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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a newbie to this HTPC stuff. I want an off-the-shelf unit that I don't need to mess around with too much. I want to be able to do the basic stuff with the HTPC:


- watch blu-ray & DVD content

- watch and record over-the-air, analog cable and eventually digital cable content, not necessarily simultaneously though.

- control the HTPC with a conventional wand-type remote control

- output video and audio to an Onkyo SR507 receiver via HDMI

- display video to Samsung PN50A450 plasma TV (via HDMI through the SR507)

- stream online content from Netflix, Hulu, etc.

- center a wireless home network around the HTPC

- ideally I'd like for the HTPC to be hidden from view in the living room


I'm looking at these 2 HP models from Tigerdirect:


HP Pavilion Slimline S5160F: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...909&CatId=5140


HP Pavilion Elite M9715F: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...005&CatId=5140


What are your thoughts on these?


I've read mixed reviews about both. I understand the basic differences such as; small form factor vs mid-size form factor, processor, wired vs wireless keyboard and mouse, TV tuners are different, graphics cards are different, etc. What I really don't understand are the pro's and con's of those differences, since I have no experience with them?
 

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Well, since no one has replied yet, I figured I would.


First, each of those are more powerful than anything I have in my own home and I'm capable of doing everything you want to do on my own systems. So, each is capable (barring any unforeseeable issues that any given HTPC can have).


Second, if you plan on using the existing Windows Media Center, I would personally look for anything similar that includes Windows 7 over Vista. It's just a better platform for a dedicated HTPC. If you plan on using a different frontend (MediaPortal, XBMC, etc.), it probably doesn't matter as much.


Finally, well, now that you have one reply, there should be more to follow (to at least counter my own opinions). More info for you
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.


Yes, I would upgrade either of those to Windows7 immediately. I haven't been able to find a comparable pc, at that price point, which includes windows7.


When it comes to HTPC's, I'm mostly confused about the various TV tuners and video cards and the capabilities/limitations of all the different formats that are available. And also their abilities to receive and record the various cable TV content. The more I read about this, the more confused I get. I'm a mechanical engineer with average intelligence, but this stuff almost makes my head spin.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by keller317 /forum/post/18154754


Thanks for the reply.


Yes, I would upgrade either of those to Windows7 immediately. I haven't been able to find a comparable pc, at that price point, which includes windows7.


When it comes to HTPC's, I'm mostly confused about the various TV tuners and video cards and the capabilities/limitations of all the different formats that are available. And also their abilities to receive and record the various cable TV content. The more I read about this, the more confused I get. I'm a mechanical engineer with average intelligence, but this stuff almost makes my head spin.

Tuners are simple.


ATSC require an antenna and pic up local digital channels over the air. This is most of what you will see.


QAM means you hook up cable directly to it. This will at least get your locals in HD and SD as well as the local access stuff. For some systems this may get you all digital and non digital channels as well as HDs. For others it will be limited. Check the local broadcast threads on AVS forum to find out exactly what you might get with QAM.


CableCard means renting a cablecard from your cable company. This will allow full replacement for an STB from the cable company except for video on demand


The other tuners are capture cards or boxes like the HD-PVR or ATI 650. These allow you to hook up an STB with an IR blaster to your media center and control it.


When it comes to video cards for an HTPC all you want is h.264 decoding(pretty much all modern video cards), Blu-Ray playback and if you have a receiver with HDMI you want TrueHD bitstreaming.
 
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