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Discussion Starter #1
Background:


I'm in the process of upgrading my entire home A/V set-up. Right now, I have a 5-6 year old non-HDTV Sony WEGA, DENON 5.1 receiver, Series 1 TiVo, Home Theatre Master MX-800 remote, and a Panny non-progressive DVD player. I've been sitting on my hands for more than two years waiting to upgrade to HDTV because I have had problems with most iterations of HDTV -- CRT too big and too little WOW factor, generally hate LCD, can't deal with the vertical viewing angle issues of DLP, no room yet for front projection, and plasmas were too expensive. With the recent price drop in plasma TV prices, however, I will be ordering a 50" plasma TV (Pio 5050, Panny PX500, etc.) before football season (within the next month). Once I do, I will be looking to upgrade the rest of my A/V setup as necessary.

The Issue:


In a decidedly uncooperative fashion, however, my current home PC, a 6-year-old Dell, has all but given up the ghost. I'm due for an upgrade anyway. What I'm trying to determine as I configure the new PC is whether to incorporate the new PC into the home theater AT ALL and, if so, which HT functionalities to use the PC for.

Criteria


In deciding what HT functionalities, if any, to use the PC for, I think it's important to point out my criteria. I am only looking to incorporate those HT functionalities that can be done:


1) Seamlessly - This is, by far, the most important. By seamlessly, I mean that, once I put in the time to properly configure an HT functionality on the PC, it will thereafter function as if it were a standalone component -- remote controllable, no constant tweaking necessary, etc. Many of the folks who frequent this forum welcome the constant tweaking and fixing that goes along with some HTPC functionalities. I am looking for exactly the opposite. I already have a powerful universal remote, and am happy to buy the software (Girder, etc.) and hardware (IRMan, etc.) necessary if the end result is that the PC functions as seamlessly as a standalone component.

2) Cost-effectively - One of the main attractions to using the PC in my HT setup is the potential for saving money by not paying for duplicate functionality. I need to build a new PC anyway, so why go out and also buy a standalone, upscaling, progressive scan DVD player if I can get that same functionality out of my PC?

3) Perform at least as well as a corresponding standalone component - This is pretty obvious.


My present plan for the PC is as follows:


Processor: AMD 64 3500+

Mobo: MSI Nforce4 Ultra (non-SLI)

Video Card: ATI X800XL or Nvidia 6600GT

Memory: 1G of cheapest PC-3200 I can find

Storage: Raptor 36.7 for boot drive and programs; separate, larger Barracuda for data

+ case, DVD drive, power supply, and cooling as necessary.

Based on my criteria and my anticipated set-up, what, if any, functionalities should I use my PC for in my HT setup? I have some extra budget, so if there's something that meets my criteria that I can incorporate into the PC by buying extra components (OTA HDTV, DVR, etc.), I'm all ears.


Your insights, if you've read this far, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedd
What I'm trying to determine as I configure the new PC is whether to incorporate the new PC into the home theater AT ALL and, if so, which HT functionalities to use the PC for.


1) Seamlessly - This is, by far, the most important. By seamlessly, I mean that, once I put in the time to properly configure an HT functionality on the PC, it will thereafter function as if it were a standalone component -- remote controllable, no constant tweaking necessary, etc.

Based on my criteria and my anticipated set-up, what, if any, functionalities should I use my PC for in my HT setup? I have some extra budget, so if there's something that meets my criteria that I can incorporate into the PC by buying extra components (OTA HDTV, DVR, etc.), I'm all ears.
My first thought is no.


Why? Because you're trying to mix an HTPC with a desktop PC. That is not a good combo. Standalone equipment functions "seamlessly" because it was built and tested, for specific functionality. That is why the are stable and reliable. A properly configured HTPC is the same way, if built and tested for specific usage, it will be "seamless".


The problem arises when you go outside that "designed and tested" functionality. especially when you start doing "PC" stuff on it. Most usage of PCs is inherently not uniform, you run this or that app, install this, copy that. It's when you do all that that you run into problems.


Is it possible to do what you want, probably, but you'll have to be very determined and very dilligent with your usage to ensure that a dual-use PC meets the seemless goal.


