Originally Posted by pman555
Oh boy, this venture is sounding more and more expensive by the minute.
The HTPC itself cost me about $400 to build, now it'll be another $250 (or so) for the Ceton, $150 (or so) for an xbox if i can find one used, plus $50 (or so) for those powerline adapters. Yikes.
I wish I knew somebody who did this so I could test out their setup before I did my own. I'd love to save some money, but I want to make sure I'm not sacrificing much by making the switch from cablebox to cablecard.
I've tried just about all this. Here's my story (and result) after getting rid of the TWC DVR and the HD Tivo:
HTPC has been pieced together with various components over the years. The case is a nice Silverstone case. The internal drive is a leftover 2 TB drive from an old PC. The BluRay is about 2 years old. The old motherboard died, so I replaced with AMD E350 with 4 Gig RAM - all very reasonably priced (Newegg). The E350 has on-board graphics processor (not just HDMI but a real, low end Radeon card), but the CPU runs high utilization when watching and recording - easily hitting 100% for long periods). I have the Ceton USB for Cable and an old ATI 650 for recording QAM. This is in the family room downstairs.
I bought a used Cisco/Linksys Media Center Extender off eBay before I had the XBoxes. It sits in the Bedroom and has a wired connection to the HTPC. The MCE is way cheaper used on eBay than new on Amazon, but you can probably find used XBox on Craigslist even cheaper.
Later, I bought a used, fat XBox 360 off Craigslist for $90. Plays games and media center extender works well (in my office). I have a wired 100 Mbps connection between it and the HTPC.
Second XBox 360 (slim, new) is upstairs in the gameroom. The Wireless N router is downstairs next to the HTPC. If router and new XBox were on the same floor, there would be maybe 15 feet distance between them. Wireless signal on XBox sux - not good enough for HD but OK for SD. I have a Wii next to the XBox , and the signal on the Wii is good enough to stream Netflix. I'm not sure why the XBox signal is so bad.
I have 2 Powerline adapters (Netgear HDX 111) which are supposed to be good - at least based on what I paid for them - from another project. I never got more than about 9 Mbps from them even though they were supposed to go up to 200 Mbps. Seems the wiring in the home isn't conducive to Powerline. I didn't bother trying to stream HD.
I have a second HTPC in the gameroom that has a good wireless signal (USB adapter on top of the HTPC cabinet) to the downstairs router in the same cabinet as the XBox using a Hauppauge HD-DVR and a cable box. I don't want the kids fiddling with the PC, but I don't mind them recording their own shows on their on their HTPC. I put in an old 100 Mbps switch and plugged both the PC and the XBox into the switch. I then enabled Internet Connection Sharing on the PC and disabled the wireless on the XBox. So, the PC now has a wireless connection to the rest of the house, and the XBox connects to the Internet through the PC (yes, there is a trick involved). However, the XBox can't see the rest of the home network.
The HTPC downstairs is the "main" one. It has the Ceton and QAM adapter. I'll be adding a RAID 10 SATA array shortly. This is the one the wife and I watch "our" shows on. It also serves the XBox in my office as well as the MCE in the bedroom.
The HTPC in the Gameroom allows me to capture HD content without worrying about DRM that you have with Cable Cards since it's capturing over Component video. The gameroom HTPC is meant for the kids, of course, but when I have shows I want to record and archive or put on my laptop or tablet, Cable Card device's DRM gets in the way.
Man, putting all this down on paper makes me realize why my wife is so PO'd that the Ceton USB is unreliable. I think I've spent a small fortune...