A HTPC for a college kid - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-11-2011, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
iff2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hey guys, I will be purchasing a 1080p projector for my apartment next semester and I would like to use an old laptop as a htpc.

Essentially, my college only provides composite cables for TV, so I need to buy a hd-tv tuner, like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000OLSJNU/...net_mp-2611-20

Then I need to run the signal to my PC, and output the image through either an HDMI or VGA cable to my projector. I have a Lenovo T60 (a laptop), with an ATI X1300 graphics card and a centrino duo processor with 1GB of RAM running XP SP3. My concern is that the integrated graphics card will not be enough for smooth 1080p video, so would it be possible if I purchased a mini-pci-e card for the T60? I know it's not the best computer, but I got it for free and I think it's worth a shot. I'm open to suggestions for any hdtv tuner or graphics card, so feel free to suggest your input. Thanks guys!
iff2 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 08-12-2011, 12:28 PM
Advanced Member
 
bjterry62's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: New England USA
Posts: 765
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by iff2 View Post

Hey guys, I will be purchasing a 1080p projector for my apartment next semester and I would like to use an old laptop as a htpc.

Essentially, my college only provides composite cables for TV, so I need to buy a hd-tv tuner, like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000OLSJNU/...net_mp-2611-20

Then I need to run the signal to my PC, and output the image through either an HDMI or VGA cable to my projector. I have a Lenovo T60 (a laptop), with an ATI X1300 graphics card and a centrino duo processor with 1GB of RAM running XP SP3. My concern is that the integrated graphics card will not be enough for smooth 1080p video, so would it be possible if I purchased a mini-pci-e card for the T60? I know it's not the best computer, but I got it for free and I think it's worth a shot. I'm open to suggestions for any hdtv tuner or graphics card, so feel free to suggest your input. Thanks guys!

So you plan to do OTA HDTV on a 5yr old lappy to an 1080p HD projector over VGA? Doesn't sound like a winning combination. There's no way you would consider a Mini HTPC with decent storage and graphics? I believe Assassin's guide has some in the low hundreds cost-wise.

BT

Just remember, to the MPAA "We're all guilty until..............."
bjterry62 is offline  
Old 08-12-2011, 12:48 PM
AVS Special Member
 
fitbrit's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 2,081
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Your concerns over video are well founded. 1080p won't be a good experience for you.
fitbrit is offline  
Old 08-13-2011, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
iff2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjterry62 View Post


So you plan to do OTA HDTV on a 5yr old lappy to an 1080p HD projector over VGA? Doesn't sound like a winning combination. There's no way you would consider a Mini HTPC with decent storage and graphics? I believe Assassin's guide has some in the low hundreds cost-wise.

BT

I would consider a mini htpc, but I thought I would give the T60 a shot first before I jumped the gun. I have a bunch of old laptops and netbooks that I thought I could put to use- my Dell Mini 1010 has an HDMI port but the integrated GMA500 card is probably worse than the X1300. I'll probably be getting a projector like the Optoma HD20 for about a $1000 to give you an idea about the "1080p" quality that I will be utilizing. I'm also willing to upgrade the T60 if you think that it could handle the job with a better graphics card or ram. I'll look in to Assassin's guide too, thanks for the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fitbrit View Post

Your concerns over video are well founded. 1080p won't be a good experience for you.

I figured the graphics card and processor weren't going to cut it, but I wasn't sure if this could be a minimum spec rig to get the job done. However in regards to the tv tuner, do you have any recommendations? I might end up using my newer laptop (core i7, SSD, 1GB vid ram, etc. etc.), which can easily handle 1080p, since it maybe only option to use OTA. However, do you think I could run 720p on the T60 with a lower-end projector? I'm just curious...
iff2 is offline  
Old 08-15-2011, 10:40 AM
dbc
Member
 
dbc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 77
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
If it's just OTA HD, the video on your T60 doesn't sound like a deal breaker.

Everything will depend more on the system requirements of your specific tuner dongle.

If you want to playback other types of HD sources, then it starts getting more complicated.
dbc is offline  
Old 08-15-2011, 11:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
MrBobb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,345
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Liked: 32
Ur in college? layoff the toys, hit the books. Come up with the next Facebook!
MrBobb is offline  
Old 08-15-2011, 11:23 AM
AVS Special Member
 
almostinsane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,027
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 24
Go to the parties, hit on the girls.
almostinsane is offline  
Old 08-15-2011, 11:58 AM
Advanced Member
 
ljo000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 785
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 18
You could always get a media player instead of a full HTPC. I have an Xtreamer that I added a 500gb drive (total cost ~$200) and it does 1080p mkv via HDMI with no problems. You can transfer files to/from it and your laptop over your network.
ljo000 is offline  
Old 08-15-2011, 01:35 PM
Senior Member
 
hceuterpe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 491
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjterry62 View Post
So you plan to do OTA HDTV on a 5yr old lappy to an 1080p HD projector over VGA? Doesn't sound like a winning combination. There's no way you would consider a Mini HTPC with decent storage and graphics? I believe Assassin's guide has some in the low hundreds cost-wise.

BT
You guys need to read up on Thinkpads. Saying the OP has to use VGA for his video is a silly statement. You can stick with a digital (DVI) output by getting a docking station. They are easily under $50 used on eBay. The docking stations for T60/T61/T400 are all interchangeable (and I think many more models). I also suggest the Silicon Dust HDHomerun network (via ethernet) tuners. A dual tuner is under $100. Hopefully you got a router that serves IP addresses through DHCP.

The bigger question will be whether your CPU can handle 1080p video. Probably with MPEG-2, but you might be pushing it for H.264 and VC-1 even. I'd try some 1080p H.264 material first to see if you want to shell out for addons.

Alternatively, may want to consider using the T60 just to record content and then use your newer laptop to watch it. You can definitely test all this out first before you spend any money. A networked tuner like the HDHomeRun will definitely be better for an older machine then a USB tuner. Also, you may want to look for the "advanced" dock as it has a PCI express slot and an expresscard slot so that will give more options. That unit is 250310U.
hceuterpe is offline  
 
Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off