My answer, is yes it is worthwhile and possible to build an HTPC, but it really needs to be a dedicated HTPC to get the kind of results you want. If you want it to act like an appliance, you must treat it like one. If you treat it like a PC, it will act "like a PC".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedd
My present plan for the PC is as follows:


Processor: AMD 64 3500+

Mobo: MSI Nforce4 Ultra (non-SLI)

Video Card: ATI X800XL or Nvidia 6600GT

Memory: 1G of cheapest PC-3200 I can find

Storage: Raptor 36.7 for boot drive and programs; separate, larger Barracuda for data

+ case, DVD drive, power supply, and cooling as necessary.
Some comments:

Personally I'd go with an Abit motherboard or second choice a Asus, I'm 0 for 2 with MSI boards, but it's a sample of 1 kind of thing.


Memory: Going the cheapest is a bad idea IMO, good memory is not expensive, you can get 1GB of Corsair XMS for about $130.


Storage: For an HTPC, a Raptor is the last thing you want, if possible the ideal solution is something like a laptop HDD to boot run apps off, and have the rest of the storage in another room.


If you're going the HTPC route, pick the components carefully, research which ones are relialble and which ones are quiet, some examples:

CPU - Athlon 64s run cooler than Prescotts hence they are quieter to cool, but get an aftermarket cooler, like a Zalman 7000AlCu

Video Card - Go passive if at all possible, eg Gigabyte Geforce 6800 or 6600.

Storage - Laptop drives are cool and near silent.

PSU - Go Passive, an Antec Phantom is an awesome PSU.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Stanger -


Thanks for the thoughtful replies. The problem with building a dedicated HTPC at this point (given that I need a regular home PC as well) is that it obviates much of the cost benefit of getting double use out of the PC. For what it appears to cost to build a decent dedicated HTPC, I could probably buy the standalone components I'll need (chiefly an HD DVR and an upscaling DVD player) and be guaranteed the seamlessness I seek. The HTPC certainly has benefits, however, that standalone components can't provide cost-effectively (like allowing me to burn, store and catalog my CD collection and view it onscreen).


I do have a brand new laptop from work that I can use for many typical home PC functions. I plan to wirelessly network it with the new home PC (I already have the hardware, I just haven't set up the network because I know I'll be replacing my home PC). Thus, I could use the laptop much of the time, freeing up the home PC to act much more like a dedicated HTPC.


What I'm trying to do with the new plasma is use it as a giant PC monitor to watch video and slideshows of my soon-to-be-born son, plus piggyback any HTPC functions that make sense. It sounds from what you're saying, however, that, with the exception of using the plasma for my monitor, I should essentially leave the PC out of the HT equation if I want my Ht to function seamlessly.


Thanks again.
 

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Lots of pros/cons, and varying opinions. This question is asked fairly often, so you may want to do a little searching for even more responses than you will get in this thread.


I'll provide my thoughts.


First, a little background for what I wanted:

I do like to work with PC, but due to WAF (wife acceptance factor) I wanted to achieve pretty much what you want. While I am sure there are plenty of people here that will probably say you can do that, if you strictly mean STB type functionality, leave it alone, I don't think that's really possible. (I'm sure there will be disagreement on that.)


I started out going a fairly extreme path...read too much here. I tried to find what was recommended the most, and go that route. I ended up getting a MyHD card, and an xCard. (xCard doesn't appear to be in favor any more, and I got rid of mine some time ago).


I put music on it, with J River media.


I purchased a tablet PC (albeit a fairly slow 800MHZ Viewsonic 1100); implemented Cinemar's Mainlobby suite; purchased an HTM800 remote; tried dScaler with the xCard; tried various DVD packages, including TheaterTek, Zoom Player, and uh...I forgot the name of the other one.


Without going into a lot of detail about all the effort etc, this is where I am:


I ditched dScaler, and sold the xCard. (Many really think that dScaler, and FFDshow in particular, are almost necessary to 'tweak' for the absolute best picture.)


I sold the tablet PC, and use just the remote. (It was cool, but having to mess with a tablet for day to day use wasn't all that practical.)


I still have my MyHD card, but don't use it too much any more. I purchased a 942 DVR from Dish Network and do my OTA (over the air) HD and occasional Dish HD recording, along with my SD recording on it. The MyHD has excellent picture quality, and relatively easy to use, but if you are used to Tivo, you will be disappointed. Some really like Microsofts Media Center edition, and the ATI HD Wonder, but I still think you will end up with occasional problems. No personal experience with them.


