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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little background first...


I'm in the process of putting together a distributed a/v network system for my house. My general plan is to centrally locate all of the equipment in the basement leaving just the monitors (and inwall speakers in those rooms with 5.1 capability) to be installed in the rest of the house. I do not want any other a/v equipment in these rooms.


I primarily want to store and play back dvds (1500+) and cds (probably about the same number) from a device located in the equipmet closet to the various tvs throughout the house. I would like to be able to access different movies on different tvs at the same time. Internet access and gaming would be a wonderful addition, but I am willing to give that up in the name of reliability on the dvd storage/play back end. OTA reception isn't necessary.


From what I have read, an HTPC can accomplish what I want. While I don't have an unlimited budget, I believe I can afford to put together a very good HTPC. In a perfect world, I would like to be able to purchase a unit ready to plug and play, but I'm getting the impression from reading the threads that this really isn't a viable alternative.


Which leads me to my questions...


Is there a HTPC that I have overlooked that can meet my needs and is pretty much ready to hook up and use?


If not, what is the best approach to putting a machine together that will meet my needs on a budget of $3000?


Assuming I build such a machine, how dificult is it to implement into my current system (I am computer literate, but by no means a computer whiz)?


Are there any major issues with HTPCs that I should be aware of?


Keep in mind that my main concern is RELIABLE storage and play back of DVDs and CDs... Gaming and internet are a bonus, but not at the expense of reliability.


Any help that you folks can provide would be greatly appreciated. If additional information is needed, let me know and I will provide it.


Regards,


Stan
 

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You would save a ton of money if you relax this rule
Quote:
I do not want any other a/v equipment in these rooms.

Its a complex & tough requirement. Each room with a 5.1 setup will need its own AV receiver and an htpc or media center extender(e.g. xbox). Putting everything in the basement will complicate cable runs, and will need repeaters to accomplish this at which point I doubt t will be a $3000 project, not to mention programming a universal remote that would work for each room.


I recommend that you atleast keep the AV receiver + htpc( or extender) in each room, and wire the house with a gigabit network. A windows home server could be placed in the basement, to host your DVD/ CD collection, a windows 7 media center at the main viewing area, and xbox 360s as extenders at other tv locations to distribute the media throughout the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by sriramc /forum/post/18190041


You would save a ton of money if you relax this rule

First, thank you for your response and comments. I certainly appreciate it!


I realize that this would save some money, but that is one of the constraints that I have to work under. For what it's worth, the distribution equipment (Crestron controller, Extron matrix switch, etc.) is already sourced, I'm just trying to come up with the best way to get my movies and music through the entire house.

Quote:
Its a complex & tough requirement. Each room with a 5.1 setup will need its own AV receiver and an htpc or media center extender(e.g. xbox).

Ok, I understand the need for an a/v receiver for each 5.1 room (there will be three) and I have planned for this, but why the media center extender/xbox? I must have missed something in my research... There's no way to run the HTPC to the matrix switch and let it handle distributing the output?

Quote:
Putting everything in the basement will complicate cable runs, and will need repeaters to accomplish this at which point I doubt t will be a $3000 project, not to mention programming a universal remote that would work for each room.

The entire project is a bit more than the budget I listed... Still, I'm trying to do this on a budget. I do have some professional help for the difficult parts, but I'll be doing the grunt work. The $3000 is what I allocated strictly for the HTPC and any software or assistance that I would need to get it operational.


I am about a week away from beginning my cable runs (four Cat6 and one 5 channel component) to each tv location. The matrix switch is component so that is what the 5 channel coax is for. Two of the Cat6s are already spoken for as well. I have access to every room in the house through either the basement or the attic so it should go smoothly. If additional cable is required to accomplish what I want to do with the HTPC, it is pretty easy to do.


The remotes and programming will be handled by the professionals.

Quote:
I recommend that you atleast keep the AV receiver + htpc( or extender) in each room, and wire the house with a gigabit network. A windows home server could be placed in the basement, to host your DVD/ CD collection, a windows 7 media center at the main viewing area, and xbox 360s as extenders at other tv locations to distribute the media throughout the house.

Why not put the server and media center in the basement and let the matrix switch handle the rest, or is there an issue with doing that? Still not up to speed with the xboxes as extenders... Sorry for my ignorance.


Thanks again for your feedback.


Regards,


Stan
 

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Quote:
Why not put the server and media center in the basement and let the matrix switch handle the rest

Unfortunately a media center htpc can only feed one tv at a time. So for 3 TVs you'll need 3 htpcs(or 1htpc + 2 extenders or another similar combination).


The xbox 360 works as a media center extender. An extender can connect to a existing windows media center pc on the home network and stream all its media(w/ some audio/ video format limitations), including live TV with program guide, act as a DVR, netflix support etc.
 
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