I must say, I think we may finally be approaching the golden age of the HTPC. I have owned/operated an htpc for probably 10 years. There has always been glitches, shortcomings, tweaks that need to be done, fine-tunings here or there, it has always been a work in progress with the rare WAF. And while it may continue to be a work in progress going forward, it won't be out of necessity so much as out of new functionality.
I currently operate the following: (and oh yes its overkill)
1 - Home-built HTPC (nothing special)
- P45 chipset, E8500 proc, 4 GB ram, Crucial C300 64GB as the OS drive, 1-2 tb HD space, bluray reader, ATI 5600 series GPU and a Ceton Infinitv 4 tuner card.
- This is my main TV viewing, movie watching, all encompassing rig.
2 - Zotac Nano AD10 mini htpcs
- One has an ssd main drive, one has a standard 200gb 7200 rpm drive. Both are running Windows 64 bit OS.
- Both work incredibly well in so many ways I have even thought of replacing my main htpc. They are incredibly quiet. They are incredibly efficient. They go in and out of sleep better than any other htpc I have used (all by remote control, no need to walk up to the pc and push the power button).
1 - XBOX extender (probably to be replaced with another Zotac at least for TV duties in the future)
The 2 Zotac boxes utilize a Silicondust HDHomerun Prime 3 tuner sitting on the network. The XBOX extends off of the home-built HTPC and its Ceton card.
For network storage:
1 - HP Mediasmart server with an external raid array attached via eSata
1 - ReadNas NV+
Current total storage between the two is around 12TB usable, with a couple more slots for additional drives.
All htpc's use the xbmc plugin for MCE and all of my movies and tv shows are run through the XBMC front-end (other than recordings from the TV tuner cards).
I use a Harmony One to control the main htpc rig and it is stellar and completely child/wife proof.
For the Zotac's I use a couple of older Harmony's that still work quite well with only a couple devices in the mix.
One of the best things about my setup (which again is overkill, who needs 7 tv cable card tuners?) is that I have removed all rented cable boxes from the equation and my viewing experience is light years better than what Comcast could ever offer. The menu's are better, the content is richer, all my movies at my fingertips, and no rental fee's.
If I could classify myself I would say I have always been restless when it comes to the HTPC. Trying to hunt down answers to problems, upgrade software, fix issues, improve the overall experience. I've spent countless hours on this forum looking for answers. This of course would impede me from the true goal, enjoying the overall experience. I think that at this point I can finally sit back and enjoy because I have finally found my happy place and hopefully others out there are arriving along with me!