I use TheaterTek 2.1 for DVD through teh HTPC, and I really like it. If I were purchasing today, I may opt for a good progressive upscaling DVD player.


But, I absolutely love the HTPC for my music. I have all of my CDs ripped to it and play through SPD/IF to my Onkyo. I have both NetRemote and the PPC version of Music Lobby on a Compaq iPaq for choosing music. I have also used Girder, and have buttons on my remote that I can push a single button to launch different genre's of music to play. This functionality is worth it for me.


The remote, along with Girder, can facilitate a lot of the needs of 'making it simple', but it occasionally skips a beat. (Maybe a particular IR signal doesn't get there, or point it wrong or whatever).


I do enjoy showing off to the occasional visitor, using the HTPC to select a DVD movie from (DVD Lobby from the Main Lobby suite), have it auto dim my lights, play an intro movie of Welcome to Ewing's Home Theater, launch the movie and skip intros (with AnyDVD installed this facilitates that), and bringing up the wall sconces real dim.


From a TV perspective, the 942 DVR made my life a lot simpler.
 

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Everyone else was writing at same time as me. Some of my comments on those posts:


I agree with Stranger89. It should be pretty much dedicated.


Of course, the pictures and videos you mention is definitely part of the use of a HTPC in my view. I didn't even think about that, but I do the same thing. Mostly videos. (I even take my pictures and bring them into a slide show with music and burn to DVD files (but I do that on another computer), so that's how I 'show picures' on the HTPC).


I do use it as a PC some: ie. browsing some, when my wife and I both are on a topic we may search out on the Internet; check out what movies are on at the show, and play trailers, etc.


But I don't use it for VPN to work, Quicken, capturing video, burning DVDs, writing my Word documents or Excel, or any other PC type of work. The browsing could be problematic. Some people make it so 'stand alone' that they don't put it on a network that can get to the Internet, and don't install Virus Software. I don't fall in that camp.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great insights, Roger. Thanks.


Both your and Stanger's replies have stressed the need to make the HTPC as dedicated as possible. Given that both my wife and I have work laptops, we can easily restrict how much the HTPC would be used for non-HT PC functions. I can't imagine that it would be much fun to type a Microsoft Word document on a 50" plasma from 10ft away, anyway. Then again, I've never seen what the text would like like in that scenario. With the wireless network set up, we can do all the personal stuff (Quicken, Word, etc.) on our work laptops and then simply store the result on the home PC over the network.


In any event, much of what I use my home PC for now is web surfing. I can use my laptop for much of that -- and currently do since my home PC is almost dead. Nevertheless, I would probably like to be able to surf the web from the HTPC. Frequently as my wife and I watch movies, we'll see an actor whose name we can't remember, pause the movie, and run to the PC to look it up on IMDB. If the HTPC is my only home PC, my choices at that point would be to pause the movie and use the HTPC to surf or boot up the laptop and use that to surf. The former seems much quicker than the latter.


Copious reading of this forum has taught me that DVR through HTPC is not yet at a point that is going to meet my criteria, so I certainly agree with your TiVo statement. Using the HTPC to tune OTA HDTV (or SDTV) is probably more trouble than it's worth as well, when I can just get an HD DVR STB from my cab;e or satellite provider. I'm mainly concerned with DVD playback, audio storage and playback (i.e. burning my CD collection to HDD and using a front end to sort it and play it back), slideshows and video. I feel like I'm forgetting something...


I want to stress that I love tinkering. I just want my tinkering to eventually result in a setup that is user friendly for people other than myself. To be honest, I'm also looking for the WOW factor from visitors, and having to tweak 17 things before I can get a DVD to play back properly isn't going to impress many folks (at least the NORMAL folks who don't spend hours a week on AVSForum).


Thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedd
Great insights, Roger. Thanks.


Both your and Stanger's replies have stressed the need to make the HTPC as dedicated as possible. Given that both my wife and I have work laptops, we can easily restrict how much the HTPC would be used for non-HT PC functions. I can't imagine that it would be much fun to type a Microsoft Word document on a 50" plasma from 10ft away, anyway. Then again, I've never seen what the text would like like in that scenario. With the wireless network set up, we can do all the personal stuff (Quicken, Word, etc.) on our work laptops and then simply store the result on the home PC over the network.
I suppose I should say that most of my recommendation in making it "dedicated" is in being careful what you do with it. Being diligent in what you install and such. I surf a bit on my HTPC, and would call it dedicated. If you've got laptops that you can "work" on then, I'd say you're a candidate for an HTPC.

