My goal is to quickly build a bare-bones HTPC that really does nothing more than let me control SlingPlayer (Windows-based software) with a remote control. I'd like to get this built as cheaply and as quickly as possible.
I'm sorry to post a generic question about "what should I buy" -- I've been reading through the guides and a lot of posts, but the set up I'm looking for seems to be pretty unique.
Since my SlingCatcher died, I'm currently running the SlingPlayer software on a laptop connected to our TV. The software provides an on-screen virtual remote to access all the DirectTV menus. Most of the buttons have keyboard shortcuts, which I'm hoping to be able to map to a remote.
I don't need any tuners, bluray players/burners, dvr capability, or anything like that, however, I would like the ability to upgrade in the future. The thought of being able to do casual gaming on the TV is intriguing, but low priority. If the cost delta isn't too great, I'd like it to be able to do 3D.
I'm assuming that the modern video cards handle the audio through HDMI, but the problem is my receiver doesn't, so I'll need the option of running my sound through some other means (optical or coxial?) to my receiver, and the video directly to my TV.
My main goal is having a permanent piece of hardware connected to my TV/Stereo with a remote that will give me full control of my SlingPlayer software (if possible) for as cheap as possible, yet giving me room to add components and fancier options and have a kick ass HTPC in the future.
Thanks in advance for any recommendations.