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qntmfred
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so i've been wanting to build a no compromises HTPC for a long time now and i'm finally gonna do it. i know there's a couple other threads on PC building and HTPCs but i need a place to flesh out my ideas and get people to poke holes in it and recommend stuff

current situation:
HDTV in living room w/ TWC SA8300HD and xbox 360
6 year old XP dell in office with 160 GB hard drive. stores all music, ripped dvds and tv shows, photos, backup, etc
2 laptops (1 PC, 1 macbook) that access the dell over networked drives. so does the xbox 360

complaints:
have to switch between DVR (for live and recorded tv) and xbox (for games, ripped video and music). i'd love to use the xbox 360 (and particularly windows media center) as primary interface, but it's noisy (i could upgrade to the elite - i've heard that was quieter) and i'd need external storage (probably over the network again)
160 GB isn't cutting it anymore. i want to upgrade to 500 GB or more
i want to have some kinda of automatic backup for my laptops onto the networked drive. recent attempts have seemed tedious and unreliable
the old dell is in the office (due to low wife acceptance factor being in the living room) and the wireless card gets about 30% signal from the router in the living room so if i want a reliable connection to all my storage, i've got ethernet cord piled up in the hallway which again has a low WAF.
i've considered running cat5 through the wall/ceiling but have been trying to avoid that project

goals:
i want a central repository for music, ripped dvds and tv shows, photos, backup. something that'll stay on all the time but low power (and will come out of sleep mode on its own without me having to walk down the hall and kick the keyboard to make it turn itself back on). i can either store this in the closet next to the living room and run ethernet a few feet through the wall to the router or make it the set-top box in the living room if the UI runs on it (will have to be pretty quiet too in this case)
i want to watch live tv, recorded tv, ripped video, music and photos from the same UI on the tv. same device, no context switching. i'm done with that (except for games on the 360 - i gotta get up to put in the game so i'm stuck here)
i want to be able to reencode selected recorded tv to h264, maybe edit out commercials and have it join my library of video. with the exception of commercial editing, it'd be nice if this were as easy as picking the recorded tv i want to reencode, have it kick off some processes and it does the rest.
it'd be neat to be able to browse the internet from the tv but that's not a priority
i don't care about blu-ray and don't see myself caring for at least a few years, if ever, so no need to make room for it here
i have a USB laser printer hooked up to the dell in the office. i want the printer to remain in the office, but hopefully my HTPC will end up in the living room or living room closet so i'll prolly have to sell this printer and buy a wireless printer. so getting a wireless networkable printer is on the list too. hopefully something i can leave on and print to anytime without having to worry is the printer asleep and do i have to go turn it off/on to get my laptop to connect to it

options:
appletv + timecapsule
no live tv so that's pretty much out

macmini + timecapsule
nice form factor (high WAF)
can do live tv with a HDHomeRun
frontrow + eyetv for the 10ft UI
can use for browsing the internet
can even install vista home premium for 10ft UI if i want
will my xbox 360 play nice with this? i dunno

macmini + external hard drive
same as macmini+timecapsule but maybe a little cheaper and might work with the xbox 360 better? i dunno

build my own
a LOT more flexible, but also a lot more choices to make. i haven't built a PC in a several years so i'm not up to speed on specific hardware choices
i have two possible approaches here. all-in-one HTPC or the lightweight front end + heavy-duty back end.

1-2 approach
better chance of getting something that looks like it belongs in the living room for the front end (that elusive WAF again)
what kind of success can i have using my xbox 360 for the front end since i already have one?
do i get a consumer NAS for the back-end? do i build my own box? if i stick the tv tuners in here will my front end be able to switch channels or will there be lag in getting video from the back end to the front end to the tv?

allinone
has to be beefy enough to handle my needs but must look good enough (quiet enough, low power enough) to belong in the living room maybe a little cheaper than doing the 1-2 approach

if you've read this far, i salute you. this is mostly a pretty rough brain dump and i'm sure i missed some stuff but i think this is a good starting point i guess. speaking of starting points, these 2 guides were what inspired me to start pursuing this again
http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/guide-200804.ars
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001107.html

4/29/2008 6:35:19 PM

Prospero
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I have an All-In-One HTPC that's very very similar to the Ars one.

