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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking into building a HTPC. but I'm wondering if i would be better suited to keep the pc i have, add a tuner card and get a media extender...


Any thoughts?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/15485453


I'm looking into building a HTPC. but I'm wondering if i would be better suited to keep the pc i have, add a tuner card and get a media extender...


Any thoughts?

What's your desired functionality? That's really the driving factor. If an extender will do what you want, IMO it's a no brainer to go that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
To reply to both:


I have a dell p4 2.8, 512mb ram. ram upgrade is cheap. I would need a tuner card. 80 g hd.


I can't coonect it to the tv since the need a new video card and sound card.


My goals are to watch DVDs, ripped dvds, and some recorded HD OTA content. and access internet sites like hulu, fancast easily.


If I do the HTPC i would go with blu ray, but its not a requirement at this time.


I'm really just looking for a way to ditch cable but i would like to have a dedicated media machine. But if a media extender will work, I'd be inclined to go that route...
 

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Personally, I would build a dedicated HTPC or Media server, then add extenders to other rooms later.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack /forum/post/15486841


Personally, I would build a dedicated HTPC or Media server, then add extenders to other rooms later.

x2, I love my Sage TV server and extenders!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think i should build one too, but before i before i put out the effort I am exploring all options...


thanks,
 

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If budget is a non issue, go full blown HTPC. If you want to scale it / upgrade slowly over time then just add some parts to your current rig. 1GB of RAM is sufficient, then you just need a tuner card and a decent video card. I am selling my old 2600PRO, PM me if interested.


Tuner card / sound card / video card is all you need it seems. It may not be a bad idea to use your current guts (MOBO/CPU) and get a new HTPC case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulrider4ever /forum/post/15488270


If budget is a non issue, go full blown HTPC. If you want to scale it / upgrade slowly over time then just add some parts to your current rig. 1GB of RAM is sufficient, then you just need a tuner card and a decent video card. I am selling my old 2600PRO, PM me if interested.


Tuner card / sound card / video card is all you need it seems. It may not be a bad idea to use your current guts (MOBO/CPU) and get a new HTPC case.

The problem is my current setup doesn't do pci express, i can't find a hdmi video card that is agp, there are all pci-x.


I can buy anew mobo that has integrated hdmi and sound, that supports a dual core processor. I figured out i can build one with blu ray for under $600. without an OS.
 

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Sounds like a Popcorn Hour would suit your needs and it's cheaper than building a HTPC. Probably save a ton of headaches too.


edit - Assuming you have a HD TV for a display.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/15494269


The problem is my current setup doesn't do pci express, i can't find a hdmi video card that is agp, there are all pci-x.

I don't have enough posts so I can't post the url... but if you go to newegg and search for agp video adapters that have HDMI (via an adapter) you will find a couple (7). They are even new (ATI 3450, etc) chipsets. They are HDMI via an adapter (so no audio) but you can run spdif for that and as you can not (as of yet) get lossless audio out of the PC via HDMI (that i know of) it's a non issue.

Quote:
I'm looking into building a HTPC. but I'm wondering if i would be better suited to keep the pc i have, add a tuner card and get a media extender...

Personally I LOVE my SageTV setup. I have a server in the basement with 2 HDHR's for OTA (and soon to be 1x HD-PVR for cable) and a HD-Extender in the living room. So much less hassle then getting a HTPC to be trouble free (codec issues, black issues, driver issues, playback issues), reliable, work from a 10ft interface w/o keyboard, and QUIET in the living room. My original plan was to go the HTPC route but after configuration woes I said "Forr $200 I can do 99% of what I want and I don't need to spend hours upon hours doing debug... DUH". The only thing I wish the extender did was have the ability to hook up a keyboard/mouse too it and browse the internet.
 

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You may want to rethink your BluRay plans. I've had various HTPCs for many years, but I still haven't taken the BluRay plunge. On a PC, it still seems like a big headache. It will also add $100-200 to your costs for the drive and SW.


Also, build a new PC from scratch. RAM is dirt cheap. Motherboards and CPUs have really dropped in price. You might be able to get away with onboard graphics and save some money.


silentpcreview.com just published an interesting article on a mini-ITX 8200 motherboard. It looks like it would make a good media center PC.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/Zotac-GF8200ITX


ps: they had trouble playing one of the BluRay discs with this MB!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by razrsharpe /forum/post/15494613


I don't have enough posts so I can't post the url... but if you go to newegg and search for agp video adapters that have HDMI (via an adapter) you will find a couple (7). They are even new (ATI 3450, etc) chipsets. They are HDMI via an adapter (so no audio) but you can run spdif for that and as you can not (as of yet) get lossless audio out of the PC via HDMI (that i know of) it's a non issue.




Personally I LOVE my SageTV setup. I have a server in the basement with 2 HDHR's for OTA (and soon to be 1x HD-PVR for cable) and a HD-Extender in the living room. So much less hassle then getting a HTPC to be trouble free (codec issues, black issues, driver issues, playback issues), reliable, work from a 10ft interface w/o keyboard, and QUIET in the living room. My original plan was to go the HTPC route but after configuration woes I said "Forr $200 I can do 99% of what I want and I don't need to spend hours upon hours doing debug... DUH". The only thing I wish the extender did was have the ability to hook up a keyboard/mouse too it and browse the internet.


