Originally Posted by Lindy0026
I have a bunch of ideas of what I want to do with computers and my setup. The HTPC is going to be a key piece of equipment in this theater. It will be used for watching content, gaming, and basically anything computer related that we would want to see or hear in a theater setting. I'll be using an Xbox One for games and as a bluray player. It turns out that I really like the Kinect, so I am having to design things around that as they do not have any sort of extension cord for it yet. The theater is going to be wired so that there are USB ports at the front of the riser that plug into the HTPC. I'll find a rack mountable case and build the PC myself. I've done lots of PC build before, so that aspect is trivial. The last PC I built was my current desktop and that was about 4 years ago, so I am not up to speed with the current equipment scene. I also don't know much about HTPC equipment.
I don't have cable and don't have plans to get anything like that. I am installing an attic antenna to pull in OTA channels. Would you use a TV tuner card for this, or one of those stand alone boxes?
As far as sound goes, is it recommended to get a dedicated sound card instead of using onboard audio? I want to push everything with HDMI, so I don't want an audio card that would require its own audio cable.
I would also like to get some sort of NAS for the household. I would like to have one central place for storage for the household computers. Photos, videos, music and data would all live here and be streamed to other devices as needed. I've seen you argue that you don't like the NAS in a box solutions out there, and prefer to build your own. Are you opposed to these solutions because they are more expensive, or are there performance reasons? If I did go through the trouble of building a NAS PC, would I gain other features besides storage?
The USB idea on the riser is pretty trick. I think I am going to steal that idea and do it. !
I also don't have cable. I cancelled it, and only subscribe to the local channels through my provider, it costs me about $6 a month and includes HD. OTA antenna is a good option for you, you won't need to mess around with cable cards and all that nonsense, so any HD tuner card for the HTPC should work great!
Personally I like the HD homerun stuff, which is external network driven tuners. If you have LAN run in your house you can get it all over and in multiple locations. If you are only interested in a single room solution you might be better with the CETON tuner cards though, and install into a PCI express slot on your mobo and just be done with it. Both options work pretty good.
YOU DO NOT NEED A SOUNDCARD! Sorry to yell that. lol. The HDMI output will bring all the high quality uncompressed audio you need right to your AVR or preamp. All you need is a motherboard (or GPU card) with HDMI output. HDMI can carry sound with perfect quality.
The NAS can get tricky. Sky is the limit. Your main choices will be a preconfigured and pre manufactured NAS box solution (think Synology, Qnap, Drobo etc) which you just add hard drives too, or building a dedicated media server. The pre built NAS is weak and expensive, but it's simple to set up and comes with smart phone apps and software that is easy to set up and use. A dedicated media server will cheaper, and higher performance but you'll need to do some building and installing of software. Not hard stuff but some people want to avoid that.
That usually makes up the choice for many.
With a media server you can build it as cheap and simple as you want, or as powerful and large as you want. My flexraid server is 50TB now. I started with 12TB. It was very nice to "grow as I go" too... which is the advantage to the media server route in that you can add on or upgrade or expand as you need. You are much more limited with a NAS, you'd need to buy another to expand at some point.
Your third and easy option would be build a nice HTPC and use that as an all in one machine for now, stuff it full of some 4TB hard drives and keep your storage local in the machine. You can still set it up to network and share the space on your LAN with other devices, and run ROKU or whatevers off it. That would save you the cost for now, and when you have your feet wet a little more you could build the media server and just move over your hard drives.
Doing it all at once is best. But it costs the most too.
Give this a read: The Thompson Theater 11.9 channels
There was some good info in there, start at the begining of the thread and then stop on the few HTPC and media server posts, some of them have good info with additional links. That should get you started and get your some good back ground. When you are ready to take the next step let me know, we can do a build list and plan specific to your needs and budget.
Before you get too far you'll want to know the following:
What you want to do with it?
Do you want to transcode? Or use multiple devices (like ipad, iphone, android, kindle, roku, windows phone, laptops, apple tv etc)
Do you want to watch media when away from home / need remote access to NAS ?
This will dictate the direction you go, since you'll need a decent CPU to transcode on the fly but any weak CPU can serve files or be a NAS. For the HTPC you are probably looking at something like an Intel socket LGA 1150 dual or quad core build, with 8GB ram and a motherboard with HDMI out, and a nice SSD for the OS drive Nothing too crazy there.