I love it.
http://www.syprus.com/mediapc/

4/29/2008 6:56:37 PM

Aficionado
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[words]

but if you figure it out let me know

this sounds interesting

4/29/2008 6:57:00 PM

agentlion
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i've been using a Mac Mini (Intel Core 2 Duo, so it can handle streaming HD and video encoding) + El Gato 250 Plus w/ EyeTV (the Hybrid would work fine too) and using OTA HDTV for a few months now and am very happy.

It works great - I actually have 2 HDDs off of the Mini - one 500GB that I use as a wireless Time Machine backup for the two Mac laptops in the house, then another 500GB for my movie and TV library (going to upgrade soon to 1-2TB). Then on the Mini HDD I keep iTunes Music, photos and temporary video storage, like BitTorrents and EyeTV recordings.

I use Remote Buddy, and with that I can use the Apple Remote for nearly everything, although sometimes it's easier just to use the mouse/keyboard for file operations. But the new EyeTV 3 includes a very nice on-screen program guide and DVR capabilities and the TV viewing is really good. With Remote Buddy, I can easily switch back and forth between EyeTV and FrontRow, where I access all my Movies and recorded TV and music. Also with RemoteBuddy you can browse the file system for files to open.

I also have an Apple bluetooth keyboard and a logitech VX Revolution wireless mouse when I need to control the machine directly.

the whole system is silent, except for my Time Machine drive, which is unfortunately a cheap HDD. But the Mac Mini itself is silent, and the newer Core 2 Duos handle streaming HD and <50% CPU so you can do other stuff on it too. EyeTV can be set to re-encode all of your recorded TV in H.264 for a number of formats, and if you have an ElGato Turbo.264 it will go even faster. EyeTV also has a basic editing feature where you can cut out commercials.

I had planned on wiring it to my Airport Extreme, but for now it's just on wireless 802.11g (I can't go fully 802.11n because my wife's MacBook doesn't support it), but that's generally fast enough to stream video to any of the computers in the house, and also to make Time Machine backups fast enough (after the initial backup).

Also, since I don't have cable (just OTA HDTV), I use a mac program called TVShows (kind of like TED - Torrent Episode Downloader) to download cable shows automatically for me so they're waiting for me by the next day.

[Edited on April 29, 2008 at 7:09 PM. Reason : .]

btw, I got the Mac Mini through Apple Refurbs for about $150 off the normal price. keep an eye on this
http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/91304003/wo/dW4saLt0We8p3VPaS1K1SsgfAgq/3.0.0.26.9.5.7.1.1.1.1

[Edited on April 29, 2008 at 7:13 PM. Reason : .]

4/29/2008 7:08:57 PM

qntmfred
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^great post thanks. i just gotta do some research into how well that setup will work with my PC laptop and my xbox 360. and, whether there are any compelling benefits to go the PC/Vista route instead

[Edited on April 29, 2008 at 7:22 PM. Reason : ^^^ i've heard good things about them. i'll check them out more too. thx]

4/29/2008 7:21:43 PM

kvr123
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qntmfred im actually building a HTPC this summer, it will be my 3rd build but first HTPC

I too wanted a truly all in one media center that could

dvr
dvd / mp3
tv
internet
various connectivity for multi vid inputs and multi audio inputs


im not a mac fan, so im naive to the mac products but i can tell you that what im building will cost around 400-500$ and have all said features.

connectivity will have

hdmi / dvi / vga / 5.1 audio / s-vid / cable jack / ethernet etc etc

im going to use a receiver ive had for awhile for future add ons i.e. speaker wires or componant vid, im not sure

