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ComputerGuy
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yeah...I don't care for blu-ray anymore just because it's so great...I'm sticking to my DVD's for the moment until the price comes way down.

5/4/2008 8:07:25 AM

ENDContra
All American
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http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html
Component inputs for $250, SHOULD allow you to record most if not all HD channels on TWC.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1015617
Discussion on AVS regarding above.

5/4/2008 11:58:49 AM

qntmfred
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VAIO® Digital TV Tuner
Quote :
"Connect this innovative accessory to your PC and enjoy watching your favorite TV programs on your monitor or notebook's LCD screen. Through a convenient USB cable, you can even watch and record premium cable and high-definition channels, including ESPNHD and HBOHD. Requires Windows Vista® Home Premium or Ultimate, at least 2GB of RAM and an Intel® Core™ 2 Duo or Core™ Duo processor.
Functionality

Secondary external TV tuner supporting NTSC, ATSC, Clear QAM and CableCARD™ (to be obtained from local Cable TV provider). With the addition of a CableCARD1 and depending on cable TV subscription, this tuner enables viewing and recording of premium channels, including HD (ESPNHD, HBOHD, etc.) Adds ability to simultaneously watch and record TV signals on models that ship with ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable tuner.
Compatible Models

Units already shipping with ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner"


so with a cablecard, you can watch/record pretty much everything - analog ota, digital ota, clear QAM, encrypted QAM and HD? the only thing you're missing is VOD, right? are there any other "Digital Cable Tuners" this capable without buying a "Digital Cable Ready" HTPC for $1200+?

edit: nm, i get it. this is a secondary tuner that happens to be external. it requires a OEM HTPC that already has a ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner card in it. that makes sense.

[Edited on May 8, 2008 at 12:14 AM. Reason : the BIOS has to support OCUR]

[Edited on May 8, 2008 at 12:16 AM. Reason : lots more info at http://www.engadget.com/tag/TvWonderDigitalCableTuner/]

5/7/2008 11:58:23 PM

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^Yep...you have to buy a PC, you cant build your own and add it. Plus all your recordings have DRM out the ass...you cant move them, edit them, etc.

The link I posted above SHOULD do all that you would need without the DRM issues...although it would require you to have some kind of STB with component out.

5/8/2008 3:00:08 AM

neodata686
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So i got a free p965 board from work, and i have a 300gb HDD sitting around, plus i have an old 7950gx2 1gig video card laying around (over-kill i know), but it will be used for games too. I just need a cpu, psu, ram, and a case. The case will be the hard part.

6/10/2008 2:14:01 PM

Prospero
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imo -
cpu = E2160 OC'd to 3.0Ghz (stock cooler, stock voltage) or E7200
memory = whatever's on sale AR - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227139
psu = antec earthwatts (best value for rock solid efficient psu) 500w on sale at the egg - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007

case - up to you.

[Edited on June 10, 2008 at 2:36 PM. Reason : .]

6/10/2008 2:34:20 PM

neodata686
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Sweet. Yeah i think i'm getting that ram and psu. I might get something a little more powerful for the cpu though. We want to play COD4 on the big tv, and i'd rather put a C2D in it.

6/10/2008 3:09:52 PM

J33Pownr
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Neo I can tell you from experience that you will get motion sick playing COD4 on a 47" tv with surround. Its well worth it though.

I thought you already had a e6600 and a 8800gts, which should be enough to game at acceptable resolutions on a big tv.

6/11/2008 9:24:41 AM

neodata686
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I have an e6600 at 3.2ghz with an overclocked 8800gtx in my bedroom. I'm building this HTPC for the living room 1080p 42".

We had fun last semester hooking my computer up to the 42" and playing Crysis. It actually runs a little better on the 1080p because my 24" is 1920 by 1200. I just want another computer because my desktop stays in my room.

6/11/2008 10:20:31 AM

bous
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RECOMMENDED FRONT-ENDS:

MediaPortal (quick and great features with the right plugins). http://www.team-mediaportal.com

Meedio (takes forever to setup right and figure out, but complete automation afterwards). http://www.meedios.com


the right plug-ins are essential for them to have the great features.

6/11/2008 10:33:41 AM

neodata686
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we won't be using tv through the HTPC because we have an HD box through TWC. The HTPC will be used for playing .mkv files and games. I guess a better interface that works with a remote will be in order to play our movies/tv shows. I'm more concerned with the gui and speed than with the dvr capabilities as we won't be using it as a tv.

[Edited on June 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM. Reason : /]

6/11/2008 10:57:34 AM

Prospero
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i used meedio way back when it was myhtpc, then meedio, then when they sold it to yahoo it went to crap, so i switched to Vista for the MCE interface. much happier. mediaportal has never been stable for me for some reason and looks like crap.

