Getting a home theater together-Quick, easy, basic HTPC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-19-2012, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm a latecomer to integrating a PC into my home theater, heck, I'm a latecomer to having a home theater! We are only just now getting around to purchasing our first large flat panel this year. We decided to go with the Vizio E601i-A3 (60" LED) as its the largest TV that will fit the space, it's definitely priced right, and I've read a couple of good reviews on this site. It is a "Smart TV" but from what I've read here, using a HTPC instead of the Wi-Fi capabilities of the TV will give more flexibilty. Basically I want to be able to use WMC7 to bundle a bunch of features I want for our home theater:

Live sports (via cable and OTA)
Ability to DVR our favorite TV shows to be watched later without buying/renting a cable company DVR
Store movies and music
Utilize Netflix, Amazon Prime (I know it doesn't really work with WMC7), and other services
Watch Youtube and other web based content on a large screen

We're not gamers nor do we want 3D capability, and as far as movie and music storage it wouldn't be a lot-we don't currently have a Blu-ray player and the movies we would like to store (less than 100) are on DVD and most likely won't ever be available on Blu-ray (they're hard enough to find on DVD), so something with a 1TB hard drive would probably be fine for now. I'm hoping someone could give a recommendation on a good store bought PC, $500 or less that I could use to power this system given our wants and needs. Finally, our current internet service is DSL through Century Link, which is the local voice and data provider. They do not offer television service so they offer a bundle (which we have) with DISH Network. The fastest internet we can can get at our location through them is up to 10Mbps down and up to 768Kbps up. Comcast is the only other option but their website is terrible and I can't actually find their speeds. I'm just trying to figure out which one would be the best option as far as speed for streaming movies.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-19-2012, 10:14 AM
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If you want to use OTA then SiliconDust HD HomeRun is one of the options. If you are going to sign up with Comcast, then Ceton InifniTV4 or Silicon Dust HD HomeRun Prime are your choices. you can mix and match however you want to get the most coverage.

There are no PC tuners that work with sattelite TV, unless you want to rent boxes from sattelite, and connect them to HTPC using archaic tuner set up with IR blasters so that HTPC can change channels on the boxes.

As far as the actual build, there are tons of options, it all depends how much you want to spend. I just built a "DVR" for my sister and it cost me under $400 for everything. I prefer AMD, since they get the job done with minimal costs. Some will steer you towards Intel. However, you pay for that.

AMD Athlon II X2: $30
ECS AM3 mobo - FAR
8 Gb RAM: $20
750 Gb HDD: $40 (roughly good for 60 hours of HD recordings)
Case with PSU: $40
Rosewil Remote: $10
DVD-RW: $15
Ceton InifniTV4 quad tuner: $150
Win 7: $30

If you have any of the parts laying around, like older HDD's, DVD burners/drives, cases, PSU's. ect, you can re-use those.

I know they will eventually want to connect other TV's in the house. I will have to upgrade them to Athlon II X4 or Phenom X4 for $50, and Media Center Extenders ($100). They can add external hard drives to expand the storage capability.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-19-2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

If you want to use OTA then SiliconDust HD HomeRun is one of the options. If you are going to sign up with Comcast, then Ceton InifniTV4 or Silicon Dust HD HomeRun Prime are your choices. you can mix and match however you want to get the most coverage.
There are no PC tuners that work with sattelite TV, unless you want to rent boxes from sattelite, and connect them to HTPC using archaic tuner set up with IR blasters so that HTPC can change channels on the boxes.
As far as the actual build, there are tons of options, it all depends how much you want to spend. I just built a "DVR" for my sister and it cost me under $400 for everything. I prefer AMD, since they get the job done with minimal costs. Some will steer you towards Intel. However, you pay for that.
AMD Athlon II X2: $30
ECS AM3 mobo - FAR
8 Gb RAM: $20
750 Gb HDD: $40 (roughly good for 60 hours of HD recordings)
Case with PSU: $40
Rosewil Remote: $10
DVD-RW: $15
Ceton InifniTV4 quad tuner: $150
Win 7: $30
If you have any of the parts laying around, like older HDD's, DVD burners/drives, cases, PSU's. ect, you can re-use those.
I know they will eventually want to connect other TV's in the house. I will have to upgrade them to Athlon II X4 or Phenom X4 for $50, and Media Center Extenders ($100). They can add external hard drives to expand the storage capability.

where do u get Win 7 for $30?
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-19-2012, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

As far as the actual build, there are tons of options, it all depends how much you want to spend. I just built a "DVR" for my sister and it cost me under $400 for everything. I prefer AMD, since they get the job done with minimal costs. Some will steer you towards Intel. However, you pay for that.

That's the thing-I was hoping to not have to build one (wouldn't even know where to start), but rather buy a PC off the shelf, install a tuner card or two, connect it all, and go. Could anyone recommend a good sub $500 PC for that purpose?
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-19-2012, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

There are no PC tuners that work with sattelite TV, unless you want to rent boxes from sattelite, and connect them to HTPC using archaic tuner set up with IR blasters so that HTPC can change channels on the boxes.
I believe some people are using Hauppauge Colossus, though not a tuner per say, and even are able to get the HDMI input to work (even on HBO with some of the older satellite boxes). Also, an HD-PVR is an option as well. Additionally, on DirectTV, quite a few of the boxes have enabled the ethernet ports and it is possible to change the channel via ethernet as well.
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