Looking to build a nice htpc and know nothing! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 08-25-2013, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking to build a nice htpc and know nothing!

So today i was going to order a tivo romeo + dune or popcorn hour for my media, but just foundout you can add cable cards to htpc's... i never knew.


So im looking to build a nice live tv/dvr/media playback htpc..

My budgets about $1,000-$1,400

what i need is,

1. Ability to add a timewarner tv cable card with atleast 4-6 tuners
2. Ability to playback and media i have, avi, mkv, dvd iso, bluray iso, 3d
3. Completely lag free, silent, low energy.
4. Wifi
5. Nice remote

So far the only things i have picked out are,

Samsung 840 120gb SSD
for the OS

WD Red 2TB nas drive
For live tv dvr

WD Red 3TB nas drive x2
For Media playback of mine.

And possibly,
Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe - 5205-DCT06IN-PCIE - Six-tuner Card
For a cable card.




Have no clue what would be a good case, cpu, mb for a htpc or even which OS to use.
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post #2 of 30 Old 08-25-2013, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Heres what im at so far and its already over my budget =\.

Case:
Fractal Design Black Aluminum / Steel Node 605 FD-CA-NODE-605-BL ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

CPU:
AMD FX-6300 Vishera 3.5GHz (4.1GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Six-Core Desktop Processor FD6300WMHKBOX

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

Media HDD's:
2x Western Digital Red NAS Hard Drive WD30EFRX 3TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Live TV DVR HDD:
Seagate Constellation CS ST2000NC000 2 TB 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - 6Gb/s SATA - 7200 rpm - 64 MB

OS HDD:
SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Cable card device:
Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe - 5205-DCT06IN-PCIE - Six-tuner Card for Watching Digital Cable TV on the PC, PCI-Express x1 Interface

GPU:
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

Power Supply:
CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

$1,554.89
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post #3 of 30 Old 08-25-2013, 03:01 PM
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Do you really need 6 simultaneous tuners? If not, dropping down to 4 will save $100, or $200 if you buy used.

That video card is way overkill. A $15 card will work fine for HD video.

Only 64GB is needed for your SSD.

You didn't mention how many other TVs are in your system, but for 2 or 3 simultaneous extender sessions, you only need 4GB.

600W power supply is also overkill.

A cool looking case is nice, but will your PC be anywhere near your home theater, or located remotely? If it will never be seen, you can get a cheaper case.

A nice remote can run a couple of hundred dollars. A perfectly functional remote can be had for as little as $10. In any case you'll need a $15-ish IR dongle for the PC, unless you plan to use a wifi solution like iRule.
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post #4 of 30 Old 08-25-2013, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Do you really need 6 simultaneous tuners? If not, dropping down to 4 will save $100, or $200 if you buy used.

That video card is way overkill. A $15 card will work fine for HD video.
I wasnt sure what kind of GPU was needed.

You didn't mention how many other TVs are in your system, but for 2 or 3 simultaneous extender sessions, you only need 4GB.
Will only be for my bedroom TV

600W power supply is also overkill.
Started looking at 400w's but the upgrade to 600w was so minimal lol

A cool looking case is nice, but will your PC be anywhere near your home theater, or located remotely? If it will never be seen, you can get a cheaper case.
I dont really have anywhere to hide the case, my rooms jam packed, going to put it on the shelf above my reciever on my tv stand.

A nice remote can run a couple of hundred dollars. A perfectly functional remote can be had for as little as $10. In any case you'll need a $15-ish IR dongle for the PC, unless you plan to use a wifi solution like
I think im going to use my harmony one if its possible, i havent even checked yet.iRule.
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post #5 of 30 Old 08-25-2013, 03:47 PM
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^^^

In that case you can definitely get by with 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD and a cheap video card like this:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1485227/6450-vs-610

Think about the tuners too. My family of 4 using 4 TVs rarely uses all 4 tuners. Each tuner costs roughly $50.

