HTPC build with cablecard (FIOS) (Now help!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 06-17-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I built the box with a couple of tweaks from your posts (thanks) and got the cable card up and running last night no problem. I was happy. When I got up this morning the box wouldn't turn on. After spending about an hour troubleshooting, it's down to a dead CPU or motherboard (won't even power up). I tried with a new power supply, no hard disks, and different individual rams sticks. This was a functioning PC two weeks ago. So, today's much less than fun questions

* Is there an easy test to see if it's the MB or CPU?
* Recommendations for a good, inexpensive MB/CPU combo for replacement.

Required:
MATX size
on board video


Current build:
Case - Cooler Master N200 (MATX)
PSU - Corsair CX430
RAM .. Corsair 8GB DDR3 1333
hard disks - 120GB SSD and 500GB & 1TB HDD
No video card,
Ceton InfiniTV4

Thanks.


Long time occasional reader, first time participant.

What started off as a small idea has morphed into a project. My goal was to replace my cable boxes & DVR with a Cablecard device to save those monthly fees (I’m on FIOS). Once I started looking into it I decided to
(1) wire the house with Cat6. I get a lousy wireless signal (old house plaster walls) and decided that moving hi-res video around the house would work better over wired.
(2) Build an HTPC to house the Ceton InfiniTV 4 and (maybe) act as a media server. I’d like to use as many “spare” parts that I already have. I figure it’s better to have one box running 24/7 than 2 boxes.

Goals.
• Use the HTPC as a DVR.
• Watch the recorded video on 3 separate TVs.
• Stream recorded/ripped/downloaded video (no transcoding. That will be done on another box if necessary).
• Since this will be on all the time, minimize electrical costs.

Parts (good enough?)
• MB Asrock H67M-GE.
• CPU Intel i3-2105
• RAM .. Corsair 8GB DDR3 1333
• 30GB OCZ SSDs (for OS & a couple of programs)
• 500GB & 1TB HDD (for DVR). Will upgrade size when needed for media storage.
• Power supplies ranging from 450-650W (always good to have spares)
• Win 7 Professional (one license available)

Questions
• I have a couple of old cases that I can reuse, but none of them have USB 3.0. Is that necessary for this type of box?
• Is a video card necessary? I have 7600 GS, 7600 GT & 8400 GS laying around. MB in this configuration supports Intel HD 2000 graphics
• I’m going to be using WMC for the software, can I use a PS3 as an extender? What stand alone boxes other than Xbox 360 (Roku 3) can I use as an extender?

Any and all suggestions/help greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-17-2013, 10:49 AM
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1. usb 3.0 not necessary at case level. the backplate will have it anyway if you need it for external storage.
2. not for regular playback unless you want to mess with madvr or game
3. Don't know about PS3, but I use a Roku1 with Plex and it works great.

You're overdoing it on the PSU's IMO. 30GB will fit windows 7 but not much else. Performance suffers if you run it near filled.
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-17-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ruiner View Post

1. usb 3.0 not necessary at case level. the backplate will have it anyway if you need it for external storage.
2. not for regular playback unless you want to mess with madvr or game
3. Don't know about PS3, but I use a Roku1 with Plex and it works great.

You're overdoing it on the PSU's IMO. 30GB will fit windows 7 but not much else. Performance suffers if you run it near filled.

Thanks.

This will be a dedicated box so no gaming and no plans to play with madvr (yet).
I have 2 30 GB SSds, so I can run them as one drive or 1 for OS and one for programs.

Not sure about Plex. How does that play with WMC (which I need for the cablecard)?
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post #4 of 22 Old 06-17-2013, 12:17 PM
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Plex runs as a server in the background on your main box. Install the matching channel to a Roku and you can stream media to it. WMC not affected.
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-17-2013, 04:23 PM
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Hey-

I was more or less in the same boat you were. I too am a fios customer and wanted to get rid of the DVR boxes. Here are a few things that I can point out to you.

1. Have you built a PC before, if yes great, If no, then the first thing you need to do is Purchase Assassin's HTPC beginner Guide. The fact of the matter is putting the PC together is relatively simple enought, you just plug things into the motherboard, it's like lego. The tough part is tweaking the the bad boy after the build so it can play and do what you want it to do. That is where his guide becomes priceless.

2. If you have the money great, but I purchased some powerline adapters for my house to help with the streaming of content. You do not want to work with wireless for streaming. So if you have not research powerline adpater yet you should.

3. If you know that you are going to Keep you HTPC running 24/7 then there is no need to get an SSD, it almost defeats the purpose of a quick load time. Why would you need a quick load time if the PC is on all the time. On the other hand, if you are 1000% sure you are going with the SSD you should try to go with a larger one. I have a 180g Intel SSD330, I believe that's the name,. I got it from MicroCenter on Black Friday for $99.

Best of Luck
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post #6 of 22 Old 06-17-2013, 05:14 PM
 
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A minimum of 60GB is needed - you will be hard pressed to get what you want onto a 30GB drive. The SSD is wonderful if you are going to use MediaBrowser. It turned my "this is good" experience into a "this is how it should be" experience.
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post #7 of 22 Old 06-18-2013, 09:20 AM
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Neither PS3, nor Roku with plex won't work with live TV. As far as I understand you have to have a "finished file" If the content is copyright protected, Plex won't touch it.

