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I'm new to HTPC but not computers and before purchasing anything would like to solicit the group's opinion. I just moved into a new house from an apartment and figure it's time to buy a new TV and take the HDTV plunge. I've got two rooms approximately 12'x20' that I'll be placing TV's in. My current system is:


Toshiba CX32F60 mfr 11/96 (32" 4:3 non progressive)

2 Mitsubish SVHS VCR's (HS-U746 and HS-U795)

Pioneer DV-525 DVD player (non progressive)

Echostar 2000 Dish Network receiver (UHF)

Onkyo TX-DS575X AV receiver

Klipsch center and quintet speakers


So it's a bit dated. I figure I'll move the Toshiba TV and DVD player to one room which I want to keep clutter free and use AVcast or Channel Plus to broadcast channels from the main HT room to that room. So now for the new stuff:


I've read some of Kharvel's posts and think I'm sold on the Monivision monitor idea for the display. I'm not sure on the specific model: probably either the DM6952SFT ($1190) or the DM7752S ($1689). Neither of these are wide screen since I'm anticipating most of my viewing will still probably be done via dish network until more HDTV content becomes available. I'd also like to do occasional gaming on this system which is better at 4:3. The DM7752S is 36" viewable and the DM6952SFT is 32" viewable but is a flat screen. I'm leaning toward the DM6952SFT since my 32" seems plenty large enough in this size of room and would have the flat screen. Would appreciate any comments on this selection and any recommended alternatives.


My old echostar 2000 system will be put to rest soon. It's replacement will be a Dish PVR 721 -- no HD content here but it is a dual tuner PVR.


I'll keep the Onkyo receiver for the DTS and speaker output and selection between the VCR and satellite analog sources.


So now on to the PC stuff. I've been converting some analog SVHS tapes to DVD-R so do have some hardware that may be suitable for HTPC.


Canopus MVR-1000 (MPEG2 capture card)

Canopus ADVC-100 (external DV converter)

Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-M1612 (tray loader)

Sony DRU-500A -R/-RW/+R/+RW (tray loader)

Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card


PC:

Motherboard: Abit KT7A RAID

CPU: AMD Athlon XP1900+ (1.6GHZ)

RAM: 1GB SDRAM (1.5GB if needed)

VIA OHCI compliant IEEE1394 controller

EVGA Geforce 2 MX400

2 120GB Western Digital drives (WD1200JB)

Linksys LNE100TX NIC

USB ports on this system are still USB 1.0 not 2.0

OS: Win2k SP3


I was thinking I could probably use the Canopus MVR-1000 as my capture card and record directly any analog sources to MPEG2 w/o having to first convert to SVHS tape for anything I might want to save to DVD. The VCR would be used as the analog tuner for cable tv. The Dish PVR721 will be used for most analog time shifting. I assume the DVD drives will be fine for an HTPC. I think the soundcard should be fine too since it has a digital out port to connect to the receiver. Is the motherboard/cpu beefy enough for this application? And what about the RAM -- will SDRAM cut it? If not, that means a new board. I suspect that a new video card is recommended (probably an ATI Radeon but which specific model?). Or would the Matrox Parhelia be better with a Monivision monitor? This Monivision as a VGA monitor rather than a true HDTV connection clouds the issue for me. Right now I'm thinking the Radeon 9500Pro for $165 is best value.


With regard to an HDTV tuner, I'm thinking of getting either the HiDTV Pro 2.0 or the MIT MyHD MDP-100. and am leaning toward the HiDTV.


I'm undecided on the IR receiver, remotes, and desktop interface but will be able to work that out. I do have access to the Win XP MCE OS if it adds anything but am not sure if it does since most analog PVR functions will be via the PVR721. Also, any compelling reason to move to XP rather than Win2K SP3?


Lots of questions here and hopefully I've given you enough specifics for some of you to help answer. I'm also still actively reading the other threads for as much info as I can get.


Thanks in advance for any assistance.
 
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