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Thread: HTPC Question

  1. #1

    HTPC Question

    Hello everyone,
    I have a few questions concerning HTPCs (Home theater personal computer.) I'm thinking of building one for my basement but I'll adress that a bit later in this post. Here are a few of my questions:
    1) What can they do really? Here's what I know, they can play anything that is ALREADY on your harddrive, movies, shows, songs, etc. What can they hook up to that will be compatible? As in, can they hook up to consoles and you could use USB controlers to play the game? What else can they do?
    2) My knowlege is somewhat limited. When building a HTPC do you just need to build a computer using windows media center edition and have a remote control for the PC? Is that it or is it more complex? What do you see when you turn on the computer? A normal desktop or is it different than what'd you see on a XP edition(home/pro.)

    Now, I'm thinking of building a HTPC with a budget of $1,000-$1,500 (Either this or modding a case, or both, that'd be cool.) Can I get a good HTPC for 1000? What would you recommend for some parts that would fit into this budget *closer to 1,000 is much better ;P.*


  2. #2

    HTPC Question

    There are many different varieties of HTPC's. but an HTPC is supposed to be the all in one TIVO/PVR, Media center, WEb surfing, gaming center and more.

    It doesn't take much to build a good HTPC unless you want to do some hardcore gaming on it. Mostly you need a good Tuner card and lots of HD space for storing movies and recored TV shows. In fact the last MaximumPC was dedicated to building one.

    What is the Main thing you are going to use it for?

    You don't have to use windows media center, I don't, but most of my friends do and say its much better to be on that then regular XP. The interface is much better aparently.

  3. #3

    HTPC Question

    *Just tabbed the link, gonna read it after I post this.*
    Well it's going to be in the 'playroom' aka basement. Same place as the LAN computers so it'll be used for movies, music and if it could double for gaming that would be ideal. I don't need it ot stream live TV or anything, but it'd be cool if it could record TV, however that's not nescessary at ALL. If there's osmething monthly I'd have to pay for that than that's a no. Pretty much an all in 1 entertainment system excluding any monthly fees *well, internet is fine of course haha.*

  4. #4

    HTPC Question

    Just get a TV tuner card if you want to record television. This doesn't costa anything. ATI makes a really nice HD capture card. Though some good gaming cards these days do have video-in. I personallly have an All-in-wonder card but never use it. I don't really record shows either. I mostly use mine to watch movies and surf the net. occasionally I game on it.

    If you are just going to use it to play music and watch movies then you don't really need anything fancy. In fact you can just use a normal computer for that. Windows media center just makes it easier to navigate to where you want. withouth having to hit start menu or what not like in regular XP its all set up and easy for you to get where you want to go.

    Something that is really important for what you want though is what you are going to be viewing this on. A regular TV is going to look like crap and you most likely won't be able to read it for Sh*t. You really want a HD TV with 720p at least. If not a large LCD or Monitor will work. I have a 48" DLP which actually has a PC-In port so XP seen it just like a regular monitor and sets it up at 1280x720 res. So I guess the question is what are you going to be hooking this up too?

  5. #5

    HTPC Question

    Hrm I didn't consider NOT hooking it up to the TV. I see why though. However. Hmm. This could be a problem. I don't erally have good monitors, not even what I'm on now. What's the cheapest and best solution really? Not a huge monitor but I guess, a 20 inch or something.. o.O.

  6. #6

    HTPC Question

    Sure, A big ol monitor would work fine for a start. You can get a cheap 30" LCD for a grand now I think.

    I forgot to mention speakers too. You need a good setup if you really want to rock it. I have my sound card going into my stereo reciever and amping it out to my speaker setup. Depending on the size of the room really depends on what you need for this. For some a set of Stereo speakers will work for them, others would prefer a Logitech 5.1 or better setup. My living room is big so I had to go with more juice.

  7. #7

    HTPC Question

    Yeah, the problem with the LCD is that my budget would hopefully be from 1000-1500 and that would be including speakers and the LCD. Hmm, I'll have to think about this, contact some people I know.
    Thanks for the help so far.

  8. #8

    HTPC Question

    Might I suggest, 3 20" monitors instead of the 30 inch, thats whatI have and I payed $200 for each. Most video cards support two monitors you can use Ultramon monitor support. I'm running my surround sounds stereo system to my comp with one 5 dollar wire. Another way to go with display is buying a projector which is a great way to go. They can get expensive but a decent one shoiuld cost around $800
    off of newegg or tigerdirect.

  9. #9

    HTPC Question

    How does somethign like this work out for a LCD?

  10. #10

    HTPC Question

    Thats not a bad deal at all. It would work just fine. Might want to look around a bit more but thats pretty good. Sometimes Fry's had some good deals on saturdays too.

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