6/11/2008 11:22:28 AM

neodata686
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^have you gotten Vista Media Center to deal with .mkv files? I haven't messed with it yet. I need to figure it out though because the media center interface is nice and fast.

6/11/2008 11:27:40 AM

Prospero
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ffdshow & the haali codec that's all you need

(and put an .avi file in the folder so it searches it)

see also:
http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/180902.aspx
http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/175657.aspx

[Edited on June 11, 2008 at 1:22 PM. Reason : ,]

6/11/2008 1:18:46 PM

DoubleDown
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ive run into a ton of limitations on Vista media center

im always on the lookout for something better than can handle a massive media collection without becoming sluggish

6/11/2008 6:06:55 PM

Prospero
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limitations? which one's in particular?

most of the one's i've come across have workarounds.

6/11/2008 6:24:50 PM

neodata686
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Quote :
"ffdshow & the haali codec that's all you need
"


I believe i have both of these because windows media player has no trouble playing them. I don't have an .avi in the folder but it still picks up all my .mkv files. I try to play them and i get "Cannot Play Video, Windows Media Center cannot open the file."

I don't understand why windows media player can play it, but windows media center can't.

6/11/2008 6:40:10 PM

Prospero
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do you have WMP11 & the latest Vista MCE updates?

6/11/2008 6:40:58 PM

neodata686
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Yes i have all the updates and WMP11. All my files (including .mkvs) play fine in windows media player, but none of the .mkvs play in media center.

grrr.

it won't do the thumbnails either.

[Edited on June 11, 2008 at 6:48 PM. Reason : ..]

6/11/2008 6:44:45 PM

Prospero
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did you add those 2 registry entries?

Quote :
"MKV AND TS With matroska
h.264 codec incl. thumbnails in vista and integration with VMC:
Download Haali Media splitter : http://haali.cs.msu.ru/mkv/MatroskaSplitter.exe
Just leave the defaults on in the installation screen - make sure "explorer integration" is selected - this enables thumbnails.
For TS and PS MPEG files - add the selections in the install dialog

Enabling ts and mkv files in VMC and Mediaplayer do the following:
Open notepad and paste the following in:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.mkv]
@="MatroskaVideo"
"PerceivedType"="video"
"Content Type"="video/x-matroska"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.ts]
@="MatroskaVideo"
"PerceivedType"="video"
"Content Type"="video/x-matroska"

Save the file as : matroska.reg to the desktop afterwards doubleclick it and say YES to add it to the registry.
You can now see and play TS and MKV files in VMC"


[Edited on June 11, 2008 at 6:53 PM. Reason : .]

6/11/2008 6:53:06 PM

neodata686
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Yes, but i don't think that's the problem because they play fine in windows media player. Are you running 64 bit?

6/11/2008 6:55:08 PM

Prospero
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i do not have this enabled on my PC and no mine is 32-bit.

ask around thegreenbutton, read the threads, try the .avi file in the folder trick

[Edited on June 11, 2008 at 6:59 PM. Reason : .]

6/11/2008 6:56:45 PM

neodata686
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don't have what enabled?

Quote :
"Microsoft already knew that x64 playback was going to be an issue for quite some time and this statement is evident in the fact that Vista x64 installations default to using the 32bit WMP as the default player."


I think the problem might be that windows media center runs as a 64 bit program and haali doesn't support 64 bit programs yet, and it works in windows media center because it's 32 bit. So i think i have to mess with the order in which i install the 32/64 bit codecs.
http://www.msfn.org/board/Development-thread-current-release-is-t66826.html&st=460

[Edited on June 11, 2008 at 7:01 PM. Reason : ..]

6/11/2008 7:00:31 PM

Prospero
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i don't use mkv files at all. ^that could be a possibility.

6/11/2008 7:02:01 PM

neodata686
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think i'm just going to put 32 bit vista on my HTPC.

6/11/2008 7:10:17 PM

DoubleDown
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Quote :
"limitations? which one's in particular?

most of the one's i've come across have workarounds."


I'll start with:

I would like to have the DVD Gallery Layout in the Video Library screen. The images the Video Library screen are square, and the DVD Gallery images are boxart sized rectangle.

6/11/2008 10:10:29 PM

bous
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haha MCE fucking sucks compared to MediaPortal or Meedio.


if you have everything on shares and the access is read-only, every time you access a folder it grabs new thumbs... slow as hell.

6/11/2008 10:54:20 PM

neodata686
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Quote :
"haha MCE fucking sucks compared to MediaPortal or Meedio.
"


VMC not MCE!!!