Quote:
In any event, much of what I use my home PC for now is web surfing. I can use my laptop for much of that -- and currently do since my home PC is almost dead. Nevertheless, I would probably like to be able to surf the web from the HTPC. Frequently as my wife and I watch movies, we'll see an actor whose name we can't remember, pause the movie, and run to the PC to look it up on IMDB. If the HTPC is my only home PC, my choices at that point would be to pause the movie and use the HTPC to surf or boot up the laptop and use that to surf. The former seems much quicker than the latter.


Copious reading of this forum has taught me that DVR through HTPC is not yet at a point that is going to meet my criteria, so I certainly agree with your TiVo statement. Using the HTPC to tune OTA HDTV (or SDTV) is probably more trouble than it's worth as well, when I can just get an HD DVR STB from my cab;e or satellite provider. I'm mainly concerned with DVD playback, audio storage and playback (i.e. burning my CD collection to HDD and using a front end to sort it and play it back), slideshows and video. I feel like I'm forgetting something...
You should really take a look again, there have been a few large (won't go so far as major) developments lately, specifically the latest SageTV beta supporting HD recording, and I hear BeyondTV will sometime soon as well. This will work well for OTA. And the signs are lining up that we'll see (at least unencrypted) digital HD cable recording soon.

Quote:
I want to stress that I love tinkering. I just want my tinkering to eventually result in a setup that is user friendly for people other than myself. To be honest, I'm also looking for the WOW factor from visitors, and having to tweak 17 things before I can get a DVD to play back properly isn't going to impress many folks (at least the NORMAL folks who don't spend hours a week on AVSForum).
You're definitely a candidate then. My experience has been that tinkering is something I do, when I want to. If I leave it alone it's happy. I will make a suggestion though:
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing...cts/trueimage/


Make an image before you go on a tweakfest :D Then you can go back quickly if you break something.
 

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For me, my PC is about 50/50 split, maybe even higher on the "PC" side. I really have to do very little to maintain the htpc funtionality of it. My wife did something to it last week that made me have to redo my entire front end, but as a side benefit, the new xlobby Simplicity that I had to install is much more functional and "nicer" than the previous version I had installed. As far as funtionality and seamlessness, I press on the xlobby quicklaunch button and that's it. Everything is remote driven, and very tight. I do everything I would normally do on a PC on the machine, edit video and pictures, play some games (very few, but my wife wants me to incorporate a few emulators like old-school nes, sega, etc games onto the bigscreen). I burn music CDs, surf the internet, chat, pretty much anything you would normally do on a PC, and very rarely does it affect the HTPC side of things. If something breaks, you just gotta fix it, that's all.


Starting out, it will take a lot of time and effort to get things just right, that's where the tweaking comes in. After you have learned what you are doing, and done things like install new codecs, change timings, add resolutions, etc a few times, it is really not difficult at all. After setting mine up a few times, even if I had a catastrophic system crash, like I nearly did last week, I could have all of the software downloaded, re-installed and setup to the state its in now in under a hour. I haven't had to do any tweaking in about a year. It's user friendly enough that my wife can start up the front end and be listening to music, watching upscaled pixel perfect movies, look at pictures/slideshows, check the weather forcast, etc with the press of a button.


For shear simplicity, spend the money and get separate components. If you want total control, amazing functionality, breath-taking picture quality for as little cash as possible, set up your computer as an HTPC.


If I could, I would probably build a completely dedicated HTPC, just so I would never have to do anything to it, but as it is, I barely have to do anything to it, and I can also use it as a regular PC. Dedication is nice, but not entirely necessary, as long as you know a little more than the basics about computers. If you are comfortable removing viruses and spyware, and looking around in the registry, you will be good to go with anything you will have to do. If you are just comfortable working inside programs like word, doing a little internet surfing and playing the occasional solitare game, then HTPCs may be too much work for ya.


So, HTPCs to not have to be completely dedicated to be seamless and virtually problem free. If you want them to be completely problem free and zero maintenance, you will likely be disappointed.
 

