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Hello,

This is my first time being here as I type this. Bare in mind, I have built my own computer two times before. I am experienced with working for either regular or gaming rig. I have made accidental discovery that I did not know that you can actually build a computer to make it for Home Theater system. It gave me an idea based on complaint I have towards Time Warner Cable. THE ONLY GRIP I have is how much space they offer in their cable box when using DVR feature. I would love to build my own HTPC to replace cable box. I have been told that I should sign up and share my computer parts list to share and hear feed back. I want to start off small to gain experience of building HTPC, which I know is the same as building gaming or workstation. One day, I would love to build my own high end HTPC that can all kinds of things. I have seen from PC Parts Picker that made it with 1,800 bucks. So I would like to start off small and familiarize of what other products out there that can be added to HTPC and my budget to build is under 350 Dollars excluding CableCARD adapter. I keep researching for CableCARD adapter majority of link I click keeps mentioning CENTON brand. I seen where it has either 4 or 6 tuner that can broadcast throughout the house or record 6 shows at the same time. I LOVED that idea except the fact It is bit too pricey for my lack of experience. What CableCARD Tuner do you recommend I should get along with this build I have, which I listed below?

I eternally grateful for your feedback and look forward to threads as I check them out.


CPU: AMD 5350 2.05Ghz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor ($51.99 at Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-AM1M-S2H Micro ATX AM1 Motherboard ($34.99 at Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($37.99 at Newegg)
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 60GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($45.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Blue 500GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($45.99 at Newegg)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($64.99 at Newegg)
Power Supply: CoolMax 350W ATX Power Supply ($24.99 at Newegg)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDC-207DBK Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($44.99 at Newegg)
CableCARD Tuner: ?????
 

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The Silicondust HDHomerun Prime cablecard tuner is $99.99 at newegg now. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...345006&cm_re=hdhomerun-_-15-345-006-_-Product

It's a networked device (not a PCIe card) that connects to your router or switch via ethernet. You can then access it from any computer or compatible device on your network. It has three tuners so you can watch and/or record up to three shows simultaneously. It's stable and works well. The manufacturer's site is here http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/.
 

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I use the HDHR Prime mentioned above.

I see you have a BD player listed on your build. I don't know what your plan for it is, but I strongly suggest not trying to utilize it for BD playback. A separate stand-alone player, or gaming rig with BD capabilities (like PS3), is a better option. Try to keep the HTPC for playing back your ripped collection. So if you are going to rip on a different PC, this one doesn't need a disc player at all. None of my HTPCs have a disc player.

You are going to want a second device anyway if you stream from Netflix or Amazon Prime.
 

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I use the HDHR Prime mentioned above.

I see you have a BD player listed on your build. I don't know what your plan for it is, but I strongly suggest not trying to utilize it for BD playback. A separate stand-alone player, or gaming rig with BD capabilities (like PS3), is a better option. Try to keep the HTPC for playing back your ripped collection. So if you are going to rip on a different PC, this one doesn't need a disc player at all. None of my HTPCs have a disc player.

You are going to want a second device anyway if you stream from Netflix or Amazon Prime.
I'll second that. I have a bluray drive in my primary HTPC, and I don't think I've ever used it. Better off with a stand alone player.

There's no remote in your list either. What are you planning to use to control your HTPC?
 

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your list is more then enough.

Personally I have the InfiniTv 6, but I dont even use its full features, and at the time the 4 tuner was discontinued or else I would of gone with a 4 tuner cable card reader, also when I bought it, Amazon had it down from 179$ to $99 :D
If you can source a 4 tuner get that if you can get a 6 tuner get the 6, Check amazon. like I said I got mine for $99 NEW

I got a blu-ray player on mine, I use it constantly, then after the movie is done I burn it to XBMC.

If youre just going to use a stand alone blu-ray player for movies then just watch normal tv on the htpc, it kinda pointless to have or build a HTPC, well at least to me since to me the whole point of a HTPC is to have everything in one system. Downside to buying a blu-ray drive is aside from spending on the drive the program like total media and others is they are not cheap, usually in the $39-$100 range

Gaming PC's and HTPC's are really similar minus the lower end parts, or GPU's, but even then my friend just built a $500 gaming HTPC that rivals the Xbone and PS4.

You said you said you want to start small, which is fine, me, well... I went big and broke lol. The great thing about PC's is you can start small, upgrade later :p
 

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It isn't pointless to build an HTPC if you don't watch physical discs on it. I built a NUC/Kodi box for my dad, it has no live TV, no BD player, etc., and you couldn't take it from him if you tried. He uses it every day.
 

