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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
what should I expect to pay or invest as i tell my wife in a htpc ?

the features i would like are :


1. I would like a nice case to match my harmon kardon components.


2. I would like to rip my dvds and cds to hard drive.


3. I would like a nice interface software to access data .


4 . tivo like feature


5. I currently have direct tv with hd and digital cable ,so am not sure if need a tv tuner card.


also any suggestion of what and where to start would be great


thanks jimS
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jims

1. I would like a nice case to match my harmon kardon components.
This could be the one item that costs the most. It just depends on your tastes and what's available. Most of the nice component styel cases run around $200.


Quote:
2. I would like to rip my dvds and cds to hard drive.
All that is needed for this is a DVD-ROM drive and a large hard drive. DVD-ROms are about $30 I guess. But most people spring for the DVD-ROM/CDRW combo drives that run about $50. Of course, DVD-RW drives cost a bit more $100-120. Harddrives? Well that just depends on how much storage you think you will need. Most DVDs will take anywhere from 5-10Gb per movie... so expect 10GB per movie that you want to keep at any one time on the hard drive. Make sure you realize that the OS and software will need room on that hard drive. 10GB should be enough for that. So an 80GB drive will hold 7 or more DVDs and your OS/software.


Quote:
3. I would like a nice interface software to access data .
There are several popular "front-ends" Some are even free! Search this board for more info.


Quote:
4 . tivo like feature
"Tivo-like" functionality is easy to come by. A video capture card is anywhere from $30 on up. It would probably be a good idea to get the an ATI All In Wonder video card, as it has a built in capture and tuner card, and has pretty good software. HDTV-time-shifting is also possible but requires a bit more money. The Fusion HDTV cards start at $160.


Quote:
5. I currently have direct tv with hd and digital cable ,so am not sure if need a tv tuner card.
No... the DirecTV box is the "tv tuner card". You would need to hook the output of that box (the Svideo or RCA connections) to a Video Capture card in the PC, and then back out the video card to your display device. If you are wanting to hook up the component outputs of your HiDef DirecTV box to the computer, you are going to need some serious cash.


Your best bet for timeshifting HiDef through DirecTV is to wait on the actual HiDef Tivo boxes that are coming out later this year or early next. They will have 4 tuners. Two OTA tuners, and two DirecTV tuners. You are limited to recording only two streams from any combination of the 4, but that's still incredible. (250Gb hard drive it in... and for about $800)
 

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If you run your standard def DirectTV through a TV card's s-video and use dscaler, you will be amazed.


However, I know of no way to send a HD DirectTV signal into a computer.


I built my computer about two months ago, for this purpose, but I wanted it to be fast enough for WM9 content at 1080p and have a DVI port in case I get a nicer TV in the future. I also have dual 120GB SATA drives in RAID 0.


If you want a case that looks like your HK stuff, get a Coolermaster ATC-610. Looks just like stereo equipment. It only fits an uATX board, but a full size PSU. The case is around $100 if you shop around. The 620 is all aluminum but costs a ton more.


The only downside is that uATX boards only have 3 pci slots max, but I doubt I will fill them all. The only one I am using now is for the TV card. I may get a high end sound card in the future, but the onboard isn't killing me yet.


You should invest in a nice remote control keyboard/mouse combo and in a quiet CPU fan. I tried 3 cpu fans before I was happy, and that was with the Zalman Cu-7000. It's expensive but well worth it. My system doesn't make a sound. I am using a very quiet Antec True 330W PSU as well. My Barracudas are also supposed to be the quietest out there. The only thing that really makes noise is my Samsung DVD/CD-RW combo drive, but that's only noticable when it's spinning. There are probably quieter drives out there. It will be replaced with a DVD burner once price comes down a little more anyway.


My whole system came in just over $1000 after shipping. I think that is about the best performance for dollar right now.
 

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there are allot of variables for what you want to do. first off do a search on google for home theater computer case and try to find a case that matchs up as closely as possible to your components or something that is acceptable.. you can spend allot of cash on just the case.


another thing is if you have hd dtv then get a hd capture card. this will get you hd input from the reciver. check out sagetv thread for hd cards and compatiblity and its the best from what others say as far as pvr functions.


dvd rips and playback is simple just get a dvd player for the pc and your good to go. as someone else mentioned you can either get a dvd+rw for cheep a dvd+-rw is a little more but under 200 bucks


hard drive space is you want the biggest hard drive possible for the rips and pvr but what i would do is get 2 hard drives.. one for the dvd rips and one for the pvr and a small one for the os. that way if you have to reimage you wont have to reload the software or rerip the dvd's.


mobo is something that is debatable. some would say go out and spend the most money for the mobo but i have had great luck with msi and they are resonable. usualy 50 to 100 bucks cheaper then the rest like asus/abit


videocard you can get a reasonable price on a ati dont get the aiw(all in wonder) since you are limited on resolution..


proc. depends on what you plan on doing. if you have hardware encoding on the capture card then you dont need as fast of a proc. and a cell works fine.. you can usualy get a 2.4gig cell proc for under a hundred bucks.


memory.. another thing thats subjective and what you plan on doing. since memory is so cheap load it with 1 gig you wont hurt anything and you dont need the corsair 200 bucks for 256meg ram you can get the 512 for under 50 bucks allot of times..


one thing to consider.. if you have room you can hide the cpu and run a firewire external case using a dvd drive in it and remote the cpu behind the component rack.. this is something allot of people dont think about. you can die the face different colors or use etching primer and paint which will match the components a little better.. if ytou can find a used broke H/K reciver you can gut the thing and mode the box to fit everything and its all hidden as well. ;-)
 
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