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I should also mention that yes, you do have to be a little diligent about what you do on the computer, but that goes the same for any computer. I would judge just by the way you are talking that you are a few steps above the guy who goes to a porn website and starts clicking on the banner ads and popups. Basic common sense will keep things running smooth. I should also mention that I first set up the PC for strictly upscaling DVDs put into the drive. The computer was in the next room, so I would have to go to the PC, put in the dvd, start up the software player, use keyboard shortcuts to play, then run back to the other room. If I wanted to pause, I would have to run to the other room and press a button. That sucked. But the picture quality was more than worth the effort, and that was what was impressed on people who came over. It's definitely a lot cooler to have everything remote driven, and all wrapped up with a front end like xlobby. Check it out, its a freeware HTPC front end that will do absolutely anything you want it to. http://www.xlobby.com/screenshots
 

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I've been watching this geat thread and have a simpler question. Given the same requirement of "seamless", but wanting ONLY audio and video recording from external inputs, audio jukebox (like WMP10) selection on a PC, and some web browsing (eg for IMDB movie reviews) on a SONY 65" HD RPTV, with component inputs, what would you recommend? I've already decided that OTA tuners, PVR, DVD playing, daily office PC, and gaming belong on separate dedicated boxes for now.


Thanks,


Steve
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedd
Background:


1) Seamlessly
What does that word mean in regard to a HTPC?


I don't think we are there yet.
 

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BiggRedd-


You might want to read:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=564969


The thread has posts from people who have left the HTPC fold, and those returning or continuing their HTPC projects.


As I posted in that thread, I have come full circle, starting in the prehistoric days of HTPC, before the turn of the century, in the last millenium ;).


Around 2002, I switched most DVD viewing on my front projector to a Panasonic RP82 set top progressive scan player, waiting for XP to stabilize and get a service pack or two.


In summer 2004, I began building my first XP Pro SP1 machines. In the fall of 2004, I built my first "modern" HTPC- a socket 754 A64 3200 with AIW 9800 Pro and 1GB DDR3200.


I have not looked back since.


I sold that machine, and now use a socket 939 motherboard with matching 90nm A64.


One big benefit I see is the ease of updating codecs. I had been frustrated buying/selling DVD players to get the right BIOs level or codec support, then chasing firmware updates for the Cyberhomes/Apex's, etc of the world to make them play the video files I had. It doesn't matter if the manufacturer is a big name or lower tiered brand- all DVD set tops have issues withone or all of the following: PAL playback, region codes, SVCD playback, MPEG4 playback etc, etc.


Functions of my MediaPC's:


Playback/fileserving/converison of any video file format/codec known to exist for consumer PC's.


Playback / fileserving of audio sources (CD's, MP3's, etc)


Record, timeshift, archive of SD analog cable TV with Titantv one click grid record scheduling (Hauppaugge PVR 150 cards)


Record, timeshift, archive of HD OTA TV with one click grid record scheduling Titantv (myHD MDP120)


Archiving with SL/DL DVD+/-R media


Authoring DVD's of recorded video we want to keep, removing commercial while authoring


Playback and fileserving DVD's, scaled to display resolution (1280x720 or 1360x768)


Web browsing from the LayZboy and IR keyboard while watching TV.

(->email, IM, news, weather.com, avsforum, slashdot, imdb, the onion, etc)


Classic gaming emulation in the den


Current PC gaming occasionally in den or basement theater


Party games like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Outburst, Family Feud, you Don't Know Jack, etc, in the theater (seating for 16 people with theater seats- feels like a gameshow studio).


Odd things like Google Earth, etc.


A diligently built XP Pro media PC, with current critical and security updates applied and judicious tweaks like disabling automatic network shortcuts to vastly improve network browsing speed, is ready for any den or living room whose owners have been using Windows based PCs for many years.


Like earlier posters recommended, a disk imaging program is a must, such as Norton Ghost or the Acronis TrueImage programs. The idea is to take the time to carefully install and tweak the OS, media apps, codecs, and drivers then image the drive as a backup in case something goes wrong in the months following the install.


Also, another critical factor is being aware of fundamental security issues like NEVER using Internet Explorer- use Mozilla instead.


I have made do with the stock WinXp Classic desktop, since my non-techie wife knows how to select and navigate the stock WIn GUI as it is. I just put shortcut icons to the most used apps on the desktop. Airboard IR keyboards sit permanently in the basement theater and the den.


