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View Full Version : Okay... alot of questions...



RhinoZ
28th November 2004, 19:53
Alrighty, I just pulled a double long day at work so I'm super tired but I'm a little wired to go to sleep. ( I knew I shouldn't have drank that bottle of cola )

Anyways I keep hearing about these home theater PC's. So I'm just wondering what you guys have built into your HTPCs?
Can some of you post your componets in your HTPC and what you use your HTPC for. I'm hoping this will give me a good starting point to see what I can do, and if it's something I would like to have.

I went through some of those links posted in the first thead, especially that AVS forum. My eyes are still all buggy from the colours, I'm still seeing blues and reds as I'm typing this. :D

Oh and here's some questions I posted for...

Do you guys copy your DVD's onto the hard drive and watch the dvd movies from the hard drive?

Or do you play the DVD on the pc's dvd player? And how is the quality on your tv?

If I put in a DVD recorder, will I be able to record tv shows onto the DVD? If not can it be done with the hard drive? ( I think this is a st**id question, but I'm not really thinking all that well right now )

DO you play MP3's or other music formats from your HTPCs?

And here's the question that's really been bugging me...

Do you use a wireless keyboard and mouse to access this HTPC? Or is there other SMALLER Devices that can be used?

I have a 32inch CRT TV, an Apex DVD player ( that's starting to die, that's why I'm thinking about a HTPC ), and all tied up nicely with a decent 5.1 setup.

Sorry about the long and probably winded post, but my mind is going a mile a miniute, and to be honest I'm pretty excited if this HTPC thing is all that it can be.

Thanks

Sasq
28th November 2004, 20:12
Busy at work, I use this, comes with a remote that ties in with the bundled software.
Remote plays reasonable well, I have a cordless mouse that covers anything that is irritating.
Will access radio, cd and mp3 cd's with the unit off.

http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/slim_pc/slm/pro_slm_detail.php?UID=547

Belwarrior
28th November 2004, 21:26
and for those who like AMD
http://www.msi.com.tw/html/active/2004/mega/promain_megapc180.htm

but i guess it is more fun to build your own :p

Sasq
28th November 2004, 21:35
the 180 had a lot of issues with the nV chipset, hench my choice of the 865.
more fun yes, err maybe. but not having to turn the damn thing on to get radio or cd is nice. I have it connected via the spdif out to a little creative 5.1 surround system (appartment is small, its more then enough for me)
I also have an S3 S8 vid card with HDTV out that looks sweet upon my widescreen WEGA

dZeus
29th November 2004, 03:09
components:
Coolermaster ATC600-SX1
Asus TUSL2-M MircoATX 815 chipset
P3-700E@933 Mhz
Matrox G400 vanilla dualhead (fanless)
M-Audio Revolution 7.1
Hauppauge PVR250
256 MB PC133 RAM
LiteOn 16x DVDROM
Seagate 40GB Barracuda ATA IV
Noisecontrol NoVibes III HDD suspension
PSU
Zalman flower heatsink
1 Panaflo L1A 80mm fan

I control the HTPC through wireless keyboard + wireless trackball, a remote that came with the PVR250 and through VNC over the network from my workstation.

DVD image quality is great through SCART-RGB from the G400, although I can't get zero framedrops because reclock doesn't know the exact refresh rate of DVDMAX (only of clone tv-out which isn't 100% equal to DVDMAX).

Byock
29th November 2004, 09:55
AMD 2600+
9800Pro AIW
SB Audigy 2
250GB HD

I have this connected to my 45" HDTV at 1660X996 @ 1080i

I am running XP Media Center. Use it for MP3's, Movies (DVD, DVD on HD, Divx, Etc) Games, TV with TiVO functionality (Pause live TV, record shows)

I use Any-DVD to remove copy protection real time, so I can play DVD's at 1080i res.

Works great , love it!

greinedo
29th November 2004, 11:41
My choosen HTPC components :

- AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (with Cool'nQuiet feature enabled, near a fanless CPU!), but overclocked stock speed + 15%
- ABIT AV8 socket 939 motherboard
- 512 MB RAM Kingstone value ram PC3200
- 430 W Antec TruePower PSU (silent)
- Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu CPU cooler (silent)
- SB Audigy 2
- Matrox P750 (the noisiest component in this PC, should try to remove the fan...)
- LiteOn DVDRW 851S
- Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard and mouse (+10 m far away from PC !)
- 15m x 4 high quality coaxial video cable from P750 to TV (R, G, B, csync)
- TV 16/9 32'' THOMSON SCENIUM 100Hz Motion Master
- Onkyo A/V amplifier + JVC amp (rear surround)
- A lot of speakers (5.1) including a DIY sub (12'' boomer, 120 l, 60 kg)

My preferred software setup (today) :

Zomm Player Pro 4.10
FFDSHOW software video processor (crop+resize+sharpen)
dscaler 5.004 MPEG2 video filter
Powerdvd 5 audio filter
reclock 1.4 audio renderer
VMR9 windowless renderer
powerstrip 3.54 build 478 drives the P750 in PAL (576i)
AnyDVD 4.1.1.2
WinAMP 5.06
DVDDecripter, SchrinkDVD, ...

Picture quality is amazing trough real RGB link to TV and DTS or DD sound trough Audigy 2 is great, but unfortunately, this setup is a bit to complicated for my wife ....

