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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why does the HTPC have to be in the living room, or in any specific room?


I'm getting ready to build mine now, and I think I'll put it in the closet or some other out of the way place. I'll access it via RF mouse/keyboard, thus the only challenge is finding a long enough combination of cords to attach to my RCA F38310 38," stereo receiver, and cable/internet connection.


I plan on building a library of music and movies, so I don't anticipate having to insert discs too often. Of course, this is easy for me to say cause I don't really know what I'm talking about. Comments?
 

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Mine was in my basement for a while and it was fine. I moved it to my living room simply because I like having the burner drive handy since I burn a lot of discs. I considered an external burner that I could pull out and plug into a USB wall jack whenever I wanted, but my system is quiet enough that I don't even notice it.
 

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Or....you could very easily build a quiet computer. I have mine sitting in my living room under my Stereo. They are the only two components in the room. It was pretty easy as well, just buy a good but a bit slower Pentium 4 processor and use a copper heatsink. Coupled with a heatsink version of a video card and a decent case you don't need to have any fans running at all.
 

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I find it handy to have the machine near where I watch things, in case I need to reboot or something silly freezes the machine (*cough* accessdtv card *cough*)
 

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Mines in a closet next to my viewing room. I ran my satellite feeds there, speaker wires, phone, separate power circuit, etc. Now the receiver, cable modem, wireless router, HTPC, etc all sit in the closet, and connection wires can be short. Access is via a RF keyboard or Netremote.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Roger1
Why does the HTPC have to be in the living room, or in any specific room?
Totally.


I have my PC in a room adjacent to my home theater, which incidentally for me, also shortens the wire run to the projector (as compared to what it would be if the PC were next to the stereo)


I use a Logitech wireless Keyoard and mouse (Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo) but my input devices occassionally lose connection with the base (which is EXTREMELY annoying) I should pursue either: A possible RF booster; A upgrade to a better system; or simply extending the wiring so that the Logitech receiving base is in my theater room.


I use the MyHD card which has great multi-source utility and a remote with good functionality. It will play back .VOB files off of your hard disk, tune both standard (NTSC) and hi-def (ATSC) broadcasts, and even accept composite and S-video inputs from a VCR. Although the remote gets wire to a serial port, the remote sensor can be placed in your theater room so you switch between all these sources (although not fully operate them all, via the MyHD remote alone) and even make picture and aspect ratio adjustments by remote.


It works pretty well, except when the system (*cough* MyHD *cough*) freezes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So it can indeed work in a different room. Cool. Now all I have to do is build my pc, figure out and implement an electronic video library system and PVR, then get a date to come over, and I can wow her with a living room that has just a television, and yet a plethora of invisible media.


(Feel free to send any unneed luck my way)
 

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You may need to have the PC near the monitor and A/V receiver.


DVI cords can only run about 2 meters. Toslink about 15 I think. RGB cables also have a... 15 foot max? USB and Firewire also have limited lengths.


Point is, unless you want to spring for long cables and signal amplifiers AND deal with long wire runs AND trying to hide those wires AND have limited flexibility, the HTPC should be in the living room.
 

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All of my equipment sits in an av closet and is connected via a matrix switcher to living room, bed room and HT room. Each room has composite, component and spdif. The living room is the farthest away, over 100 ft where attached to a plasma. The closest is the HT room where which is attached to the FP. The PC has a myhd card and descaler for other sources and I use Girder to control the matrix switcher. In the same closet there is a HD STB, DVD player, and an old VCR. Each room has a xantech receiver to capture IR remotes and I use a Airboard and a Gyron mouse and keyboard. The pc is a very loud rackmount case with lots of fans to keep it cool but since it is in a closet noise is not a problem. When I want to watch a DVD I just go to the closet and pop in a DVD in to the drive. It would be nice if there was a DVD drive that I could place in each room connected via cat5. It may sound expensive but some of the components were purchased via ebay for a steal, for example my Autopatch Matrix switcher cost ~$250 and that came with a 4X4 RGBHV, 2 8X4 video cards, and 2 8X4 stereo cards.


Regards,


Brian
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dandrewk
You may need to have the PC near the monitor and A/V receiver.


DVI cords can only run about 2 meters. Toslink about 15 I think. RGB cables also have a... 15 foot max? USB and Firewire also have limited lengths.