From experience i thought it was faster than the 2. I'll try them all before i decide though.

6/11/2008 11:00:06 PM

DoubleDown
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bttt

6/12/2008 8:18:52 PM

neodata686
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So i need to decide on a case now. The motherboard i happened to get for free is a P965 atx board so no micro-atx cases. There seems to be so many htpc cases on newegg.com. Anyone have any suggestions?

6/21/2008 12:13:05 PM

Stein
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Quote :
"Neo I can tell you from experience that you will get motion sick playing COD4 on a 47" tv with surround. Its well worth it though."


TAKE THREE STEPS BACK FROM THE SCREEN

6/22/2008 8:16:21 PM

DoubleDown
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Prospero:

Quote :
"I'll start with:

I would like to have the DVD Gallery Layout in the Video Library screen. The images the Video Library screen are square, and the DVD Gallery images are boxart sized rectangle."


any ideas?

6/22/2008 9:01:56 PM

ENDContra
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In regards to cases: Personally, I want a good case that has room for expansion, as Id like to be able to add more HDDs later (but dont plan to have so many that heat and noise are a major concern). So Im considering going with a mid-tower, especially considering the prices on them seem to be a lot better than a comparable HTPC case. I may regret it and wish I could put it under my TV, but Ill also regret being limited to one optical drive and two hard drives total. If I do go with a more HTPC type case, Im considering either the Ultra MicroFly or the Antec NSK2480 (Prospero: did you paint your DVD drive or just get lucky that you have one that actually matches?).

6/24/2008 4:03:24 AM

Prospero
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^^i think that's ingrained in media center app. i like having them separate, home videos should be separate from movies.

^most silver dvdrw's are the same silver as what most case manufacturer's use

6/24/2008 9:18:16 AM

quagmire02
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Quote :
"Ultra MicroFly"


i have this, and love it, BUT...spend some money on a decent 120mm and a decent 80mm fan to replace what's in there...the ultra brand fans are loud and obnoxious

6/24/2008 9:35:10 AM

neodata686
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http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2448914&Sku=ULT40037&SRCCODE=SHOPPINGDF&CMP=OTC-SHOPPING

That one? Is the psu any good? It looks kinda big to stick under our tv.

6/24/2008 11:34:40 AM

quagmire02
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i have that one, but with a full-metal side, not the window (plastic only keeps the heat in more, so i opted out of that)...the PSU is fine (it's quiet and runs the mobo, 2 hard drives, a dvd burner, a 120mm fan, an 80mm fan, 10 total usb ports, and a radeon HD3850 without any problems)

in terms of size, it's wider than a traditional case, but it's short

6/24/2008 11:40:49 AM

neodata686
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163107

heh. i want that one. the built in touch-screen supports 1080p resolution.

[Edited on June 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM. Reason : ,]

6/24/2008 11:44:52 AM

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^Why do you, or why would anyone, need 1080p resolution on a 7" screen? (thats not being used to watch movies). Hell Ive yet to figure out why Id need a touchscreen an HTPC in the first place (on a Harmony 1000 remote, maybe).

I was considering a slightly different MicroFly:
http://www.directron.com/ult33116.html
Very similar, just cosmetic differences I think. They have a lot of varieties as well (window, no window, black, silver, and blue). FWIW, the one review of this case I read that wasnt thrilled about it was actually on the one above from Tiger.

Right now Im planning to put a Blu-ray drive and 3 HDDs in it (smaller one for software, 2 750GB drives for storage). Undecided as far as Raid, and drifting back and forth between an Asus P5E-VM HDMI MB with no video card, or an Abit N73HD with an HD3650. Also been told I should go with a Q6600 over the E8400 I already have (from the CompUSA deal, still in box, so I can sell it) since I plan to do some encoding. But I dont need the fastest thing possible, and the E8400 isnt no dog and uses less power.

6/24/2008 2:28:26 PM

neodata686
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^I was being sarcastic as to why anyone would need a 1080p display on 7". I like that case but my board is atx not micro-atx.

The one you linked to has a 400w psu included whereas the tigerdirect link i previously posted has a 600w psu. If you're running a video card, 3 HDD's, Blu-ray, and the quad core you might want over 400watts.

6/24/2008 3:01:19 PM

quagmire02
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FWIW, i'm running with the included 400w PS, and it works without any problems...and i wouldn't recommend running 3 hard drives in there

6/24/2008 4:35:59 PM

DoubleDown
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Quote :
"^^i think that's ingrained in media center app. i like having them separate, home videos should be separate from movies.