4/29/2008 7:38:49 PM

qntmfred
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so just discovered a roadblock on the mac option. the HDHomeRun isn't going to cut it for live tv. it can only receive clear qam channels and can't connect to a cable box. i'd have to use one of their non-HD tuners to get the encrypted channels. might be for the best. i've heard really good things about vista media center and i think i'm leaning towards using that anyways. that way i can use my xbox360 as the primary STB and just watch tv through its media center extender

4/29/2008 8:45:22 PM

neodata686
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vista media center seems more snappy and responsive than previous versions of media center. The interface is nice, and i haven't run into any issues. Just beware (as usual) the hd-dvr takes up a lot of space on the harddrive.

4/29/2008 9:07:28 PM

qntmfred
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that's where the
Quote :
"i want to be able to reencode selected recorded tv to h264, maybe edit out commercials and have it join my library of video. with the exception of commercial editing, it'd be nice if this were as easy as picking the recorded tv i want to reencode, have it kick off some processes and it does the rest."
comes in

here's what i envision...media center records to d:\recordings. some yet to be discovered by me 3rd party tool is configured to on a daily basis look for new files in d:\recordings, re-encode them to h.264 and plop them in my d:\video\tv\power-rangers (or whatever) folder, which will be automatically discovered the next time i start media center. the only thing i'm not sure about is i think media center distinguishes between tv recordings and "other video." so today, if power rangers records, it'll be listed in the TV -> Recorded Shows view. but tomorrow, it'll get mysteriously moved to Video -> TV Shows view. or something like that. if that's so, might take some getting used to.

4/29/2008 9:24:14 PM

Stein
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You'd be better off encoding to WMV if you're going to stick with Windows and are interested in playing it on the 360. The WMV support is much better than the h264 support.

4/29/2008 10:09:19 PM

OmarBadu
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someone is really recommending wmv over h.264? i wasn't expecting that one - i guess just rest assured the scene standards that are used are used for a reason - nobody releases anything in wmv

4/29/2008 10:13:58 PM

qntmfred
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i'd rather not use wmv. my wife uses a mac and while there is flip4mac, i'd rather go with h.264. it has the best support for what i need and seems to me to be the more future-proof codec. though if you know of any articles that discuss those support issues on the 360, i'd be interested to read it

[Edited on April 29, 2008 at 10:22 PM. Reason : codec is war]

4/29/2008 10:19:24 PM

neodata686
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yeah usually no one releases much on .wmv. Just make sure you know .mkv (most popular wrapper for HD content) is not supported on the 360 which kinda sucks.

[Edited on April 29, 2008 at 10:33 PM. Reason : .]

4/29/2008 10:29:21 PM

Stein
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I don't have any articles, but I can tell you that the 360s support of h264 encoded content with 5.1 sound is (last I remember) virtually nonexistent, whereas the 360 supports WMV-HD with 5.1 sound, though it can be a little finicky to encode for and I'm not sure about automation of the process.

This is, keep in mind, about 99% of what I use my 360 for.

4/29/2008 10:35:45 PM

qntmfred
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ok, gotchya. looks like 2 channel support only for h.264. any reason to think that won't change in a (near) future update? i'm not a huge audiophile so i will probably be content myself with stereo. thanks for bringing the point up though

4/29/2008 10:39:46 PM

Noen
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Quote :
"someone is really recommending wmv over h.264? i wasn't expecting that one - i guess just rest assured the scene standards that are used are used for a reason - nobody releases anything in wmv
"


WMVHD (wmv 9 with Advanced Profile + WMA10 Pro) is superior to h.264 in terms of image quality per bitrate, max image quality and damn near every other metric out there.

The "scene" adopted it, because it's a hell of a lot easier to transcode hddvd and otahd to h.264. The result isn't any better though.

-----------------

If you are a totally PC house, I'd recommend the 1-2 approach. You can get a Windows Home Server for pretty damn cheap from HP (I may still be able to get you a discount on this, if you are interested in going this route) that will work as the central server for media and TONS of other things.