I'd like to hear your setup, did you document it somewhere here?
 

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I don't know why someone hasn't mentioned this before, but your current is plenty powerful enough to RECORD HD content and to have a BluRay drive added to it.


Best thing I can see:

In all cases, go get a SageTV HD Theater device (extender) - sits connected to your TV and networked to your current rig.


If you want DVR + DVDs,

1) get more RAM (just to be on safe side - might not need)

2) get more HD space (definitely - 80GB is nothing)

3) get a tuner (I'd suggest a HDHR or HD-PVR or both)


if you want to add on BluRay Support

1) get even more HD space (ripping BluRay movies requires 15-25GB/movie)

2) get a BluRay drive


Your current PC can handle the ripping/serving of HD material. It definitely can't handle playback. No help there. The Sage device is the price of a good video card. You'll obviously also need to buy SageTV, but you'd need to do that anyway.


Go read about Sage to see if it would fit your bill, but I definitely think your current is old, but up to the task of seving up the material you desire (just get more RAM).


-B
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefcake /forum/post/15497950


I don't know why someone hasn't mentioned this before, but your current is plenty powerful enough to RECORD HD content and to have a BluRay drive added to it.


Best thing I can see:

In all cases, go get a SageTV HD Theater device (extender) - sits connected to your TV and networked to your current rig.


If you want DVR + DVDs,

1) get more RAM (just to be on safe side - might not need)

2) get more HD space (definitely - 80GB is nothing)

3) get a tuner (I'd suggest a HDHR or HD-PVR or both)


if you want to add on BluRay Support

1) get even more HD space (ripping BluRay movies requires 15-25GB/movie)

2) get a BluRay drive


Your current PC can handle the ripping/serving of HD material. It definitely can't handle playback. No help there. The Sage device is the price of a good video card. You'll obviously also need to buy SageTV, but you'd need to do that anyway.


Go read about Sage to see if it would fit your bill, but I definitely think your current is old, but up to the task of seving up the material you desire (just get more RAM).


-B

A few questions with that setup:


If i want to watch Live TV while recording I can do that? Like my dvr works now? Meaning can i pause and rewind or record live tv through the extender? Can i scheule shows to record through teh tv or do i need to do that on the server terminal? Also turning my pc into a server would i be able to watch sites like hulu through the extender?


EDIT i just checked out the sage tv and i think i like the idea. The hulu question still aplies and can i get a HD tuner card that isn't pci express?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by razrsharpe /forum/post/15494613


Personally I LOVE my SageTV setup. I have a server in the basement with 2 HDHR's for OTA (and soon to be 1x HD-PVR for cable) and a HD-Extender in the living room. So much less hassle then getting a HTPC to be trouble free (codec issues, black issues, driver issues, playback issues), reliable, work from a 10ft interface w/o keyboard, and QUIET in the living room. My original plan was to go the HTPC route but after configuration woes I said "Forr $200 I can do 99% of what I want and I don't need to spend hours upon hours doing debug... DUH". The only thing I wish the extender did was have the ability to hook up a keyboard/mouse too it and browse the internet.

And Sage is getting Hulu before too long (at least hopefully that's when). They're demoing the "pre-beta" at CES right now.


I must say, I really, really like extenders right now. A year, two years ago, hardware solutions were very limited, but with the proliferation of SOCs that support VC1, MPEG-2, and H.264 decoding (as well as MPEG-4 ASP, aka DivX/XviD), and with the entire world standardizing on those codecs we're at a point today where hardware devices are almost without limit in what they can play. And with companies like SageTV and PopcornHour building incredibly open platforms, there's very, very little, media wise that an extender type device can't do.


We're approaching the point where the most compelling reason to have an "HTPC" over an extender connected to your TV is because you want the PC there to do PC stuff.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/15496192


I'd like to hear your setup, did you document it somewhere here?

Its not documented here (or anywhere else) unfortunately... but heres the gist of it


Server:

MB: Supermicro MBD-C2SBX

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600

RAM: Corsair 2 x 1GB DDR3 1333

Raid Controller: 3Ware 9550 SX - 16 port

Boot HDD: WD 80gb

Storage Drives:
5x750GB Samsung F1 HD753LJ in RAID 5 (3TB)

5x1TB Samsung F1 HD103UJ in RAID 5 (4TB)
Graphics: Asus EN8500GT

Case: Athenatech A901BBS (x5.25 bays)

Hot Swap Cages: 3x Athena Power BP-SAS3051B 5x3.5hdd


OTA Tuners: 2x HDHR fed from an antenna in my Attic

Cable: 1x HD-PVR (not yet configured but I have the parts)

Extenders: 1x HD-100, 1x PC Client for debug purposes
On the server I run SageTV 6.5.3. The server does my recording, commercial processing, transcoding, and storage needs. It does not do playback. It is loud and lives in a 19" rack enclosure in the basement that I picked up when it was being thrown out. I definitely went overboard when it comes to a file server responsible for just recording and serving media; however i wanted it to be powerful enough to do transcoding (compression from MPEG2 to H264).


I would reccommend you spend some time reading up on SageTV here at AVS as well as at the SageTV forums. They have a really active user base and getting help is usually pretty easy.


And I completely agree with Strange89 that the only compelling reason to have a computer in the livingroom is to do "PC stuff". For media playback its overblown and a configuration nightmare, IMHO.
 
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