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Need a bit of basic advice on new HT

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I just set-up a new HT with AVS sourced projector, screen, and trimmings. Want to add the capability to display pictures (stored on networked PC's), surf web, email, etc . What is simple, clean approach? Just buy a cheap laptop to leave in the audio cabinet, connect via HDMI, get a BT wireless (my cabinet ifs enclosed) keyboard/mouse and be done? I do have a network connection available in audio cabinet (and Wifi for that matter). Also, to stream Netflix - without a netflix ready BD player - I assume I can do this via the laptop? FYI- I own a HP media center box that runs windows home server - it is still new in box as I was thinking of replacing my desktop soon and have not gotten around to installing it.

Also, can a Dell Zino be powered up and booted via my RF Remote when connected to my receiver. Have spare IR flashers.

Feedback on a clean, simple solution very much appreciated.
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
bump - any counsel would be appreciated...
post #3 of 3
Well, a W7 or Vista computer would do what you're asking.

The choice between something like the Zino or building yourself is up to you. I just built a mini-ITX system using a Zotac G9300-G-E board and a E6300 processor. Was about $450 Canadian. The Zino might be decent being based on the AMD processors but I'm quite sure you have to add the discrete graphics card to get anything more than stereo audio. I read about the ION systems but honestly there were too many people who had issues with HD playback or felt the ION processor was weak overall. As for power - mine idles at about 37W yet theere is much more processing power available if I need it.

The Intel Clarkdale processors (basically a combined processor and motherboard chipset with the graphics included) are just appearing and one of them with an ITX motherboard might be a VERY good solution if you're willing to wait for some products to appear.

A decent wireless RF keyboard/mouse should work, assuming you're not too far from the receiver. You could also go with a USB cable to the receiver outside of the cabinet. I have been using a Gyration keyboard and mouse since I bought them about 3 years ago before some of the fancy remotes like the Dinivo were available. So, I have a full-size keyboard and air/desk mouse, but they work well so I'm not spending more for something else. Besides, a MCE remote controls Media Center very well.

There is a Media Center Netflix plug-in so you could use Media Center for Netflix, as well as accessing all your other audio and video and pictures.

I have no idea what your RF Remote is, so I wouldn't know if it works or not.

A MCE remote is capable of Standby/Resume for the PC. Mine sleeps and wakes with the remote no problem at all. Sleep and power-off use both draw about the same power at the wall so that makes no difference. So, say your RF remote is a Harmony then you get a cheap MCE remote and program the Harmony to be a MCE remote. Put the blaster to the usb MCE remote receiver and you're good to go. The PC would wake when you picked that "Activity" and sleep when you picked another one.

Peter
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