Byock
29th November 2004, 14:24
That was the great thing about Windows MCE. It passed the wife test a little too well, she won't let me use it! :rolleyes:

RhinoZ
29th November 2004, 17:58
Holy Smokes!!!
You guys don't mess around. Your HTPC rigs are more powerful than my own computer rig (AMD 1700+).
I was hoping to make up a HTPC easily and cheap.
Would an AMD 900MHz be good enough? Looks like I got alot of reading to do.
Thanks guys

Sasq
29th November 2004, 18:13
I didn't even have a cd player or radio after i left the wife. it was the most versitile way for me to get an Entertainment system working for the least amount of cash.

VJ
30th November 2004, 06:19
As I have a one-room appartment, I use my main system: my Matrox Parhelia 512 128 MB is connected to the TV, my audio (from the onboard :() goes via a mixing panel to a front and a rear amplifier (cumbersome, but I do get 4 channel audio :))

As a remote, I intend to use my next mobile (any day now) via bluetooth (with bemused software).

I would like to add video capture though, so I'm planning on a Canopus ADVC100 and a Lacie D2 external drive.

Only downside: IT IS NOISY... (7 fans in total, 2x 10K harddisks :()


Jörg

Byock
30th November 2004, 08:37
Originally posted by RhinoZ
Holy Smokes!!!
You guys don't mess around. Your HTPC rigs are more powerful than my own computer rig (AMD 1700+).
I was hoping to make up a HTPC easily and cheap.
Would an AMD 900MHz be good enough? Looks like I got alot of reading to do.
Thanks guys

If you have a hardware Mpeg encoder card for tv, like the PVR 150 or 250, then you should be fine. My AIW uses software, encoding, hence the need for the 2600+. I would use a different card, but need the ATI card for the HDTV output.

:p

gt40
30th November 2004, 10:12
Currently using:
a slow pokey celeron 1000
matrox g400 dual head
40 gig HD
128MB ram
oem DVD/cd player
twinhan 1020a dvb-s satellite card.

I'm using s/w called mytheater which allows viewing of the satellite transimissions w/timeshifting and recording capabilties - the recorded files are already in DVD format :) so tranfering to DVD is rather simple.
It also can be used to play DVDs, and can be operated with the remote included with the dvb-s card.
It's a dedicated HTPC but I'm really straining the CPU - all the MPG decoding must be handled in s/w. It does the job, but there isn't any overhead to do anything else with mytheatre running.
Output goes to my 15 yr old 32" Toshiba - still has a better picture than most newer televisions of the same size :)

RhinoZ
9th December 2004, 17:17
Hey dZeus,
How do you like your PVR-250?
I'm reading alot of bad feedback from people reviews.
Thanks

DirtFarmer
9th December 2004, 18:34
Parked in the Basement directly below my Stereo and TV is my Media Server:

Aopen HX-08 Tower Case (with side panel removed)
Aopen AX6BC-Pro2 -Millenium Edition
Intel P3-550 @ 733Mhz
384MB RAM
ATI 9200 - svideo out to TV (kinda yucky)
Hauppauge PVR 350 with TV-out
*soon adding external USB2 PVR
Promise Ulta-100 TX2
1x80GB Maxtor
1x200GB WD JB series
*soon 2 more 200GB WD JB series
SB Undead Value
Pioneer DVD (collecting dust)
3 com 10/100 NIC
* soon d-link 100/1000 NIC
gyration RF wirless Keyboard / mouse
usb-uirt ir receiver/sender

Software:
Windows XP Pro SP1
Sage TV 2.0 / Server
2 licenses of Sage TV-Client for other PC's on the network

TV-out quality right now is excellent from the PVR-350 but software stability is not great when enabling the OSD from the Sage TV. TV quality of the ATI on the S-video is tolerable at best, but it will have to do till I can afford an HDTV.
I rip DVD's uncompressed with DVD-Shrink then compress to Divx with Dr. Divx or Flask and archive them on the Media Server.

You don't want to know how many hours of Spongebob Squarepants the kids had me archive on the server.:eek:

agallag
9th December 2004, 18:49
Has anyone tried Media Portal (http://mediaportal.sourceforge.net/) yet? It's the PC port of Xbox Media Center, which is pretty good. I'm thinking of building an HTPC after christmas, and I'm trying to plan the setup.

RhinoZ
10th December 2004, 17:49
That looks pretty good, on paper.
But I've said the same thing when BeOS was first starting.

agallag
10th December 2004, 21:19
I think it has more hope than BeOS, since it's already a fairly proven code base, with tons of users on the Xbox. They've got a bunch of performance tuning to do, but it's already quite nice.

RhinoZ
11th December 2004, 08:07
Hey Agallag,
Have you tried media portal out?

I've had to put my planning on hold for a bit. Just too busy, Christmas just got closer this weekend.
How's your planning going?

agallag
11th December 2004, 09:35
I installed it on my main PC just to see what it looked like. I don't have a tuner so I couldn't test that part, but overall it looks pretty good. Performance isn't good yet, but they're working on that.

RhinoZ
12th December 2004, 11:16
Okay, I can't find my old Matrox card.
So what are some of the kinds of cards I should be looking for. I only need it for DVD playback on a CRT TV.