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Cutting the cable, need help with HTPC

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am cutting my cable and getting rid of the cable box. My rooftop antenna provides 35+ channels (boston area), combined with internet based content should work for us.

I am technically competent having built PCs before, but never an htpc. Please guide me through this process based on my requirements below:

1. One box to do it all! Watch TV, DVD (blueray not priority), Internet streaming, play CD, ripping cd/dvd to box, connect to other storage on networks, program guide, record shows/series, timeshifting etc.
2. Sleek, elegant slim box to replace the cable box.
3. Will sit under the Samsung 550 series LCD tv with clear line of sight.
4. Single remote to control both the tv and htpc. Since they are in line of sight, IR should be fine. Though wouldn't mind RF if it can be easily incorporated. Additionally might go for lenovo remote keypad/mouse to control HTPC.
5. Probably need dual tuner - happauge or HDHomeRun?
6. Fast and responsive - not necessarily going for overkill but would like good response.
7. Very quite. Should be able to watch late at night without hearing the hum.
8. Not opposed to slightly running hot as it sits open under the tv, though still surrounded on three sides.
9 Already have Windows 7 Pro.
10. Last but not least, wife friendly
11. Budget $500-$700.

Where should I start?

post #2 of 7
Originally Posted by sur View Post

Where should I start?

post #3 of 7
Just did this myself and quite happy so far. Went with a do-it-yourself HTPC, HD HomeRUN Prime and a Xbox 360. Took some doing getting everything working and still working on ripping my movie collection and setting it up the way we like. You'll want to get assasian's guides as well as read the stickies in this forum. Good luck.

post #4 of 7
Here are my suggestions:

- For mobo and CPU, check out Microcenter in Cambridge. They often have combo deals that are unbeatable ($50 off already competitive prices).

- Assassin's HTPC stickies are a very good source of info. I agree with him that for non-gaming use, the i3 2105 is probably your best bet for CPU. Its low power and the integrated graphics will handle any video playback needs including 3D.

- HDHomeRun is awesome. You can watch live TV on any computer in the house. You'd only need the dual model as you are using OTA. The Prime supports cableCARD as well though if you think you'll ever go back. Prime also has more tuners.

- WMC makes a great PVR but I prefer XMBC for managing my library. Get the XMBC integration plugin to make switching easy.

- If you are connecting your HTPC directly to the TV, you won't need to use the Xbox as an extender. Get an IR receiver and WMC remote (or harmony) and control the computer directly. eBay is a great place for this hardware on the cheap. I went with this one for $3.50 an it works great! There's no need to spend more than $20 I should think.

- Check out the Remote Potato software. This is a server app that runs on the HTPC that gives you access to WMC through a web browser. You can use the TV guide and PVR functions and even stream music and video over the web.
post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by hirent View Post


+1000. No need to re-post everything here when the stickies (and in particular Assassin's guides) break everything down!
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the suggestions, I spent quite some time reading various threads (esp assassins) and thanks ljo000 for mentioning microcenter - it truly was a good recommendation. Based on that I have put together this build:

CPU: Intel Core i3 2125 LGA 1155 Boxed Processor $120
Memory: Patriot G2 Series 8GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) $40 AR
MB: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel (open box) $65 AR
DVD: Lite-ON 24X SATA DVD Burner - OEM $18
SSD: OCZ Technology Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-60G 60GB SATA $60 AR
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB IntelliPower SATA $130
Case: PowerSpec DM-387 mATX Slim Computer Case $50

Sub total - $483 or $513 after tax.

Additionally need TV tuner (maybe 25 from ebay for hauppauge), MC remote and lenovo keypad. Probably another $100 or so.

Does this build look good? Can I make any changes before taking the plunge?

Thanks again!
post #7 of 7
You could shave a few bucks off on some of those items if you shopped around for deals, but the overall build looks fine.
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