AVS Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
967 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello, all,


I currently have what is essentially an out-of-the-box HTPC from Sony. It is the Sony RA820G. Here are the specs for it from CNET: http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/son...-31117350.html I added in an nVidia GeForce 7600GS. I also had to change the power supply very early in this PC's life.


I haven't had any real issues since then until recently. The PC, I believe, is on its last legs. It takes forever to start up and sometimes will not load up.


What I am looking for is a prebuilt HTPC similar to this. Ideally, I would like something from Dell (I can get a discount from them using a corporate account) although I know some of the HP offerings look enticing.


I do not do as much of the things that some of you guys do with yours. Here is what I need it to be able to do:


1. It needs to have a remote control with it, preferably a MCE remote w/ the Green Button in the middle. This is 100% necessary for my wife.


2. It needs to have a video card that can drive both my TV and a monitor at the same time. Clonemode is fine. (The HTPC is in an adjoining room from the theatre area.)


3. Primarily used to watch backed up DVDs, but I'd also like to be able to record/timeshift OTA HDTV.


4. Needs to output 5.1 sound to my surround sound receiver, probably via SPDIF.


5. Needs and HDMI/DVI connection.


Analog recording is unnecessary as is BluRay, though I would hope I could get something that would someday allow an external BluRay player or something.



Can anyone give me some recommendations on pre-built PCs that meet these requirements? Or, at least some minimum specs for something that I can look for? It seems the remote is hard to come by at Dell.com or this would be much easier for me.


I apologize for asking so many questions, but I have been in grad school for the last year and have not been able to keep up on the most recent things regarding HTPCs and mine just suddenly started giving us problems.


I truly appreciate any help. Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
You are going to pay a lot more for a pre-built / customized system.


However, there is one advantage to that. If you are a cable subscriber that is the only way to get a Cablecard-compatible recording option. If you aren't a cable customer you can ignore that.


For what you requested you can take ANY current PC and add the following:


XP media center OS or any Vista except Home or Business


There are many choices for remote control. You can get a remote and receiver (yes, with the big green button) for about $30.


You will need a discrete video card since on-board video will unlikely support dual monitors. If you are going to Clone an HDTV and monitor I would recommend setting the resolution to 1280x720 since that is the same as 720p. All HDTVs accept that resolution and many medium sized LCDs run at the same resolution.


There are many OTA tuner cards available (generally with their own remote at well, but not the green button kind). Pick one that has the number of tuners you want. I would recommend a good ATSC since NTSC has one foot in the grave. If you don't use cable you can ignore QAM tuners.


Almost all current motherboards have included HD sound with SPDIF outputs.


A number of video cards include HDMI adapters for their DVI outputs or you can just get a DVI to HDMI cable from Monoprice.


If that is all you need you can buy any PC with the video card and tuner you want. If they don't carry the MCE remote/receiver packages you can buy one all over the place, they are cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
967 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much for your suggestions.


I currently have an Avermedia A180 card in my HTPC. I assume that would work in a newer PC. Do you think my current video card would as well? Perhaps I could simply swap them into a newer PC and purchase the remote and be good to go.


Your post helped me a great deal. I am looking at some Dell's online now and might be able to put this together for under $500.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top