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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, the wife and I have decided, subject to budgetary constraints, to try to make the switch from cable TV to an HTPC with Netflix/Hulu/DVDs.


This is complicated by the fact that my 2001-vintage Toshiba HDTV is component video, 1080i only. (I think I figured out why I got it for $75.) No DVI, no HDMI.


Here's my spec list:


Case -- GIGABYTE gz-ph2a3 Black SGCC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811233062


Mobo -- ASUS M4N68T-M V2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131669


CPU -- AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103903


Video -- XFX PVT95GZAFG GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit GDDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150322


HDD -- SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152185


RAM -- Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146748


PSU -- hec HEC350TEWX 350W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817339029


Tuner -- AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet - PCTV Tuner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815100041


DVD -- Lite-On DVD/CD burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106289


I've also got a remote and a wireless trackball keyboard picked out.


Basically, we need to be able to watch DVDs, stream video from Hulu and Netflix, DVR shows from OTA television and play other Internet videos. My questions are:


* Am I over-building or under-building this setup? I'd like for it to be future-proof for a while since I'm probably not going to have a lot of extra money to put into upgrades.


* Since I'm going to have to push 1080i video over a component connection to the TV, there's no real reason for me to put a Blu-Ray drive in, right? I'm trying to avoid spending the money to get an HDFury2 because I can't pay for it out of savings on building an HDMI system. And a related question, that video card's going to do component video, right? It's got a 7-pin S-Video out, which should do component, correct?


* I'm planning on using W7MC because I've gotten to play with it on my laptop and I like it. I've figured out how to integrate Hulu Desktop, but what other video sources can I add?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/19557335


How much are you paying for cable, currently? If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the HDTV first before building the HTPC.

Cable and Internet bundled is about $120 a month, plus I'm already paying for Netflix. I figure I can cut that about in half by going to an HTPC with streaming and OTA television.
 

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Buy a card with the component dongle included.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130395


The rest of your setup looks like an updated version of mine, works well.

The 2001 TV will work, but in order for it to look it's best you will probably have to clean mirrors/lenses and adjust convergence. I ran a Mits WS65809 and ws65513 on my HTPC until I had the cash to upgrade to a flat screen. Yes the flat screen looks better but if you're willing to go w/o cable for a year or two you can use the saving to buy one for cash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 /forum/post/19557534


Buy a card with the component dongle included.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130395


The rest of your setup looks like an updated version of mine, works well.

The 2001 TV will work, but in order for it to look it's best you will probably have to clean mirrors/lenses and adjust convergence. I ran a Mits WS65809 and ws65513 on my HTPC until I had the cash to upgrade to a flat screen. Yes the flat screen looks better but if you're willing to go w/o cable for a year or two you can use the saving to buy one for cash.

Amazingly, this thing is in fantastic shape because it hadn't really been used in a few years when I got it. There is some slight burn-in because the previous owner apparently had a habit of watching The Weather Channel a lot, but it's barely noticeable. For a $75 television, I'm really happy with it.
 

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I did exactly what you are doing. I have a 2001-era HD CRT with only component inputs and I am using an Avermedia duet as well. I canceled cable, the picture looks great and both the wife and I are very happy with the setup. I used an Intel E7500 and it has more than adequate speed for dual HD tuners, viewing, Netflix, Hulu Desktop, Boxee, etc. I also went with 4 gigs of ram and Win 7 x64, with WMC as the DVR. For video I used an ATI 4670 and it has performed well. Finding component outputs is really the only tricky part.
 

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Forget HTPC.


1) Streaming. Get a classic Roku HD Model N1000 which has component outputs. Subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus and watch on the Roku. There are many free internet channels for the Roku as well.


2) OTA HD-DVR. Buy the HDHomeRun and put it on your network. Manage it with any "always on" networked PC in your home that has Media Center. At your HDTV, get a Media Center Extender (such as an Xbox 360) to watch TV. If you have an Xbox Live subscription, you can also use the 360 for Netflix and Zune.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMenke /forum/post/19558795


Forget HTPC. Get a classic Roku HD Model N1000 which has component outputs. Subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus and watch on the Roku.

But he needs to watch and DVR OTA thus a Roku won't work for him.
 

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You're right - I went back and added some comments about OTA HD-DVR...I think our postings crossed in the mail.


Now that I think about it, there are so many built-in streaming options in many new Blu-ray players, you don't even need a Roku (although the Roku interface and "instant on" is very user-friendly).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMenke /forum/post/19558872


You're right - I went back and added some comments about OTA HD-DVR...I think our postings crossed in the mail.


Now that I think about it, there are so many built-in streaming options in many new Blu-ray players, you don't even need a Roku (although the Roku interface and "instant on" is very user-friendly).

I really do like the Roku box. If I didn't use OTA or have a need to stream off some network web sites (like TNT) then I would seriously look at it, especially for under $100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMenke /forum/post/19558795


Forget HTPC.


1) Streaming. Get a classic Roku HD Model N1000 which has component outputs. Subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus and watch on the Roku. There are many free internet channels for the Roku as well.


2) OTA HD-DVR. Buy the HDHomeRun and put it on your network. Manage it with any "always on" networked PC in your home that has Media Center. At your HDTV, get a Media Center Extender (such as an Xbox 360) to watch TV. If you have an Xbox Live subscription, you can also use the 360 for Netflix and Zune.

This plan actually started out looking at a 360, believe it or not.


Here's the problem I see with the HDHomeRun: the only system I've got that has Media Center (or any real horsepower at all) is my laptop, which I have to use for law school. The only desktop in the house is an 2-year-old eMachines that was underpowered when I bought it. It barely had enough horsepower to push PlayOn to our Wii when I tested it, and that was if it was being used solely as a PlayOn server.


The appeal of an HTPC is that I can run Hulu Desktop, watch ESPN3 and Netflix and DVR programming all from one box. Find me a solution that gets me access to the full Hulu library, ESPN3, Netflix and lets me record TV and I'll be all over it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by quietude38
Find me a solution that gets me access to the full Hulu library, ESPN3, Netflix and lets me record TV and I'll be all over it.
There isn't. HTPC is the only solution for this and to DVR OTA or cable programming.


Also note that Hulu Plus is crippled on a lot of these boxes. Even if Hulu isn't blocking whole networks many shows for the networks aren't flagged for "TV" which means if you use Roku, GoogleTV, random BluRay player, etc. then you can't watch the show. But regular Hulu thru a web browser or Hulu Desktop on an HTPC gets it all with no restrictions because it's flagged as "web". Even though you have it actually hooked up to a TV.



Frankly I think an HTPC is really the only way to go for Hulu since it's not crippled and you don't need to pay for Plus unless you want the back episodes of various shows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonscott87
There isn't. HTPC is the only solution for this and to DVR OTA or cable programming.


Also note that Hulu Plus is crippled on a lot of these boxes. Even if Hulu isn't blocking whole networks many shows for the networks aren't flagged for "TV" which means if you use Roku, GoogleTV, random BluRay player, etc. then you can't watch the show. But regular Hulu thru a web browser or Hulu Desktop on an HTPC gets it all with no restrictions because it's flagged as "web". Even though you have it actually hooked up to a TV.



Frankly I think an HTPC is really the only way to go for Hulu since it's not crippled and you don't need to pay for Plus unless you want the back episodes of various shows.
Which is what pushed me to going the HTPC route. Didn't think there was a better solution.
 
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