You can use your harmony One with no problem.

Unlike a gaming PC, you to aim low with an HTPC. Every additional watt means more heat and noise. So you don't want to buy more than you need.
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post #6 of 30 Old 08-25-2013, 04:54 PM
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Most of the 80 Plus Bronze & better supplies seem to be most efficient at 50%. While a 600W PSU may be only a few dollars more than a 400W one, it's probably going to be less efficient when using in an HTPC.

I have a G620 CPU, 2 OTA dual tuner cards, and an HD6450 video card. While recording 4 programs & playing a 5th one the HTPC uses only 56 watts according to a Kill-A-Watt meter.
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post #7 of 30 Old 08-26-2013, 01:42 AM
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For tv/dvr/media playback, a quad-core is enough, for example, AMD A8-6600K (a good GPU is integrated), with a microATX FM2 mb (if you add a slim ODD) or an ATX FM2 mb (otherwise), e.g. ASRock A85X ones. DDR3-1866 is recommended.
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post #8 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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would this be good enough?

CPU: i3 4340 3.6ghz HD 4600 GPU

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87N-Wifi LGA 1150

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600

OS SSD: SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE120BW 2.5" 120GB

DVR HDD: WD WD Blue 1TB 5400 RPM 8MB

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
or
Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit

Case: LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-Q12B Mini ITX Media Center (Includes 80 Plus 300w Micro-atx PSU

Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech K400

Cable Card tuner: Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe - Quad-tuner Card
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post #9 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 09:25 AM
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Yup, good enough. Do you have a media storage server? TV recordings will fill up 1TB very quickly.
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post #10 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Yup, good enough. Do you have a media storage server? TV recordings will fill up 1TB very quickly.

I wanted to use a 2tb 3.5 but it wont fit that case and 2tb 2.5's cost too much.
Are 2.5's as reliable as 3.5's? can they handle recording that many shows at once on it without a hiccup?


I just purchased a synology 413 w/4x 3tb 2d reds but i dont think i can transfer to it? tmw cards are copy once so i think that disables me from transfering the files?

Another choice is, I could get an external HDD and plug to the pc or nas? worst case scenario ill keep it at 1tb, my current dvr is 500gb and has never passed 50%.




What all software do I need to install when i get it setup?

I want to beable to
record all my fav series auto if possible like on my dvr,
boot to live tv,
good codecs to install, and whatever else is reccomended?
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post #11 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skzzzzy View Post

I wanted to use a 2tb 3.5 but it wont fit that case and 2tb 2.5's cost too much.
Are 2.5's as reliable as 3.5's? can they handle recording that many shows at once on it without a hiccup?


I just purchased a synology 413 w/4x 3tb 2d reds but i dont think i can transfer to it? tmw cards are copy once so i think that disables me from transfering the files?

Another choice is, I could get an external HDD and plug to the pc or nas? worst case scenario ill keep it at 1tb, my current dvr is 500gb and has never passed 50%.




What all software do I need to install when i get it setup?

I want to beable to
record all my fav series auto if possible like on my dvr,
boot to live tv,
good codecs to install, and whatever else is reccomended?

you can transfer, but you will only be able to play on the machine they were recorded on. Which is fine for remote playing on the original recording machine.

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 #12 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 10:06 AM
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2.5" drive is still fast enough to record multiple shows simultaneously. External USB 3.5" HDD enclosure (4-8 bays) is another solution or just start with a large enough case. Or iSCSI Target should work with NAS.

What you need is Windows Media Center (in Win 7/8) and the codecs built-in. There is no other choice for Copy Once contents.
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post #13 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

2.5" drive is still fast enough to record multiple shows simultaneously. External USB 3.5" HDD enclosure (4-8 bays) is another solution or just start with a large enough case. Or iSCSI Target should work with NAS.

What you need is Windows Media Center (in Win 7/8) and the codecs built-in. There is no other choice for Copy Once contents.