Then build a nice quiet HTPC set top box at your television to handle realtime DVR and the like, you can offload other activities to the server. Unfortunately the 360 just doesn't cut it (for me anyway) as the media center. Too many limitations, definitely way too loud, and too many compromises.

^You will have to transcode h.264 from mkv to 2channel avi wrapper to get it to play on the 360 anyway. It's a big pain in the ass, and you might as well ahead and convert to wmvhd, keep the 5.1 and cut the filesize by 1/3

[Edited on April 29, 2008 at 11:41 PM. Reason : .]

4/29/2008 11:39:18 PM

qntmfred
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i'll take your word for it that WMVHD is better, but if it won't work well on my iphone or my wife's macbook, it's probably not going to work for me right now.

you say if we are totally PC, go 1-2. we have a macbook. any reason that should disqualify WHS? i've thought about using WHS but i don't see any benefits to using it over Vista Media Center (and the downside is WHS doesn't act as a media center extender, right?)

besides being too loud, what other limitations do you see in the 360? from my pov, as long as it can connect to the media center extender and i choose a consistent video format, i don't see why the 360 wouldn't work out. and that would save me from having to build a front-end box since i already own a 360

which reminds me of another question. if i do use the 1-2 approach, which box gets the tv tuners? if i use the 360 as the front-end, i don't have a choice but to put the tuners in the back-end, which will hopefully end up in the closet. what would that do to my ability to use a remote control? if i don't use the 360 as the STB, should i put the tuners in whatever i do get for the front-end, or do the tuners need a beefier machine anyways?

[Edited on April 30, 2008 at 12:14 AM. Reason : i can put the back-end in the living room if the remote requires it, but it's gotta pass the WAF]

4/30/2008 12:11:30 AM

kvr123
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qntmfred im going to try and releases my (non existent) wisdom onto this thread b/c im in the exact same position your in

im on vista just fyi

last semester i started using wmp for tv recordings (just to record), imo its exactly like a dvr in every way with several more features and integration plus the interface is very nice and responsive.

i debated greatly over the use of a 360 vs. a true HTPC, my thoughts where

360 = general + 360 games but NOT dvr / expandability
HTPC = general + dvr but NOT 360 games + expandability

if i was not knowledgable of the market / tech i would just get a 360 and spare myself the headache but im pretty sure you are as am i and as for HTPC let me just list all the things you will get from simply buying 400$ to 500$ system :

HTPC case / micro ATX mobo / NICE tuner card/ core 2 duo / cheap 2 gig ram / extras

Im going to assume you know all this etc so let me just skip it all and say what all this will get you

tuner cards (most) come with media center certified remote controles....so you plug your cable into the HTPC,....plug your TV into the HTPC....plug your 5.1 or 71. or billion.1 speakers into the HTPC, plug your other monitor into the HTPC, plug whatever the fuck you want into your HTPC....

it stays on, records just like a dvr (you can schedual WMC just like dvr's ((sorry if you already know)) and access all ((i do mean all)) media on your HTPC) through WMC...

you can (and should) get a bluetooth usb addapter plus much more (obv) connectors


so situationally your on your couch, pick up the remote, turn the tv on, press the WMC button (look at newegg for the tuner cards that come with the WMC certified remotes, they are tight) and the main menu pops up, you just use the reg remote (same as if reg tv), and cycle through, get your chan, record your shit, blah blah. You want mp3s? same remote, same WMC, same shit. You want pics / home vids? same remote same shit...You want internets? thats when you will have to get the wireless keyboard (and more or less mouse) and you can browse / treat the HTPC like a reg computer....


whats the best thing about building your own HTPC is its connectivity. Its limitless....you can have everything hoooked to it

tv
other pc
other tv
set-top box
comp speakers
audio recievier for wireed speakers
game console
ummm...much much more im just drunk so im sorry if litterally none of this makes sense...


