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HTPC is a curious hobby/indulgence. The [im]maturity of the industry, lack of well documented best practices, and the innumerable combinatoric # of implementations possible based on your style preference is staggering.


I feel like I originally had a thought, and implementing the bare bones of that thought have taken me like a rat through a maze, never knowing where or when I'm going to hit a wall. I've drilled a 2" hole in the floor of my den, so I could run way too much RG6 back when everything was planning to be analog [plus buy way too much RG6 - who really needs 500' after discovering stuff like TVator]. I've ended up buying random pieces of equipment, gone done a certain design route, only to find that a better idea lay in a thread I had skipped over, and crap now I need different stuff even though I haven't actually even received everything I'd ordered in the first place.


My latest frustration has me wondering why the heck I'm even considering a "whole house audio/video distribution network", and not just saying f*** it, instead of spending hours trying to get IPAQ->Netremote->Girder->SageTV to work, more hours wiring the house to distribute the signal, train the wife on the remotes.


I'd bet for $350 or so I could get an EPIA motherboard, a cheapo case, power supply, video card, and TVAtor, put it next to every damn TV, run CAT6, and be done with it. None of this figuring out if I can use that RG6 to manually put RCA plugs on and use that for audio [how the heck do you do that anyway], yada yada yada.


Rant aside, how did you folks decide on the design of your HTPC? Did you sit down and plan everything out? Did you just randomly learn about different things?
 

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I planned for months as well. Some things didn't go according to plan:


1) I ended up with 3 NTSC capture/tuner cards. I think this happens to a lot of people as they seek video quality (~$200?)

2) bought a PowerMate and paid for a cutout on the front of my case and it turns out I never use it. (~$50?)

3) bought a UIRT2 and soldered IR receiver and emitters, then ended up using a USB-UIRT (I'm having trouble remembering why) (~$30?)

4) bought a Radeon 7500 and then decided the fan was too loud. Now its a 9600. (~$120?)

5) bought an M-Audio Delta 410 and then ended up using a Revo in the HTPC (~$250?)

5) killed a mother board, a P4 and 2 power supplies when my machine rebooted itself too many times in a row (learn my lesson: TURN OFF THE AUTOREBOOT ON FAILURE IN XP) ($450?)


So, bad planning cost me about $650 and building mistakes cost me about $450. Yikes, it's painful when you add it up. At least I still own the $650 worth of equipment, some of which may still find a use in a PC of mine or of a family member.


I think those expenses are behind me now. That is to say from here on out I will plan better and build more safely. At least that's what I tell myself. Don't show this thread to my GF.
 

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When I first read about DOOM 3 last December I started planning, then I found this computer part of the forum and my designing really took off. The funny thing is I had to upgrade twice before I started to acutally build it!. :)
 
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