^most silver dvdrw's are the same silver as what most case manufacturer's use"


okay i dont mind having to put my movies in the DVD Gallery section - but how do you get it to recognize .avi files and not only dvd vob files?

6/24/2008 6:55:11 PM

qntmfred
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ok this is what i think i'm gonna get. what y'all think?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128090
GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $89

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103256
AMD Athlon X2 4450e 2.3GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 45W 65nm Dual-Core Processor $65

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1800610
Ultra Black MicroFly Aluminum Micro ATX Tower Case with Front USB, FireWire and Audio Ports and Ultra V-Series 400-Watt Power Supply $69
i'm open to suggestions on this one. it's gonna be hidden, so cheap is better

any suggestions for a HDD? prolly just gonna get a 500GB for now. are seagate barracudas ok? they seem to be a little cheaper, but i thought at some point i heard unfavorable comments about them.

not gonna bother with DVD drive (use xbox360 for that) and i've got a gig of RAM from my old desktop i'll throw in there plus a hauppauge 150 i've got.

6/29/2008 9:45:20 PM

Prospero
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i'd highly recommend the Western Digital 640MB for $90, one of the fastest drives available

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=WD6400AAKS&oe=utf-8&cid=9424310183944293315&scoring=p

review:
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3269

6/29/2008 11:57:21 PM

Prospero
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just added this

LG Black Blu-ray/HD-DVD Reader & Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Writer SATA OEM Drive $126
http://slickdeals.net/permadeal/13020

6/30/2008 2:28:37 PM

neodata686
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Ok i need help picking out an htpc case. I got a free p35 atx board so no micro-atx cases. Also i need a power supply. Case and powersupply combo would be good or whatever. Anyone have ideas?

-so i have a vid card, hdd, and mobo. Just need cpu, case, ram, psu. Working on a budget here, so i'm getting a lower-end c2d.

so far:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227139
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115032

Need a case + power supply for under 100-150$.

[Edited on July 15, 2008 at 2:06 PM. Reason : .]

7/15/2008 1:49:04 PM

Prospero
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too bad no microATX, i like the Antec Fusion, NSK2480 & NSK3480

not a whole lot of options for ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144231
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811190087
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163055
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811190100

7/15/2008 2:08:57 PM

neodata686
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^is APEVIA an alright brand? should i buy a seperate psu or should i trust the one with the APEVIA?

well i got a free p35 atx and i might be putting a big video card in it so i'm gonna have to go with atx.

[Edited on July 15, 2008 at 2:11 PM. Reason : .]

7/15/2008 2:10:03 PM

Prospero
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APEVIA is a budget brand, but most of their stuff is like 4/5, like a good tier 2 brand

although i have no experience with any of their stuff only seen reviews for their PSU's

http://www.apevia.com/ProductsInfo.asp?KEY=X-Master-BK/500

i'd say that the two rails would power an E4500 and an 8600 or similar gpu and a hard drive fine. the amps are a bit low, no where near what an Antec Earthwatts PSU would have, there's also no mention of what PSU it is, or if it has active PFC, or it's efficiency either

actually i found the PSU (if you look at the specs and pictures), it's this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817148038

seems to be pretty good efficiency, good hold-up time, a bit low on amps on the rails, but no PFC

[Edited on July 15, 2008 at 2:20 PM. Reason : ,]

7/15/2008 2:13:03 PM

Prospero
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this is my new HTPC build:

Antec NSK3480 MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case
Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU
Intel Core2Duo E8400 Processor
COOLER MASTER RR-CCH-L9U1-GP 92mm Hyper TX2 CPU Cooler
GIGABYTE GA-73PVM-S2H LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 7100 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
OCZ 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2-1066 Memory
Logitech Z-2300 200 watts RMS 2.1 THX-certified Speaker System
LG Black Blu-ray/HD-DVD Reader & Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Writer SATA OEM Drive
PNY GeForce 8600GT 540MHz 256MB PCI Express x16 Video Card
LINKSKEY LKA-CR15BW 52-in-1 USB 2.0 Internal 3.5" USB Card Reader
Hitachi Deskstar 7K400 H3400B72S 400GB SATA HDD
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1800 ATSC/NTSC/QAM Digital Hybrid (PCI-Express x1)Tuner
Microsoft MN-730 Wireless 802.11g PCI Adapter
Logitech Harmony 550 Universal Infrared Advanced Remote Control
Microsoft Windows Media Center Infrared Remote Keyboard
Windows Vista Home Premium

BTW, the Z-2300's are AWESOME!... once i save up a bit more money i hope to put in a XtremeGamer audio card

[Edited on July 15, 2008 at 2:25 PM. Reason : .]

7/15/2008 2:24:11 PM

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