XBOX360, Ceton Echo, Linksys, D-link, and HP extenders are the ONLY way to get LIVE and Recorded TV that has copyright protection enabled.

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 #8 of 22 Old 06-18-2013, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks blueiedgod. That's what I was expecting (but of course, not hoping) to hear. I'll have to add extenders to 2 remote TVs. I assume a direct HDMI connection to one TV won't require an extender. It will treat that TV as a monitor.

Thanks for the tips stamina1914. I've built a number of computers in the past, so I'm comfortable wiggling the parts around. I tried powerline and it was pretty weak as well (old electrical in the house too), but that is behind me now. Just finished 8 Cat 6 drops around the house smile.gif

My boys are ecstatic to move off wireless.

And thanks cybrsage. I'll probably run the two 30GB SSDs in a raid 0 config to get the 60GB you recommend.
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post #9 of 22 Old 06-18-2013, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Neither PS3, nor Roku with plex won't work with live TV. As far as I understand you have to have a "finished file" If the content is copyright protected, Plex won't touch it.

XBOX360, Ceton Echo, Linksys, D-link, and HP extenders are the ONLY way to get LIVE and Recorded TV that has copyright protection enabled.

At the moment I would ONLY go with Xbox 360's as extenders.

1: Only extenders that will work with Windows 8

2. Other than Echo, only extender still in production.

3. is classed as a type 3 extender (the best type) Only one to be a type 3

4. Lots of them around- can find them a great $$. Look for some with broken DVD drives. If quiet is important the newer the Xbox the better.
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post #10 of 22 Old 06-18-2013, 08:20 PM
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A lot of good points there, but I still love my Echos.When Ceton eventually finishes Android integration it will likely have far more streaming possibilities than Xbox, and without any monthly fee. Also, my Xboxes eventually got very loud, much too loud for a bedroom. So I think Echos still deserve some consideration.
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post #11 of 22 Old 06-19-2013, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GE01 View Post

Thanks blueiedgod. That's what I was expecting (but of course, not hoping) to hear. I'll have to add extenders to 2 remote TVs. I assume a direct HDMI connection to one TV won't require an extender. It will treat that TV as a monitor.

Thanks for the tips stamina1914. I've built a number of computers in the past, so I'm comfortable wiggling the parts around. I tried powerline and it was pretty weak as well (old electrical in the house too), but that is behind me now. Just finished 8 Cat 6 drops around the house smile.gif

My boys are ecstatic to move off wireless.

And thanks cybrsage. I'll probably run the two 30GB SSDs in a raid 0 config to get the 60GB you recommend.

I never liked extenders. They do live TV, but limited support for some movie formats, and, as others have pointed out, not exactly well built. I have FIOS and a Ceton InfiniTV card installed on a Windows Home Server. The four tuners on the Ceton card are attached to two different HTPC's via network bridge (2 tuners each). I can watch live TV from each of my HTPC's. They record locally and archive recordings to the server overnight. I can watch recorded TV shows on anything with a screen. Since you're running cat 6 everywhere, this arrangement would work very well for you.

I disagree with others here on 30 Gb not being enough for windows 7. I have 40 Gb SSD's installed on my HTPC's, and I've never used more than 18 Gb on them. I could probably trim them back to 15 Gb if I decided to. RAID 0 with any two drives strikes me as dangerous on a HTPC. You're doubling your speed and doubling the likelihood of a drive failure. You're living fast and loose on a machine that you'd like to be stable.
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post #12 of 22 Old 06-19-2013, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ajkrishock View Post

I never liked extenders. They do live TV, but limited support for some movie formats, and, as others have pointed out, not exactly well built. I have FIOS and a Ceton InfiniTV card installed on a Windows Home Server. The four tuners on the Ceton card are attached to two different HTPC's via network bridge (2 tuners each). I can watch live TV from each of my HTPC's. They record locally and archive recordings to the server overnight. I can watch recorded TV shows on anything with a screen. Since you're running cat 6 everywhere, this arrangement would work very well for you.
.

I understand your point, but a server & 3 HTPCs seems like overkill for my arrangement. Mostly used for live TV & recording same. Plus 2 of the TVs get very limited use, they just need the capability. I'm figuring all recording on one box and viewing only (recorded & live) on the other two TVs.
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post #13 of 22 Old 06-20-2013, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GE01 View Post

Thanks blueiedgod. That's what I was expecting (but of course, not hoping) to hear. I'll have to add extenders to 2 remote TVs. I assume a direct HDMI connection to one TV won't require an extender. It will treat that TV as a monitor.

....

My boys are ecstatic to move off wireless.

Yes, 1 TV directly connected to HTPC, and 2 more over the network using extenders.

You can boost your wireless coverage by connecting additional wi-fi routers with DHCP disabled via LAN-to-LAN over your wired network. IF you set them all up with the same SSID and Passkey, and just change the radio signal to non-overlapping channels, you will get 100% wi-fi coverage in the house. Devices will hop from one router to another, as you move through the house. I am using a $15 Belkin with DD-WRT as main router, and 3x $8 Verizon's Westell routers as access points/bridges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddD View Post

At the moment I would ONLY go with Xbox 360's as extenders.