So i wil be unable to use xbmc?

Should i just get a tivo and build a htpc for my file playbacks?
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post #14 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 11:33 AM
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To record Copy Once contents in PC, you have to use WMC and you can play recordings only within WMC of the PC you used to record them. The only other devices that can play recordings are WMC extenders (e.g. MS XBox, Ceton Echo). (If you use HDHomeRun Prime, there is another choice for watching live TV in other devices: DLNA.)
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post #15 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by renethx View Post

To record Copy Once contents in PC, you have to use WMC and you can play recordings only within WMC of the PC you used to record them. The only other devices that can play recordings are WMC extenders (e.g. MS XBox, Ceton Echo). (If you use HDHomeRun Prime, there is another choice for playback: DLNA.)

I think im going to just get a tivo, and build a htpc for playing back my media files. Seems like less of a hassle, then im not restricted on what i do with the htpc.
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post #16 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 11:39 AM
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who is your cable provider?

cable programming is marked with a copy protection flag. different providers use them differently.

local channels are almost always copy freely. on most cable companies everything else is labeled copy once. only comcast and verizon are more permissive. they mark only premium movie channels as copy once.

you can use XBMC only if the channels you want to watch are copy freely. so a Comcast customer that doesn't subscribe to HBO, Showtime, etc would be fine. that could change tomorrow though. Dark Slayer is a frequent poster who uses XBMC and cable card.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #17 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

who is your cable provider?

cable programming is marked with a copy protection flag. different providers use them differently.

local channels are almost always copy freely. on most cable companies everything else is labeled copy once. only comcast and verizon are more permissive. they mark only premium movie channels as copy once.

you can use XBMC only if the channels you want to watch are copy freely. so a Comcast customer that doesn't subscribe to HBO, Showtime, etc would be fine. that could change tomorrow though. Dark Slayer is a frequent poster who uses XBMC and cable card.

TWC, mostly the only channels i watch are nat geo and history channel. The whole reason behind wanting to build a htpc was for xbmc, heard so much great stuff about it.
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post #18 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skzzzzy View Post

I think im going to just get a tivo, and build a htpc for playing back my media files. Seems like less of a hassle, then im not restricted on what i do with the htpc.
Whether you use your PC for cable TV or not makes no difference in what you can or can't do with your other files.

Bottom line is using WMC as your DVR is going to save you a ton of money compared to Tivo or some other cable DVR. You can use whatever you want for your other files regardless. The hardware restrictions we've posted are simply because you said you were over budget. You're free to spend as much as you want. WMC and everything else will still work fine. The only reason I have an HTPC at all is to avoid DVR fees. So I put up with the complexity of the initial setup. If money is not a concern, then Tivo is definitely a simpler solution. But it sounds like you intend to build an HTPC anyway, so a DVR would be free, aside from the initial cost of the tuner, so you may as well give it a try. You can always return the tuner if you're not happy and pick up a Tivo.
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post #19 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 11:54 AM
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I'm a huge WMC proponent so obviously I'm very biased, but you might be surprised by what you're able to do with it. In my opinion XBMC's main advantage is some plug in support for a few streaming websites.

Going the Tivo route is going to double the cost of your media project and/or force you into a monthly subscription for the guide data.

I'm fairly certain you can use both in tandem - I know XBMC can launch other software. It should be possible to go right into live tv (inside WMC) from XBMC.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #20 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 12:08 PM
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There's some good information here too: looking to build a higher end htpc with your help.

Something that hasn't been mentioned yet is MediaBrowser to manage your media. It's a very nice addition to WMC.

 

 

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post #21 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 12:22 PM
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And it sounds like you're interested in the same programming as me. I only have a single cable card tuner and I get by just fine with it because those networks like H2 and Nat Geo replay their programming multiple times over a month, even multiple times a day.

