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So I have been trying to add some additional components to my HT. I currently have a Pioneer's BDP-05 Blu Ray player to go along with their VSX-52 A/V. I subscribe to FIOS and I have an XBOX 360 w/ Kinect. The whole HTPC movement interested me at first because I was interested in being able to surf the web on my HT screen, but when I started paying closer attention to what HTPC is, I noticed that a significant aspect of HTPC is also to lower the number of components that you have in your system.


Finally as far was surfing the web is concerned, I just realized that coming this fall, Microsoft will be releasing a XBOX verision of internet explorer. So based on what I have and what an HTPC can do, is there any great benefit for me to setout on building one? Thanks for your assistance?
 

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The primary reason nowadays to have a HTPC is store your media i.e. movies, music, TV shows, photos etc. A PC allows you to install custom software and use a unique UI to browse and play your media.

Additional benefits of course is viewing online content. Anything that you can play on a PC is now available on a TV without the need for a 'smart' device.


Also, plenty of users devote their HTPCs to DVR duty. By installing a cable tuner device in the HTPC you can turn your HTPC into a cable set top box + a DVR with vast amounts of storage.


Look into cablecard tuners; don't know what FIOS uses.


If you wish to accomplish the above goals, an HTPC is for you. It takes some doing and a lot of time and effort to set up an HTPC the way you want it to work. It is a fulfilling, albeit frustrating hobby.
 

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I use an htpc because I think it is cool to only have one singular launch point for all my media.


Windows Media Center distributes my movie collection, CDs, FM radio, live tv, and previously recorded programs in my home. That is great for keeping the number of remotes down and not having to worry about how many inputs you have and which one your tv is set to.


You have to define what exactly your goal is. The way I see it generally is that no box on the market can play all video codecs and containers like a PC. A PC also has access to way more internet video than any consumer electronic device. But I think the quality of streaming services on CE boxes is higher - such as Vudu HDX and Netflix 1080p and 5.1 sound.
 

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I doubt in your setup you would be getting rid of any devices other than possibly your DVR. BluRay discs are better played on a standalone device IMO unless you want to rip them to a media library which is really what the point of a HTPC is. Depending on your current setup, replacing the DVR could pay for itself relatively quickly. The costs will be something like:


Base computer: $300

Addl HDDs: $200 (for 4TB at $50/TB)

CableCARD tuner: $150 (I recommend the HDHomeRun Prime, network tuner)

Extenders for addl TVs: ??? (you have 1 XBox already, Ceton Echo could be ~$150 probably)


In the end you would have a central repository for ripped and home movies, recorded TV, music, pictures, internet and web content, gaming etc etc. You could have the ability to pause on one TV and resume on another, stream content externally and do all sorts of other cool stuff.


Lastly I think a point that many overlook is that if you are into computers and gadgets, its quite fun to figure everything out and set it all up! Before you commit though, buy Assassin's paid guides - they will save a ton of time and headache and will give you a better idea of the stuff you can do with HTPC.
 
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