1: Only extenders that will work with Windows 8

2. Other than Echo, only extender still in production.

3. is classed as a type 3 extender (the best type) Only one to be a type 3

4. Lots of them around- can find them a great $$. Look for some with broken DVD drives. If quiet is important the newer the Xbox the better.

As much as I want to agree with you on XBOX 360, the points are only relevant if one were to use Windows 8. XBOX can draw anywhere form 155 to 203 watts if not more. Dedicated extenders only draw 10-20 watts. almost a 10 fold difference in power consumption.

XBOX does boot much quicker than stand alone extenders, but extenders can remain powered even after TV is off. Running 360 24/7 at 200 watts can be an expensive venture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajkrishock View Post

I never liked extenders. They do live TV, but limited support for some movie formats, and, as others have pointed out, not exactly well built. I have FIOS and a Ceton InfiniTV card installed on a Windows Home Server. The four tuners on the Ceton card are attached to two different HTPC's via network bridge (2 tuners each). I can watch live TV from each of my HTPC's. They record locally and archive recordings to the server overnight. I can watch recorded TV shows on anything with a screen. Since you're running cat 6 everywhere, this arrangement would work very well for you.

I disagree with others here on 30 Gb not being enough for windows 7. I have 40 Gb SSD's installed on my HTPC's, and I've never used more than 18 Gb on them. I could probably trim them back to 15 Gb if I decided to. RAID 0 with any two drives strikes me as dangerous on a HTPC. You're doubling your speed and doubling the likelihood of a drive failure. You're living fast and loose on a machine that you'd like to be stable.

This will only work until FiOS starts enforcing copyright restrictions, which they stated they will. Copyrighted content can only be played back on the machine it was recorded on. Also, with your set up,you are dealing with 2 recording schedules, whereas with extenders, there is single unified recording schedule. You don't have to question whether a program will be recorded or not, you can see all of your future (schedule) and past recordings (already recorded content) on any TV.

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 #14 of 22 Old 06-20-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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As much as I want to agree with you on XBOX 360, the points are only relevant if one were to use Windows 8. XBOX can draw anywhere form 155 to 203 watts if not more. Dedicated extenders only draw 10-20 watts. almost a 10 fold difference in power consumption.

XBOX does boot much quicker than stand alone extenders, but extenders can remain powered even after TV is off. Running 360 24/7 at 200 watts can be an expensive venture.
.

You hit my hot button there. I'm hoping to keep the operating costs down. I'm leaning towards the Ceton Echo for the extender.
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post #15 of 22 Old 06-20-2013, 07:21 PM
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This will only work until FiOS starts enforcing copyright restrictions, which they stated they will. Copyrighted content can only be played back on the machine it was recorded on. Also, with your set up,you are dealing with 2 recording schedules, whereas with extenders, there is single unified recording schedule. You don't have to question whether a program will be recorded or not, you can see all of your future (schedule) and past recordings (already recorded content) on any TV.

From what I'm reading, this restriction only applies to "premium" channels.. HBO, Showtime and other pay-channels (which we don't subscribe to anyway). Now, I suppose Verizon could re-define what "Premium Channel" means and cause me some headaches, but at the moment, I don't feel like this is a problem for me.
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post #16 of 22 Old 06-20-2013, 07:35 PM
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...I figure it’s better to have one box running 24/7 than 2 boxes.

...Since this will be on all the time, minimize electrical costs.
Why is it necessary to run 24/7? My system with 3 extenders only runs a few hrs per day, basically only when watching or recording. No need to run the PC when it isn't doing anything.
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post #17 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Why is it necessary to run 24/7? My system with 3 extenders only runs a few hrs per day, basically only when watching or recording. No need to run the PC when it isn't doing anything.

I don't know how I'll be using it yet. Now the cable DVR is "always on" to record. If i have a set schedule for recording I'll shut it off, but I may want to turn the same box into a server for media sharing around the house. then it would need to be on a lot more.
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post #18 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Why is it necessary to run 24/7? My system with 3 extenders only runs a few hrs per day, basically only when watching or recording. No need to run the PC when it isn't doing anything.

What are you using for extenders and are you happy with them?
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post #19 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 07:16 AM
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I currently use Echos but only for live/recorded TV. For file streaming you'll have better luck with Xboxes at the moment. Xboxes are also much cheaper but are big, power hogs, have terrible IR range and can be quite noisy. So any extender is going to be some sort of compromise. If Android fixes the Echo's issues, it will be fantastic, but it isn't there yet. So I use other devices for file steaming, mainly blu-ray players.
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post #20 of 22 Old 07-13-2013, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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bump
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post #21 of 22 Old 07-13-2013, 10:07 AM
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bump
So...What question is yet unanswered that you bumped this thread for? You might try providing a question to be answered instead of being lazy and typing 'bump'.
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post #22 of 22 Old 07-13-2013, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, the blue type is new. in the 1st post.
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