When I would record something on History but wanted to watch a hockey game live WMC was smart enough to see that History planned on re-airing the same show at 1am and chose to record it then instead of interrupting my hockey game. You could probably get away with two tuners (to save some money) and never miss out on something.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #22 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

And it sounds like you're interested in the same programming as me. I only have a single cable card tuner and I get by just fine with it because those networks like H2 and Nat Geo replay their programming multiple times over a month, even multiple times a day.

When I would record something on History but wanted to watch a hockey game live WMC was smart enough to see that History planned on re-airing the same show at 1am and chose to record it then instead of interrupting my hockey game. You could probably get away with two tuners (to save some money) and never miss out on something.


I really wanted 6 tuners even though I wouldnt use them lol.
only other tuner im currently looking at is hdhomerun prime, which is external. im trying to findout which is more reliable and issue free.

and ill give the htpc a try for liv tv. If it doesnt work out ill return the tuner and get the tivo.
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post #23 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skzzzzy View Post

I really wanted 6 tuners
I have 6 or 8 tuners (3 or 4 dual ATSC/QAM HDHomeruns), I forget how many exactly...
they are in my crawlspace with my servers...

it is scary back there... big spiders and such... and so many wires...
so I haven't been back there to count them in a while...
but anyway, you are not wrong wanting 6 tuners...
Quote:
Originally Posted by skzzzzy View Post

even though I wouldnt use them lol.
are you sure? you may not need them for "Live" TV...
but I haven't watched Live TV in years... (well except for morning news and such)
mostly I always watch DVR'd stuff... and my server goes out and records things it thinks I may like...
there are a few times it is recording 6 or 8 things at once...
there are also many times it is recording 0
6 tuners means you could be watching 2 live TV shows, and recording 4... seems reasonable to me...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #24 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 02:31 PM
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The whole reason behind wanting to build a htpc was for xbmc, heard so much great stuff about it.

 

I would go TiVo and OpenELEC (boot via USB Flash drive/accessing your NAS) for XBMC. Best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned. From someone using WMC and iSCSI.

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post #25 of 30 Old 08-28-2013, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone think http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112361 case will work with the pci tuner card? its very skinny, only 3 and a half inches wide.

or any other case suggestions for my build? most cases im liking are too wide for my setup. it either needs to be a standing unit like the one i like or under 14" wide 9" height.


And do i need to get a after market cooler for the i3 cpu?
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post #26 of 30 Old 08-29-2013, 12:43 AM
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post #27 of 30 Old 08-29-2013, 08:11 AM
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My case is 13.9" x 10.5" x 4.0", and the Ceton card just fits. It has a low profile bracket, so the height works, but it's pretty long, which is what you have to worry about. I also had to add a fan right next to it to keep it cool enough.
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post #28 of 30 Old 08-29-2013, 08:45 AM
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The length of Infinitv 6 PCIe is 6.6" (the same as Infinitv 4 PCIe), a slightly shorter than mini-ITX mb (6.7" x 6.7").
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post #29 of 30 Old 09-02-2013, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I just placed my order for my htpc, Ive had the Tivo Roamio for a few day, i really like it but just dont want to pay monthly for it.
Went with windows 8 pro because i was about to get it for $90 brand new,.


Disk Drive: LG Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X BDXL Blu-ray Burner

CPU: Intel Core i3-4340 Haswell 3.6GHz LGA 1150 54W

Motherboard: ASUS H87M-PRO LGA 1150 Intel H87

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600

OS SSD: SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE120BW 2.5" 120GB

DVR HDD: Western Digital Red NAS Hard Drive WD20EFRX 2TB

OS: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit

Case: LIAN LI PC-V354B Black Aluminum MicroATX

PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 430W

Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech K400

Cable Card tuner: Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe - 5205-DCT06IN-PCIE

IR Reciever: Flirc
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post #30 of 30 Old 09-08-2013, 07:40 PM
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Im just learning from experience now but make sure your motherboard is compatible with digital media via CETON and Windows 8. Not all motherboards will activate your CableCard.
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