Originally Posted by CHolleman
wow, thanks for all the replies guys. i have quite a few DVD's that i don't have space for so i thought it would be much simpler to back them all up on the HTPC along with my extensive collection of MP3's and CD's. that way, i can box up all my CD's and DVD's and have everything contained nicely in one unit in the HTPC. good for parties with the music and easily able to watch movies when I want to. cost savings isn't important to me as much as space savings. living in a townhouse doesn't leave much room for huge libraries of DVDs and CD's.
Newlinux- well i'm glad to see that your setup produced good PQ. i didn't want to go to the expense and hassle of building an HTPC if i'm going to get crappy PQ. did you have problems with overscan?
Minor overscan issue at first, But Mythtv allowed me to easily move the picture to compensate. It really is identical in PQ to to all my other good sources. I had some tearing at first too, but I was eventually able to get rid of that as well.
I watch all of my recorded tv through HTPCs. I have all of my music and videos stored on hard drives (close to 350GB worth) around the house and the HTPCs allow me to access them from anywhere, and now I never pull out a CD or DVD. The HTPC in the main room (with the 4360) is bookshelf size and integrates nicely with my other components and is quiet (a necessity - It only has a CPU fan. You actually don't need that powerful of a video card for HD, but you do need it for todays games, which I don't play). It only has room for two PCI cards, but I actually don't need much room for expansion because I have many other computers on the network around the house that I can expand and access. I kept it pretty cheap as I build a lot of my computers with used parts. It has replaced my DVD player and DVR (except for premium HD stations). If I didn't watch any premium stations I wouldn't even have a cable box.
It's pretty well integrated - I control it, like all my other components, with a Harmony remote.
However, for those that don't want to go through the hassle of building and tweaking an HTPC I might suggest just using a computer to store media and going the playstation 3/xbox 360 route mentioned earlier, or a HD network player (I have a zensonic z500 networked DVD player which works quite nicely as a frontend in place of an HTPC. There are quite a few other options) that can access the media over the network. Network players weren't enough for me because I wanted a PVR that I could schedule recordings on and stream them anywhere in the house and schedule recordings over the web and a few other features. But the zensonic was almost plug and play...
My system turns out to be a distributed mixture of network devices, HTPC backends, and frontends with access to all my content anywhere in my house (even the laptop runs mythfrontend to access all the recordings, and the network DVD player can play all the music, videos, and recordings from the HTPC PVRs.)