WAHHHHHH!!!!!

i know its fucking lots and i do mean LOTS of [words] but let me link some things ive picked out for myself

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188021
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815100014
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115031

4/30/2008 1:18:43 AM

jchill2
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poops

4/30/2008 3:22:48 AM

Prospero
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i guess technically i have a 1-2, since my media (photos, music, videos) is on a Windows Home Server on a separate box, my 400gb HDD is for DVR storage mostly

4/30/2008 4:24:20 AM

ComputerGuy
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Possibly raid?

4/30/2008 10:22:09 AM

pirate5311
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i say definitely on the raid (5 for me). i've had bad luck backing up stuff to dvds. i want to add a new tuner card to my computer but now just isn't the time with the hauppauge hvr-2250 and the ceton cable card tuner on the horizon (though i'll have to see that second one to believe it)

VANTEC TD8038H 80mm Case Fan - Retail
Model #: TD8038H
Item #: N82E16811999612

Update ASUS P5W DH DELUXE/WIFI-AP LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #: P5WDH DELUXE/WIFI-AP
Item #: N82E16813131025

Update XFX PVT88PYDF4 GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #: PVT88PYDF4
Item #: N82E16814150252

Update AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCIe ATSC/NTSC/QAM TV Tuner Card (White Box)w/L-P Bracket - OEM (x2)
Model #: 7 95522 96058 0
Item #: N82E16815100015

Update DYNAPOWER USA DP-50X.C617 ATX12V 500W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: DP-50X.C617
Item #: N82E16817255009

Update Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E6420 - Retail
Model #: BX80557E6420
Item #: N82E16819115016

Update G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail (x2)
Model #: F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ
Item #: N82E16820231098

Update Western Digital Caviar SE WD5000AAJS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM (x3)
Model #: WD5000AAJS
Item #: N82E16822136178

Update SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: HD753LJ
Item #: N82E16822152100

Update Logitech 967561-0403 Black USB + PS/2 Cordless Standard Desktop EX110 Mouse Included - Retail
Model #: 967561-0403
Item #: N82E16823126174

Update ENCORE ENF656-ESW-MOPR Up to 56 Kbps download and 48 Kbps upload Data Fax Modem - Retail
Model #: ENF656-ESW-MOPR
Item #: N82E16825180007

Update SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black PATA Model SH-S202N - OEM
Model #: SH-S202N
Item #: N82E16827151155

Update Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM
Model #: 66I-00715
Item #: N82E16832116202

Update TRENDnet TBW-105UB USB 2.0 Compact Bluetooth Adapter - Retail
Model #: TBW-105UB
Item #: N82E16833156069

Update Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows
Model #: 9Z200001
Item #: N82E16874103054

SYBA High Speed USB 2.0 4x Ports Hub via PCI slot Model SD-PCI-UHUB4 - OEM
Model #: SD-PCI-UHUB4
Item #: N82E16815124049

all crammed inside an nmedia PC 500 case. the motherboard still has 2 pci and 1 pci-e slot left open so recommendations are more than welcome.


[Edited on April 30, 2008 at 8:05 PM. Reason : .]

4/30/2008 7:48:50 PM

ENDContra
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http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/
As far as that little problem with not being able to record from encrypted channels, Ive heard people using this have gotten around it. I cant find the link to the discussion, but using a DVI splitter, they were able to capture in HD.

http://www.nextcomwireless.com/R5000/home.htm
Theres also this, but it will be useless unless you switch to Dish. Ive not used either of these so I dont know too much about them, but there you go.

My current HD tuner card (FusionHDTV) still works great...but Media Center hates it. Im looking at building an HTPC myself, but probably going to hook the PC directly to the TV/receiver rather than doing the network thing. I think XP would work perfectly fine for this, is there any reason it wouldnt though?

