Originally Posted by barada83
Can you tell me your specs for your HTPC, software and hardware? Can it also do cable?
I'm thinking at this point of possibly going with one "master" HTPC that has a bit more power to it and then a barebones "slave" HTPC for streaming. Bad idea?
Sure, here they are. The prices are current from Newegg.
CPU: Intel Celeron E3200 (no longer available, but E3300 is $52)
Motherboard: Intel DG45ID ($100)
Memory: 2x1GB DDR2-800 ($45)
Case: Antec FusionRemote Micro 350 ($100)
Remote: Logitech Harmony 550 ($80, although I got a much better deal on it)
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR-1250 ($54)
Mouse/Keyboard: Microsoft Wireless Desktop ($30)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ($100)
BD-ROM: Lite-On BD-ROM retail ($65)
BD playback software: PowerDVD 9 Ultra upgrade ($60)
Total cost comes to $685, which is not what I paid. My CPU was $45, my remote was $45, my tuner card was $45 with a $10 rebate, and I got a free copy of Win 7 for hosting a launch party. With those changes it comes down to $525, and if you can knock off a lot by getting a cheaper case. I only chose that one because it fits in well with home theater stuff and has a built-in IR receiver.
It does cable as long as it's sent Clear QAM (which all of my channels are - we don't watch much TV so we only get the basic package). If you want to do cable without a cable box, you'd need a tuner card with CableCard support. They get expensive very fast, and you'll still need to rent a cablecard from the cable company for each PC.
If I did it again, I'd build an i3 system to get HD audio bitstreaming, but that does get more expensive. ($244 for cpu/mobo/ram instead of $197)
edit: If you don't need HD audio support for blu-rays, you can stick with the OEM version of PowerDVD (included with the drive) and be fine. I also didn't buy all of the above at once. The remote was later and the PowerDVD upgrade was later.