I can't promise Netflix (don't use it but from what I read it has its own set of issues), but I put a $30 HIS Radeon 5450 in an old Dell Pentium D Optiplex and it works just fine for streaming Amazon VOD, ESPN3, Hulu, Crackle, etc. It's hooked up by HDMI to a Yamaha AV Receiver, and then to a Pioneer Elite Plasma. The 3.0 ghz Pentium D is a little better CPU than the P4, but not much, and I doubt enough to make any difference.
Does your old Dell have a PCIE slot for a video card?
I have two old Dells (Dimension 3000 and a 3100). I tried to put a video card in the 3100 but I couldn't find one that would work. BTW, the 3000 was PCI only and I did get a card to work in it. But the 3100 only has a PCIe-x1 slot, and none of the video cards I found for x1 slot would work (blue screened) some of the reviewers on NewEgg say they got the card to work but some said it didn't work and that the Dell PCIe slot(s) are not designed for Video cards. So before you get too far along, find out if there is even a card that will work.
just looked...no pci-e slots, so not worth using...
I can typically scrounge up parts pretty cheap/easy (OS, memory, power supply, case)
How about a card like this for $35 in a cheap built pc?
PowerColor Go! Green AX5450 512MK3-SH Radeon HD 5450 (Cedar) 512MB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card.
Will it do true hd and 720p? I have an Onkyo st606 and 50 inch 720p plasma and for now care mostly about internet tv...already have a stand alone blu ray (fairly crappy though) and SD dvr that records OTA (starting to possible me give issues).
I'm hoping to get a decent video card now for internet tv use and then upgrade in a few months to a decent htpc system.
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