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I am a complete newbie when it comes to HT/HA, so this seemed like the best place to get some feedback from the more experienced enthusiast on my upcoming plans. I'm pretty experienced when it comes to computer hardware & software (A+ certified, been avidly reading comp. tech sites since '96 etc). BTW, I created a similar thread (altho dumber still) under general HT before finding this more appropriate forum. Let me know if I'm supposed to do something to close that thread.


I'm planning on redoing my HT setup in the next few months. I've spent about 15 hours reading threads here and am not much closer to getting to work than I was when I started. I was hoping to get some general advice based on my needs and budget so I know exactly what I'm looking for and about how much I can/should spend on each component. First of all, I don't think anything in my current setup is worth reusing except the monitor and hdd from my music server and possibly my dvd player and TV.


My system will be set up in the furnished basement of my house. The dimensions of the room are approximately 14.5' x 40'. For the previous setup, we put all the HT equipment in the first 4' of the long side the room, then cornered a 14.5' x 14.5' square area by the (4) speakers. This worked alright for movies&TV and was also acceptable for the parties we throw every couple weeks, in which we'd want the music to penetrate 20' past the rear speakers (there could be over a hundred people crammed into the basement for a large party). When working on a wall in the basement I decided to run RCA audio cable the 40' length of the wall, so I could someday put speakers at the back for parties, but have not yet done this.


The current equipment is getting old (7+ yrs) and shows signs of wear and tear, so I want to replace it but I also want to improve the functionality, ease of use, and flexibility of the system. Since we need a music server for parties anyways, I'd like to make the computer play a bigger role in system: a PVR/Video/Music server. As far as PVR, we are cable TV subscribers and I'd like to continue to make use of my cable box, but also be able to record, divx compress, and play content without having to fool with any wires (I wouldn't mind selecting what to record or play directly from the server, but ideally I'd like to be able to select these options via remote or from another computer on the network). My TV is as old as the rest of the equipment and I will consider replacing it (adding some money to my budget) along with the rest of the setup if that seems to make the most sense. Otherwise, I plan to replace it in two or three years when there is more HDTV content and the equipment is cheaper.


My budget for all this (including a new server) is $2000. I have a good friend at Tweeter who is willing to keep his eye out for equipment I want that his boss wants to get rid of (for whatever reasons) and will cut out his commission in addition to the largest discount his boss will allow on it. Given all this, how would you allocate the $2k and what kind of setup would you recommend?


Thanks in advance for any of views you guys can share with me.
 

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$2K is a ton of $$. You can build an HTPC server for well under that.


Here's a thread where I detailed my client/server setup. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...lient%2Fserver


You would probably do just fine with the client machine I spec'd as your main machine. I know that the Cinemar suite has a MusicLobby PPC that you could use over a PDA and looks pretty sexy, but it's some $$ [$300]. Too rich for my blood, but you can't beat that UI for coolness. As you wouldn't even need all the hardware I spec'd out as you'd only have 1 machine, you'd still be well under your $2K budget, so maybe you don't have an issue blowing a bit on some wow factor.
 
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