[Edited on May 1, 2008 at 3:03 PM. Reason : -]

5/1/2008 2:57:32 PM

chargercrazy
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I've been wanting to do this for a while now. I'm all ears for good ideas . . .

[Edited on May 1, 2008 at 4:50 PM. Reason : .]

5/1/2008 4:49:29 PM

quagmire02
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for $55 (AR and google checkout), this hauppauge seems to be a pretty good deal:

http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=203973440

i have a stupid question, though...it has two tuners, one is ATSC and the other is just called "tv tuner"...so you could use the ATSC tuner to pull OTA, but could you use the second tuner to pull in QAM? a key feature for me is to be able to record an HD show and watch an HD show at the same time...would this do it?

5/1/2008 6:35:51 PM

DoubleDown
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I built my own

- Core 2 Duo E6750
- 2GB RAM
- HDMI Out
- Vista Ultimate
- 802.11n PCI Adaptor
- (2) 750GB 7200.11's

Currently Holding:
- 800GB of XviD movies
- 140GB of mp3s

5/1/2008 8:19:44 PM

Prospero
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For those with Netflix, here's a Vista MCE plug-in...
http://www.anpark.com/Software.aspx

i love it.

in response to the QAM question:
Quote :
"Microsoft's Vista Media Center does not currently support clear QAM TV reception. To receive clear QAM, you will need to use the Hauppauge WinTV v6 application, SageTV or BeyondTV."


will it handle two OTA signals at the same time? it should if you have a good CPU

[Edited on May 1, 2008 at 8:25 PM. Reason : .]

5/1/2008 8:22:10 PM

qntmfred
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^^what kind of cases might i find with a smaller footprint than something like that

[Edited on May 1, 2008 at 8:23 PM. Reason : .]

5/1/2008 8:22:55 PM

DirtyMonkey
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i hope this doesn't hijack your thread, but most of the threads i make get little or no response so i need to hop on here for good luck.

i just want a low budget network mp3 player. something with RCA outputs that i can hook up to my old ass receiver and play music over the lan. it doesn't have to be fancy, i'm just tired of hooking my laptop up to my stereo and i don't have an ipod. i'm looking for something either out of the box or build a small pc that isn't too expensive, requiring fast boot times obviously. should i say fuck it and buy an ipod instead?

5/1/2008 8:33:43 PM

DoubleDown
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Quote :
"^^what kind of cases might i find with a smaller footprint than something like that"


most HTPC cases are all the same width - 17in - to correspond with all other standardized components you may be stacking it with. They vary on height and depth, though.

5/1/2008 8:39:48 PM

qntmfred
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yeah width is fine. what kind of awesomeness is available in variations of the other dimensions?

5/1/2008 8:43:03 PM

DoubleDown
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ha how much are you wanting to spend?

if you want, you can spend $900 on just a case

5/1/2008 8:54:50 PM

Prospero
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^^^^DirtyMonkey what about something like this:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10401&cs_id=1040107&p_id=2120&seq=1&format=2

Antec Minuet is half-height PCI cards with MicroATX
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15100
it's pretty small, i had my carPC in this case for a long time before i went mini-itx

you'd have to go low-profile tv-tuner and graphics card too...
AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCI-E MCE TV Tuner Card MTVPEMCER, Low Profile

[Edited on May 1, 2008 at 9:28 PM. Reason : .]

5/1/2008 9:25:20 PM

neodata686
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Vista still doesn't support qam? Have they not come out with any cablecards that allow you to view unencrypted qam yet?

5/1/2008 10:21:54 PM

Stein
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I've got my HTPC in a normal mid-tower case. I thought about getting something nice like one of those Silverstone cases, but at the end of the day it's something that for most uses is "out of sight; out of mind".

