Originally Posted by gtgray
I wander back into this thread with trepidation. I don't why HTPC is such a mystical thing. It really is just a PC used for media duties....
I just don't get the concept that we need Guru's to tell us how to build HTPCs. They are just modern PCs with a media software platform like WMC, JRiver, XBMC or Plex to facilitate playback. It is no longer all that complicated.
But there are people here who define their worth around what they know about HTPC and how long they've spent gaining the knowledge. They refuse to give it up; they refuse to acknowledge that what was once the exclusive realm of award-winning physicists, is now the work of a tinsmith (to paraphrase someone talking about atomic weapons). They desperately want it to be something mysterious and something requiring pointed hats and magic wands and magic dust and incantations. They desperately WANT it to be something Joe Sixpack can't do.
But it's not, not anymore. Two years ago I helped a buddy build his HTPC. He had five Replays all running, then Replay announced they were through. Add to that the fact that the local cableco had switched most of the analog service off, plus I had been bragging on my setup. So he was ready to move to WMC.
He bought an off the shelf PC from Micro Center's clearance table, added a couple off the shelf hard drives for recorder storage, threw in two Ceton tuners, and in a couple of hours we were finished. It's been running ever since, doing exactly what he wants: recording TV for him and his wife to watch.
No muss, no fuss. It may not be the prettiest setup in the world, but it works and works great. He even added in RecordedTV HD and now swears by it.
I think what gets some people is that they can't accept the idea of setting up a PC to do a single task. They're desperate to make one tool do everything they want to do in life. With video, and with family, that's a dangerous path to take. But some people think THEY'RE above the danger, that THEY know how to achieve what no one else can.
And they're always wrong. And they come here, looking for The Answer, looking for Truth, because they're just SURE that the answer is just a registry change away, a new piece of hardware away, a new codec pack away. Because after all, if you read this forum, it sure looks that way. But it's not.
If you want to build your own fee-free cable box for the family, you can do it. But if you want the reliability and stability of the cableco equipment, set it up to do just those tasks and LEAVE IT ALONE. If you can't keep your hands off of it, and if you insist on using it as a multitasker, don't come griping that your wife isn't happy.
And quit trying to force your "I can't run wires, there's no way, so I'm going to run wireless networking and I'm sure it'll be OK" attitude onto the project. No, it won't be OK, and no amount of coming in here like Aunt Bea wringing her hands is going to change that.
Maybe you don't want recorded TV. Maybe you want to rip and store movies, and create your own in-house Netflix. Great. But many of the basics apply. Quit trying to make that one PC do it all. Quit trying to force that 4 year old laptop to do unnatural acts.
But once you've decided to use modern hardware, it's not difficult at all. You don't have to overkill it with hardware.
And for those of you trying to find the minimal edge of exactly how little hardware can do what you need with exactly zero overspend, well, that's a cute game--but if you just do it and accept that you might have spent $50 more than you absolutely had to, you can move on to other things in your life. What's that worth?