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I got a blu-ray player on mine, I use it constantly, then after the movie is done I burn it to XBMC.

If youre just going to use a stand alone blu-ray player for movies then just watch normal tv on the htpc, it kinda pointless to have or build a HTPC, well at least to me since to me the whole point of a HTPC is to have everything in one system. Downside to buying a blu-ray drive is aside from spending on the drive the program like total media and others is they are not cheap, usually in the $39-$100 range
Did you consider buying an OEM bluray drive for you primary PC (desktop or USB drive for laptop) and ripping all your movies there so you wouldn't need a bluray drive with playback software for your HTPC? Not only could you have saved a few bucks but you could also be skipping all those annoying forced previews, piracy warnings, etc. that come with watching the disk instead of just watching the ripped MKV. To each his own I guess but from my point of view, "pointless" would be building an HTPC just to continue to sit through that nonsense.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Did you consider buying an OEM bluray drive for you primary PC (desktop or USB drive for laptop) and ripping all your movies there so you wouldn't need a bluray drive with playback software for your HTPC? Not only could you have saved a few bucks but you could also be skipping all those annoying forced previews, piracy warnings, etc. that come with watching the disk instead of just watching the ripped MKV. To each his own I guess but from my point of view, "pointless" would be building an HTPC just to continue to sit through that nonsense.

You know everyone got a point. I can probably opt out putting in blu-ray as I do having ps3. I was planning to do some rippings so I can pull it off whenever I want to. My DVD collection is still piling up. I do like netflix but they don't do all of it and I don't like Amazon very much despite that I'm a member there to shop. I would be at a point where I want to start ripping all movies I have and put it on server so I don't waste time looking for it. So this way. As for cableCARD, I do want to record shows and as mentioned above, I can go with HDPR. Because I'm literally annoyed of its cablebox limit. Doing with with 1 or 2TB of HDD would be a breeze. My real goal is to DVR exclusive tv shows that won't be shown rerun or will do rerun but during late hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I use the HDHR Prime mentioned above.

I see you have a BD player listed on your build. I don't know what your plan for it is, but I strongly suggest not trying to utilize it for BD playback. A separate stand-alone player, or gaming rig with BD capabilities (like PS3), is a better option. Try to keep the HTPC for playing back your ripped collection. So if you are going to rip on a different PC, this one doesn't need a disc player at all. None of my HTPCs have a disc player.

You are going to want a second device anyway if you stream from Netflix or Amazon Prime.
I'll second that. I have a bluray drive in my primary HTPC, and I don't think I've ever used it. Better off with a stand alone player.

There's no remote in your list either. What are you planning to use to control your HTPC?

(TornadoTJ) That's what I intend to in the long run. I'm noticing myself that I have been renting Redbox more and more I figured why not rip it while I'm at it while DVD collection is piling up. I also intend in the long run to set up NAS so its a collection/save point. I'm actually proposing this idea to my dad since he saves so much stuff on his computer.

(ajrishock) What remote would you recommend?
 

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(ajrishock) What remote would you recommend?
Mostly a matter of personal preference and how you use your HTPC. I use logitech harmony 620's at both of my HTPC's. I also have diNovo mini's for occasional keyboard/mouse stuff. I've experimented with using phones & cheap tablets with unified remote, too. I like unified remote, but my wife won't touch it.

All of these have their strengths and weaknesses. The mini's are bluetooth and can't be used to power on a system, but they are useful for everyday control of the windows media center interface we use. The harmony's can power on a system if you have an IR receiver built into your case, and they can be programmed to control your TV and other devices if you have them.

If you're using an HTPC primarily for live TV, and if others are using it for the same reason, it might be best to stick with a traditional remote like this one.
 

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Mostly a matter of personal preference and how you use your HTPC. I use logitech harmony 620's at both of my HTPC's. I also have diNovo mini's for occasional keyboard/mouse stuff. I've experimented with using phones & cheap tablets with unified remote, too. I like unified remote, but my wife won't touch it.
Ah. Well I have actually have been thinking about this build. I may plan to take out 1TB and put it to my Big PC as collection point and make my HTPC built for live tv with network Tuner. I might as well do that way and do it with remote. Can't watch a TV without remote.
 