5/1/2008 10:29:37 PM

DirtyMonkey
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^^^ that's what i have now, and what i want to get away from. i'm always having to bring my laptop to the stereo and connect it via that adapter. i was hoping to get something like this that i could play from any computer in the house: http://the-gadgeteer.com/review/slimp3_network_mp3_player_review

but, for $229, i'd rather spend it on an ipod and connect it the same way. the main thing that bothers me is that i have to leave the laptop at the stereo and then i can't use it. and i always seem to want to use it when it's hooked up.

anyway, i'll just quit bitchin and get an ipod like everyone else. continue with the ultimate HTPC.

5/2/2008 12:33:32 AM

Prospero
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^why not wire your house with RCA cable to where your desk/laptop is?

I have a Zune with a docking station that's plugged in via 3.5mm to RCA into my home stereo speakers... my Zune can also sync wirelessly with my desktop to d/l new music.

5/2/2008 1:11:43 AM

stowaway
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^&whatever

I'm using rca from the computer to the receiver and I have to max the volume out on the computer to get it even close to the sound level output that all of the other components have. This increases distortion and background noise. It may be the snr of the turtle beach sound card (pretty old). That's one big reason I'm looking at a wireless network media player.

5/2/2008 7:36:37 AM

Prospero
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well that's obvious, because PC sound cards aren't amped.

many receivers these days have ipod jacks or mp3 player jacks that help with that.

[Edited on May 2, 2008 at 9:45 AM. Reason : .]

5/2/2008 9:43:00 AM

coolio526
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^ hmm I have been trying to solve that problem for a while, what would be the best/cheap solution to fix the background noise?

5/2/2008 9:46:12 AM

Prospero
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ground loop isolator? i don't know, i'm not an audio engineer

5/2/2008 9:51:35 AM

DirtyMonkey
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i could do that, but here's the deal. i've got this old, but still quite good, stereo with 4' tall speakers and a big wooden cabinet to house the components. its loud, clean, and full, and i like it, but it almost 20 years old. the cd changer doesn't play cd's anymore, so i have this piece of shit $30 dvd player hooked up to it for cd's but it is absurdly slow to operate and still doesn't address the mp3 issue. the amp is spotty and sometimes the right channel doesn't work. right now it's playing WKNC great though, so I don't want to just throw it out.

when it does break, i'll probably finally buy a surround receiver, move it to the tv cabinet, and get some smaller satellite speakers. so that's why i don't want to run wires to this "temporary" location. i may end up buying a receiver that plays over the network, or if that feature comes at too high of a premium i might get a xbox 360 and solve two problems

5/2/2008 11:28:08 AM

stowaway
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and the regular rca jacks coming out of a cd/dvd player or anything else IS amped? I'm not trying to tie them into speakers, they are going into the cd input on a new 5.1 receiver. Why should a soundcard line out, with it being maxed, play at such a reduced volume compared to a cd...

5/2/2008 11:51:19 AM

ENDContra
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http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria=AA72426&CartID=done&nextloc=
$167 for a LG Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo drive.
Now I have no need for a PS3

5/2/2008 5:46:05 PM

Prospero
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^definitely a must have if you have a HDTV

5/2/2008 6:00:13 PM

qntmfred
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false. I don't plan on ever getting a bluray or hddvd

5/2/2008 7:09:39 PM

neodata686
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^you just don't watch movies?

5/2/2008 11:46:35 PM

DirtyMonkey
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^ hopefully blu-ray will be quickly replaced by streaming services like xbox live and there will be no need. there's already a decent, but far, far from complete selection.

[Edited on May 3, 2008 at 5:58 PM. Reason : asdf]

5/3/2008 5:57:30 PM

ThatGoodLock
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Quote :
"hopefully blu-ray will be quickly replaced by streaming services like xbox live and there will be no need."


no. it won't happen quickly. Blu-ray discs can be as large as 50GB. they couldn't even stream DVD level video on a massive level atm.

5/3/2008 6:08:01 PM

neodata686
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http://www.engadget.com/2008/05/03/dvico-launches-pcie-based-fusionhdtv7-dual-hdtv-tuner-card/

5/3/2008 9:41:30 PM

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