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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My old workhorse HTPC is still kicking, but its starting to show its age and I'm getting the itch to build/upgrade.

I've got a media server in the basement that runs SageTV for DVR(records fios TV) and has ripped movies and music. I have a Sage extender for the bedroom, and a custom build HTPC at my theater (more on that in a minute). Sage still performs wonderfully for recording all my TV, adequately for most movie watching. I rarely use it for listening to music and instead pefer a combination of mediamonkey for my local library, pandora, spotify and xbox music.

The HTPC was originally built in an origin X11 case back in 2005, but underwent a large upgrade in 2007 to support bluray playback. Aside from updating the video card about two years ago for 3d-video playback, its still running with the old intel P35 mobo, core 2 duo E4500 and 2 gb of ram from 2007. Although the case still looks classy, its MUCH bigger than I need and I'm tired of it. Finally, and maybe most importantly, the HTPC has a noisy old hdd running the operating system that my wife complains about (read: WAF excuse to upgrade HTPC).

What I want: A smaller, quieter HTPC system to use for watching recorded TV, movies, music, web streamed videos, skype, and occasionally web browsing. I expect to use a SSD since all the content will come from my server in the basement. I'd like to include a BD-ROM at the HTPC, even though I can't remember the last time I used it on the current HTPC. The WAF version of murphy's law states that as soon as I get rid of ability to insert a bluray or dvd disc into the HTPC directly, my wife will want to do it. Though rarely used, I also want to retain the ability to watch 3D content. I suppose now would be a good time to point out that this is going to be connected to a panasonic ST50 plasma TV, and I've got a denon AVR setup. I don't need a remote, mouse/keyboard, display, but I will need an IR receiver since it was built in on the X11 case.

Finally, one of the big reasons I've held off upgrading for so long is because of uncertainty in future of HTPC software and capability. By that I mean I'm still using SageTV--- a very good and still functional, but 'dead' product. My primary use of the HTPC by a wide margin is as a DVR with Sage. I'm sure its a matter of when (not if) Sage stops being functional as a DVR, I'm not sure what my alternatives are to fill that void, so I have been hesitant to upgrade.

I'm hoping that the good people at this forum might provide me with some ideas for the new HTPC hardware and perhaps help with what to consider for software: frontends that will provide similar or superior functionality to Sage.

There is one more related topic could use some help with. My wife and I just had our first child, and I'm clueless how people incorporate content for kids and segregate it from the adult content in an HTPC.

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