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You probably want to search for cablecard tuner rather than adapter

There are three variants from Ceton (USB, PCIe, and Ethernet) and there is a 3-tuner model from Silicondust called the HDHomerun Prime (ethernet). I'd recommend the Prime if you think you'll have more than one networked HTPC. However, if you are going to use mostly just Live TV / DVR and run extenders like the Echo or x360 then the 6 tuner Ceton models are better bang for your buck. They just aren't as good at tuner pooling as the Prime, plus the prime has dlna sharing if that is of any interest (not much use for cable tv since it requires dtcp-ip, but it may eventually be used for android or it may amount to nothing)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You probably want to search for cablecard tuner rather than adapter

There are three variants from Ceton (USB, PCIe, and Ethernet) and there is a 3-tuner model from Silicondust called the HDHomerun Prime (ethernet). I'd recommend the Prime if you think you'll have more than one networked HTPC. However, if you are going to use mostly just Live TV / DVR and run extenders like the Echo or x360 then the 6 tuner Ceton models are better bang for your buck. They just aren't as good at tuner pooling as the Prime, plus the prime has dlna sharing if that is of any interest (not much use for cable tv since it requires dtcp-ip, but it may eventually be used for android or it may amount to nothing)

HDHomerun actually sold me. It would be nice for to be able to stream to phone for guests with babies. That would be more convenient than CableCARD Tuner PCIe.
 

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For remotes, I recommend something universal so you can also control your TV with the same remote. Harmony is a good choice. But something cheaper will work just as well, like this $3 one from ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-C...E-UNIVERSAL-REMOTE-Free-Shipping/281568464231

It does activity macros like Harmony, and you can assign any function from any device to any button or shifted button. It will work with any genuine MCE/RC6 dongle out of the box, but not with the Ortek dongle in aj's post (it's not really MCE). You'd need to add an $8 programming cable to be able to control that one, but could then program it from a PC like Harmony. The Ortek also has a few quirks some find objectionable, like Play will not display the timeline during playback, and the extended set of MCE commands is not available. The Ortek Info command also works in a weird way, as a right click.

The Inteset INT-422 is a great little universal remote too, and includes a dongle, but appears to be out of stock most places at the moment. Seems it's too popular for its own good.

My favorite, also extremely cheap, at under $25 on ebay, is the Xsight Color. Functionally, it falls in between the Harmony 650 and Harmony One, having 15 devices, LCD, backlight, activities and favorites. I have about 6 Xsight Colors myself.

My favorite Harmonys at the moment are the 650 and 700. Refurbs are quite cheap, starting at around $40. The 620 is a very old model you're unlikely to find anywhere. It has some limitations, like 5 step sequences, that later models don't have.
 

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My favorite Harmonys at the moment are the 650 and 700. Refurbs are quite cheap, starting at around $40. The 620 is a very old model you're unlikely to find anywhere. It has some limitations, like 5 step sequences, that later models don't have.
How do you like those 700's for HTPC control? Do they work with iMon IR receivers? I looked at those as replacements for my 620's. Any shortcomings? Would I be better off picking up the harmony one?
 

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How do you like those 700's for HTPC control? Do they work with iMon IR receivers? I looked at those as replacements for my 620's. Any shortcomings? Would I be better off picking up the harmony one?
Works pretty much exactly the same as the 620 and other wand shaped Harmonys. Never tried iMon, but all Harmony codes come from the same database, so should be just as bad (or good) as your 620. iMon is very unreliable according to what I've read. No remote can fix that.

Nicest thing about the 700 is the rechargeable battery. Coming from the 620, you gain a color display, but lose 4 devices. The 700's layout is also better, IMO. The 650 is the same as the 700 minus the rechargeable battery. Only other shortcoming I can think of is only 4 LCD functions per page. At 15 devices and 6 functions per page on a much bigger LCD, the Xsight Color is a lot more remote for a lot less money, and feels a lot more like a One, if that's your preference.

I can't think of any good reason to buy a Harmony One today besides nostalgia. They're limited to 5 step sequences, have no colored buttons, are big, bulky fingerprint magnets, have battery issues, are overpriced and it's nearly impossible to find new old stock. Great remotes in their day, no doubt, but things have changed. Unless you find a really fantastic deal, I'd pass.
 

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HDHomerun actually sold me. It would be nice for to be able to stream to phone for guests with babies. That would be more convenient than CableCARD Tuner PCIe.
Yeah there is an android app called hdhomerun view. I've never used that to date, but I would guess it can tune a channel on a newer smartphone with a decent router
 

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How do you like those 700's for HTPC control? Do they work with iMon IR receivers? I looked at those as replacements for my 620's. Any shortcomings? Would I be better off picking up the harmony one?
I've been using an H700 for several years. Started using it as a WMC remote a couple of years ago. It works fine with a MCE IR receiver. The charging/programming port (USB) is a bit finicky and mine broke after several years, but the remote still works. I just have to use regular batteries, and I can't tinker with the commands anymore. Since it still works for what I do, I haven't replaced it yet.
 
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