So I spent a good chunk of today reading all 59 pages of this post and am really looking forward to starting this. Thanks for everyone's input But first I wanted to run some stuff by everyone here.
My wife and I are in the market to build our own HTPC. Here are the things to know:
1) We plan to stream video content from Hulu, and other network websites that do not use Hulu.
2) We want it to act as a DVR (currently our HDTV can pull in about 20+ channels of SD and HD programming just from putting a splitter before our cable modem and running a cable out to our tv) to schedule and record said programing.*
3) We want it to act as a BluRay/DVD player
4) We want it to rip BluRay's to ISO/MKV, and transcode DVDs to h264 using Handbrake
5) We don't care about the aesthetics/dimensions of the case
We attached our spec list as of right now and come out to just over $567, minus the OS and BluRay software. We essentially took the Clarkdale build and put in a Hauppage TV tuner. We scaled back on the internal HDD as we have a 2 externals, a 2 TB and 500 gb WD. The internal HDD will essentially be used for DVR-ed programs and any BluRay rips before they are moved to one of the externals. The internal HDD may be scaled back to a 500 gb Samsung or WD Caviar Green to cut cost if it is significant. We only went as far as the 750 gb because it kept the 64 mb cache.
*This is actually the part we are the most unsure of. We don't know if the channels we are watching are technically OTA or cable, as we don't have a cable package. Because we don't know what type of signal it is and we have never used a TV tuner before and have some concern that we won't get the local HDs as we do now, running it straight to the TV. The TV tuner could also be a place to save some $$$ once we figure out what we need exactly. As for now a near top of the line Hauppage should work.
I trust that this HTPC will do everything we want, as we are following Assassin's guide pretty closely, but we would love some help on the TV tuner issue. Some general reassurance would also be appreciated.