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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been searching the boards for a bit trying to find some suggestions on "off the shelf" machines to use as a very simple HTPC. I mostly just want a replacement for my aging XBMC that supports playing HD content as well. I *could* build something from scratch, but would just as happily be in and out of fry's in 30 minutes (not including that absurd check out line of course) instead of spending three days picking out components. I would certainly be interested in using it as a DVR from time to time, but it's not the main function I would be after.


Any suggestions/links/thoughts?


Thanks so much for any help.

d
 

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Check out the refurbished HPs on Ubids website. Some have tv tuners, some have BluRay or HD-DVD drives, some are small form facter, all seem to sell for reasonable prices.
 

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As far as HD content, if you mean streams, etc., even an old p4 3ghz cpu and low end video solution can handle that easily. Nevermind DVD.


In order to use FFDshow for a lot of processing and play Blu-Ray (the more advanced functions), something a tad more modern would be good.


The last consideration is what inputs/outputs you might want. I'd suggest a system with a S/Pdif jack already in place, for example, to connect easily with the receiver.


Hardware wise, I would consider something like the HP m8277c Refurbished at Fry's to be overkill but it is around $500.


Finally, it just comes down to the shape and size of the external enclosure (case).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks guys.

If I'm reading through the lines properly here... basically I can pick up any old "media center" type PC and with only minor messing around play h.264, MKV's etc on my HDTV.

I presume if I pick up a higher end graphics card (perhaps with QAM support) I can also use the VMC DVR type functions, but this would likely not come standard with stuff in the 500 dollar range...

thanks!

-d
 

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Also look at rebranded HP media PCs at Geeks.com. If you get lucky, they have some great deals from tiem to time. I've heard that there's no OS 'included', but is in fact sitting on a partition and can be easily recovered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks fitbirt.

IMC, I will want to buy local "just in case" I have some concerns since my Sony only has HDMI or Component for HD. I've read a few horror stories on here about not being able to properly size the screen. If I can't make it look good, it will go back to fry's...


really appreciate all the help everyone

-d
 
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