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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I'm new to this forum... and to HT in general.

Here is what I already have:

- 28" XBR Sony with one S-Video and 2 composite inputs (and small sub that came with the TV)

- Digital cable set-top box (connected through S-Video)

- 2 VHS Hi-Fi VCRs (connected through composite video)

- Denon stereo amp with AM/FM tuner

- Denon 5-CD player

- 2 speakers

- Cable high-speed internet access

As you can see, it's a typical stereo setup without DVD player. I don't plan on upgrading the TV or the sound system in the next 24 months. When I do, it will be for a HD setup for sure.

Around September timeframe, I would like to add an HTPC that will do the following:

- Play DVD

- Record programs from both the digital and analog cable (simultaneously?)

- Play games (Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones...)

- Record one or two programs while I play or watch a DVD/pre-recorded file

- Picture-in-picture of the various inputs would be nice

My choices are:

- PC that does all of that

- X-Box or PS2 to play games and DVD and continue using my VCR for recording.

Here are the questions:

- If I go the PC route, do I need a separate one capture/tuner PCI card per video input and an AGP 3D card for gaming and display or are the ATI AIW cards enough?

- Which OS? Win 2000 or XP?

- What about the sound card?

- Does this sound right: 2GHz P4, 512M RAM, Asus MB, 120G HD, DVD-ROM, sound card, quiet case

- Having 2 VCRs and the set-top box, I got used to the fact that I can use all of them simultaneously. Is it the same with an HTPC?

- What about price? Is this overkill for a 13-year old TV that works great? Would I be better with an X-Box/PS2?

Thanks for killing a couple of brain cells on this one.


826 Posts
Wait 'til you get your HDTV before venturing into HTPCs. Apart from the PVR functionality, you will not notice any PQ improvements by virtue of your display.

In fact you may notice some degredation.

Since you're are asking, I assume that you've not setup a HTPC before. IMO, the payoff for the effort required to setup one (plus the constant tweaking needed) is the vastly improved picture that you'll get on a high res. display.

Go with the Xbox for gaming and DVD playback.
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