media type in existence + something like XMBC and you have a nice media center.

Some people build them up to play games on a TV, but generally the purpose is to have the ability to have 10x the functionality of a Tivo for 1/10 the overall price. And fun, for tech heads =P
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:20 AM   #12
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Yeah figured it out from search but I appreaciate the time to explain. My computer has USB and hdmi connectibility to my flat screen so I wonder what else I could do. You have a geek intrigued now!
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:22 AM   #13
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Yeah, I just load whatever I've downloaded onto a flash drive and pop it into the TV, but I'm interested in hearing about some low-budget solutions for a media center as well.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:58 AM   #14
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Yeah figured it out from search but I appreaciate the time to explain. My computer has USB and hdmi connectibility to my flat screen so I wonder what else I could do. You have a geek intrigued now!
Two thing you might try:

* TV Tuner for watching/recording TV
* A Media Center for playing media (including internet streaming)

For TV Tuners:

Buy a TV tuner and turn it into a full fledged PVR (personal video recorder).
You can get internal versions, USB connected versions, or network attached tuners that will enable any machine connected to your network to view and record television.

I currently have this: http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/

(the 3 tuner version) though that's a pretty expensive option. It's very nice as I can watch or record three different shows from any computer attached to my network (which is currently only my workstation and my HTPC). Note: It requires a decent network to stream that much video.

There are cheaper items from Hauppauge (http://www.hauppauge.com/), and other companies that may suit you better. Beware though, that if you have cable and want premium content (HBO, etc.) you have to buy a tuner that works with cable cards (look for "cable card tuner"), which your cable provider generally has to provide free (for one, they can charge if you want more than one). The cable card is just a PCMCIA card that has the appropriate decryption keys. It's the same thing you'd put in your Tivo if you wanted premium content.

You can get Clear-QAM (non-encrypted) HD content on even the fairly cheap USB versions like:

http://www.hauppauge.com/site/produc...a_hvr950q.html

or internal cards:

http://www.hauppauge.com/site/produc...a_hvr2250.html

Most of your broadcast television stations (over the air or cable) will be in Clear-QAM. Cable networks are hit or miss; premium channels are always encrypted.

Note there are "dual" tuners and "hybrid" tuners. Dual tuners allow multiple viewing/recording. Hybrid tuners just mean the tuner is analog/digital.


For software, throw away the junk that comes with the tuners, and get one of the following:

Windows Media Center (quick, easy and you already have it if you have Vista or Win7). Works with cable card tuners.

Next PVR (aka GB-PVR): Open Source Windows PVR software. I've used it in the past, but until recently it didn't support encrypted content. Still rough -- primarily developed by one person.

http://www.nextpvr.com/

MythTV: Open Source Linux PVR Software. If you like Linux.

Wikipedia has a run down of the rest:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...tware_packages


Media Centers

If you don't want to do TV, you should at least look into a Media Center. A Media Center is just a fancy pants term for a piece of PC/Mac Software designed to be used to browse/play media on a TV with a remote. They also have integrated/plugin support for services like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Pandora, etc.

Some options (try them to see which you like) include:

* XBMC: XBox Media Center (free)
* Windows Media Center
* Boxee (free)
* Lots of others, but those are the most common.


For either option, you'll want a remote of some kind. You can buy a tone of fancy ones, but all you really need is something like:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16880101008

Which is just a remote with an IR receiver you plug into your PC.

You're you're nuts and are rollin' in the dough, you can get one of these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16880111020

Last edited by Fedaykin; 02-13-2012 at 02:04 AM..
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:38 AM   #15
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I have built several. Tigerdirect is a good place to buy pc components. I'm building a new house and just finished buying the components for my home theater... and I went without a PC in lieu of a universal media player. Went with the "Oppo BDP 93" because it does everything I used the HTPC for in the past. It set me back about 5 bills.

http://www.amazon.com/OPPO-BDP-93-Un.../dp/B004BLK24S

Last edited by Dr. Broncenstein; 02-13-2012 at 05:02 AM..
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:47 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiguy96 View Post
anyone built one of these on a stupidly tight budget before?
What you want to do with it GREATLY dictates price. Give more info and you'll get more help.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:08 AM   #17
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I use Tivo's because the family/kids need to be able to work them and they know the interfact. You can network them, hack them and mod them to a great extent.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:42 AM   #18
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I just bought an HD antenna, a non-TiVo DVR (no monthly fee and it has a DVDplayer/burner), and a 25 ft HDMI cable. All the over the air broadcasts go to the DVR, the Wii can handle Netflix if we sign up for it again, and the HDMI connects to my laptop if I want to watch anything online or from my media collection (mostly Bronco games streamed).

I'm in the process of transferring shows that I want to keep from the DirecTV box to the DVR (mostly Mickey Mouse Clubhouse shows for my son, those things are expensive to buy and we have like 30 of them I recorded the last couple of weeks when we decided to go this route) - next week we cancel DirecTV!
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:49 AM   #19
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If you have an android device and a windows htpc check out gmote

I was using a 360 controller with joy2key before that.

Bought a cheap kworld pci atsc/clearqam tuner on newegg for around $30. Only single channel obviously. But it works well for the price with win7 media center

I keep my htpc in my bedroom and use the extender on my 360 to use it on the bigger screen in the living room.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:36 AM   #20
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What you want to do with it GREATLY dictates price. Give more info and you'll get more help.
dual recorder, minimum hard drive and processor needed. HDTV possibly but thats honestly not a necessity yet as the place i am moving doesnt have it via cable (i would have to get over the air HDTV). would like it to store the movies and music i have as well and play them.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:04 AM   #21
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If you want to go the Windows Media Center route, this is an awesome 4-way tuner:
http://www.amazon.com/Ceton-InfiniTV...9148548&sr=8-1

With WMC7, you can share all of your TV (live and recorded), Videos, Pictures, Music with every TV in the house by using XBOX 360 units as clients. Wired ethernet (at lest 100 mbps) is best for streaming HD video.

I wired my house with gigabit ethernet and have a central HTPC and 3 XBOX 360 clients in different rooms of the house. It isn't necessarily cheap, but it is a pretty awesome setup.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:48 AM   #22
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Yeah, if you want access to virtually anything, a Win7 htpc is the way to go. Especially if you own a 360.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon VOD, Youtube, TV Network websites, DVR. Bluray. There aren't many DVR platforms that can do everything like a $400 htpc can.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:53 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiguy96 View Post
dual recorder, minimum hard drive and processor needed. HDTV possibly but thats honestly not a necessity yet as the place i am moving doesnt have it via cable (i would have to get over the air HDTV). would like it to store the movies and music i have as well and play them.
Do you have an old computer (built within the last 5-7 years) that can be cannibalized? If so, what is it?
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:58 PM   #24
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a core2duo, some ram & a good HD is pretty much all you need. check CL for great upcycle things.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:53 PM   #25
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Okay, so how do I do this with my 1978 sylvania with rabbit ears
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