Point is, unless you want to spring for long cables and signal amplifiers AND deal with long wire runs AND trying to hide those wires AND have limited flexibility, the HTPC should be in the living room.
I am not sure how long a DVI cable can run but I know people run longer than 2M. RGB/RGBHV/Component can run hundreds of feed without problems. Not sure how long toslink will run but spdif/coax will run hundreds of feet too. Both RGB or spdif will run those distances with out any kind of signal amp.


I think you are correct on the usb and fw, if I could figure out how to run either of those on cat5e I would love to see how far I could drive them. The main thing I am missing in each of the rooms is a USB or a FW connector.


Regards,


Brian
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by btmoore
I use a Airboard and a Gyron mouse and keyboard.
Hi Brian,


Do you know how the Airboard/Gyron compares to the Logitech with respect to ability to maintain a consistent connection with the receiver through the house?


Also are you able to leave an Airboard/Gyron combo in each room?


Thanks,


David
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by djordan
Hi Brian,


Do you know how the Airboard/Gyron compares to the Logitech with respect to ability to maintain a consistent connection with the receiver through the house?


Also are you able to leave an Airboard/Gyron combo in each room?


Thanks,


David
Not sure which logitech you are talking about but my experience with logitech RF mice and keyboard is they have a fairly short range. I am using an optical logitech mouse/keyboard in my office, it works great but it is large and has a very short range. The Gyron is a fantastic solution, I am using the 25 foot version and it appears to work for a much longer distance than it is rated. From my living room I am just at the end of the range of the mouse, the keyboard seems to have a longer range. It would be nice if I could figure out how to boost the gain on the receiver another 10 or 15 feet it would be perfect. I may just break down and purchase the 100 foot version for a second one, I need another one anyways they are just about $200 more. On a side point the Gyron mouse is an idal mouse for the HTPC, the Gyro mode is ideal for a HTPC.


As far as using the airboard and the gyron at the same time, yes you can. I am using the airboard right now, which is being picked up by the xantech IR receiver and sent to the av closet. I am only using the PS/2 keyboard input and not the mouse as it is a db9 serial connector and I ran out of serial ports. I tried a db9 to din mouse converter but it did not appear to work, but I also did not try too hard as the main purpose of the Airboard was for sending keyboard command via my pronto. On a side point I think the Gyron manual said you can have 8 Gyron's attached to the computer at the same time but only 2 can be used at the same time.


Regards,


Brian
 

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by the way, dvi cables can run 10 metres with good cable. they can run longer but it's much more expensive as you can see there :
long lenght dvi cable
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ye110man
isn't one of the points of having a htpc to replace the stand-alone dvd player?
Yes, sort of, but just because I added a HTPC doesn't mean I throw out my DVD players, I have owned the DVD players much longer that the HTPC. Since I have the DVD player and the HTPC both on the matrix switchers I can be using the HTPC for HD recording/viewing, browsing the net, running descaler, etc in one room while the DVD player can be used in another room. If I tossed out the DVD player that would mean that when the PC was in use you can't watch a movie.


Regards,


Brian
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by btmoore
The Gyron is a fantastic solution...
I think that points me in the right direction. (no pun intended)

Thanks for the great info Brian.


david
 

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I'm tucking mine under the stairwell in my media area. Thankfully it is right next to where my gear is going so at best I'll need maybe 3-5' longer cables to make it pretty.


And it's not too hard to build a quiet PC, a few well selected fans and gear and you can have a damn quiet system.


I'm making mine quiet but I'll be taking advantage of it being recessed into the wall to help me out too. :D
 

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I've got mine in a closet of a room adjacent to the living/theater room. Having it there did require a bit more investment in infrastructure: A VGA splitter to split the signal to the projector and the monitor/keyboard in the bedroom. An IR Airboard keyboard (but that would have been necessary anyway). A Xantech IR repeater system that would have been necessary anyway for other IR equipment in that closet. A pair of dolby digital converters: the first converts toslink to coax, then I run the coax canare L-4CFB cable about 25 feet and then use another converter to convert back to toslink. The converters only cost about $25 each.


To me it is well worth it; I like having my living room as "ungeeky" as possible, and so this makes it possible to have the best of both worlds.


VGA cables can be bought very cheaply from places like cablestogo.com in long lengths with good coax quality.
 
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