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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to build a HTPC for christmas. And the wife isn't too keen on the idea. I can probably get her okay but I don't think I can go crazy so I wanted to keep a budget of about $1000-$1200 but make it so I can upgrade it later. So I just need the components that will give me the biggest bang for my limited buck.


I have a 46" Mit HDTV (ready). And a Sony progressive Scan DVD player.

Dish Network 7100 (dishplayer). 5.1 Home Theater.


My biggest priorities are to


1. Watch & Record HDTV

2. Try and make my Dish Network look a little better.


I'm thinking about the $100 sound dampened case from Digital Connection.

And a Tuner card (Hipix???) seems to run $400.


Or should I bag this and get a STB for the time being?


Thanks,


Troy
 

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Troy

I have a very low end HTPC that does a great job of what you are trying to do. My setup is as follows


Digital Connection black sound dampened case with the adj. speed fan

I like it over my old case but you still need to tame the vibrations a little!


PIII 500 , Abit BH-6 MoBo, 528 MB PC100 ram , Aopen 10 speed DVD player

Radeon LE 32 MB VGA , HiPix HDTV Turner card, 6 G HD for OS and 45 G HD for storing 5.5 hours of HDTV recordings, I use a SB Live card for sound ,Audio authority VGA to component converter

I have a Philips wirless key board and mouse combo, Pronto remote and IRMan along with this software

WIN XP

Theatertek software DVD player

Girder software for control

HiPix 3.5 Beta software

I have digital cable running Svideo into the HiPix with good results on some of the better channels!


Here is a very important question do you like computers ? Are you accustomed to solving hardware and software problems? If the answer is yes to these questions then for under $1000 HTPC is the only way you can record HDTV like a TiVo ! But if WAF is a problem and you don't have several weekends to spend unhampered to sort out the HTPC buyer beware.


I love mine and my wife is very understanding . I can't tell you how many times we have had to reboot during movies over the last 2 years. Things are much better with WIN XP and Theatertek but still not perfect.


Hope this helps ! By the way my HT looks better than it ever has with my HTPC but it took alot of work to get here. I am sure others have traveled a smoother path but no one here will say it has been done hassle free !


Good luck hope I didn't scare you off but your viewer's must be behind you for the HTPC to be a good choice!



;) John
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Johnathan, Thanks for the response. Yeah I'm a bit of a computer geek. I've Upgraded my home computer over the years from a Pentium 133 to a AMD 900. There isn't one piece of original hardware in my current system but I've enjoyed tinkering around with it and its saved me lots of $ not buying new machines. (I usually upgrade when I can triple the speed for a couple hundered bucks)


A couple more questions for you ... or anyone else.


How much of an improvement are you getting from your digital cable running it through your HTPC than straight into your TV?


Are you using to improve the picture from digital cable ? Dscaler or something? I hear H3D works great - - - maybe next Christmas... Is there any low cost methods that I will still notice an improvement but arent $800.


Thanks Again.


Troy
 

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The CX23881-based cards in combination with DScaler seem to be a popular choice right now. They can be had for around $39 w/o a tuner, and on up from there.


Going with one of these, you should be able to have something that can affordably scale, and keep your total cost ~$1k.
 
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