Unlike many here I don't believe the theory that you require a "10 foot GUI" (i.e. set top like user interface a la MCE, BeyondTV, SageTV, etc) to make a HTPC useful to non-techies. Non-techies who have used PC's for years are already trained in standard Win Gui practices and behaviors. Of course, this is assuming that your display devices can accept and display high enough PC resolutions in order to look and act like a PC desktop, like a true 800x600 or preferably higher. The current crop of larger plasmas, LCD panels, and rear projection DLP/LCD displays can all do this.


And using the stock Win GUI doesn't mean umpteen tweaks whenever you want to do something. Just set up each app's settings *once*. Then, each app icon on the desktop is simply pointing to a virtual device- Theatertek or PowerDVD is the "DVD Player", Winamp/foobar/dbAmp is the "Stereo" for music, the WinTV PVR icon is the "VCR", and so on. This isn't rocket science for any non-techie user who has used a Win PC before.


I do plan to program a JP1 or Pronto remote with Airboard IR keystrokes, and give the desktop media app icons keyboard shortcuts, to enable one button push on a remote to start each media app. Then, the IR keystrokes for each apps controls will be programmed into the function keys for that "device" (i.e. DVD mode for PowerDVD or Theatertek, CD mode key for WinAmp, etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb
A diligently built XP Pro media PC, with current critical and security updates applied and judicious tweaks like disabling automatic network shortcuts to vastly improve network browsing speed, is ready for any den or living room whose owners have been using Windows based PCs for many years.
Rgb -


Thanks for the great link and the detailed response. Could you elaborate on the bolded part of the quote above? As of now, I use Firefox ALMOST exclusively. I still come across websites that will not load properly on Firefox, however, which require the occasional use of IE. Those instances are becoming fewer and farther between. Nevertheless, I'm intrigued by your advice quoted above. If it's possible to be more specific, what are the automatic network shortcuts that I should disable?


Thanks again for the help. My present plan is to connect the new PC to the TV and, at a minimum, use it for my entire audio collection and at least attempt all the tweaks necessary to use it as an upscaling DVD player. I'll also use it for photos and video (from a camcorder). I'll consider adding additional functionalities (OTA HD, DVR, etc.) as I make a determination of whether those functionalities are "user friendly" enough to run over the PC. From what Stanger said, we may be approaching a point where the DVR capability, for example, meets my criteria.


Thanks again for your help.
 

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BigRedd-


See
http://www.ss64.com/nt/slow_browsing.html


for the slow network browse fix.


Basically, just set


HKCU\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Policies \\Explorer\\NoRecentDocsNetHood to 1


in your registry.


Makes a HUGE difference in Explorer speed or file selector dialogs when interrogating shared drives on peers or fileservers.


You should also do this:
http://www.tweakxp.com/article37107.aspx


Also, I added remote control comments in my last post.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedd
Rgb -


Thanks for the great link and the detailed response. Could you elaborate on the bolded part of the quote above? As of now, I use Firefox ALMOST exclusively. I still come across websites that will not load properly on Firefox, however, which require the occasional use of IE. Those instances are becoming fewer and farther between. Nevertheless, I'm intrigued by your advice quoted above. If it's possible to be more specific, what are the automatic network shortcuts that I should disable?


Thanks again for the help. My present plan is to connect the new PC to the TV and, at a minimum, use it for my entire audio collection and at least attempt all the tweaks necessary to use it as an upscaling DVD player. I'll also use it for photos and video (from a camcorder). I'll consider adding additional functionalities (OTA HD, DVR, etc.) as I make a determination of whether those functionalities are "user friendly" enough to run over the PC. From what Stanger said, we may be approaching a point where the DVR capability, for example, meets my criteria.


Thanks again for your help.


After watching this forum for the last year I'm reluctant to go the HTPC route, and I have some experience building my own PC. Maybe that's why I don't want to get into the HTPC thing? It's bad enough getting regular hardware to work properly with all the driver upgrades and incompatibilities. I can't imagine the nightmare with trying to make so much disperate high-end hardward play nice.


From where I'm sitting it would appear that folks with more experience than me are often at wits end in trying to build such a machine. For video in the near term I'm going with dedicated equipment. I will stay PC based for my audio however. I'm thinking of using one of the SlimDevices to distribute audio off the PC. At this point in time it would appear that to go further than audio requires PC support skills and a time committment I'm not willing to accept.


Enjoy.
 
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