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creating pc media center


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#1
gsvboss

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Trying to set up a media center via pc, want to download movies, set up dvr, burn dvd of programs and movies, access internet content such as youtube and google video, and be able to control this with a remote controller. I have read some on media extenders such as Appletv, Sagetv, but not sure if this is the way to go. Interested if anyone has tackled this, I don't like the monthly bill of tivo and lack of functions of web access. I have windows XP but not media center edition. I realize that I need a tv card. I have been able to hook up pc to tv with a s-video connection but to make that work I have to use the tv as the primary monitor and as the pc is in another room opposite the wall from the tv, I am not able to control the tv screen from keyboard/mouse as the pc monitor does not mirror what is displayed on the tv. Had to reboot pc to get back to original monitor setting. I am interested in anyone's thoughts on this. thanks
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#2
ninjaRad

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I have been working on this for some time now and here is what I have found works the best. Build a new pc for this purpose alone. There are some great cases out there designed to be a "htpc" and they are sharp (Zalman and Moneual, google is your friend). Some things to consider before building your new home theater pc: what is the end result you desire. For a system that will used for gaming you will want to put some top quality parts but if you just want to watch tv you can go budget system all the way.

My setup for a tivo replacement has an Athlon 64 x2 5000 processor (i think) w/ 1gig of cheap ram, 500 gig HD, DVD player (you can get a HD/Blu-Ray/DVD combo for $$$, check out the LG product), hauppauge 1600 TV tuner (comes with the remote, and analog and digital tuners), and ATI Radeon HD 3450 with a dvi to hdmi cable for HD picture (no sound over dvi but it is possible i hear) I did get a pretty nice mobo for this system from ASUS with on board wireless (this is a great feature). So the only two parts I spent any real money on were the case and Motherboard. This system is not one you want to game out on but for my set up it works great, check out ebay to go cheap I spent about $300 total and I wasn't really tring to save money, just wanted to get it working.

Once you have you're system built you need to determine how you want the system to operate. For web access (abilty to setup record/play fuctions over the internet) you will want to use my personal choice MythTV which means Linux for the os (there is a linux flavor available on the web which is setup and ready to go, i think it is called Linux Media Center) but get ready for the learning curve if you have never used Linux before. If you want to play games and for basic watch tv watching it means Windows and a more powerful system than the one I built above. I have found Vista Media Center works great but stay away from XP media center (funny how games work better on XP and Media Center on Vista. I haven't checked out Nero Home but it looks pretty much the same as Windows Media Center. The canned progs from the tv tuner cards are junk if you ask me.

Well I am sure there is a lot more to talk about. MediaPortal looks great but young and SageTV is another hit to your wallet, AppleTV is not something I have looked at. If you want I will go through the steps I took to set up my system but there are some great websites out there that will do a better job than me.

http://www.htpcnews.com/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Htpc are good places to start.
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#3
anzenketh

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I have a system just like this setup at my home. I use mythbuntu it is fairly easy to setup not a lot of linux knowledge is required. It works rather well The DVD playing part of it does not work all the time.
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