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Questions on new HTPC build

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CarlJohnson

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
In the near future I'm going to get a 1080p HDTV and want to run it with a HTPC. I'm coming from a 32"CRT with a plain DVD player. I have basic cable (channels 2-74) and broadband. I would like the HTPC to be able to DVR OTA HD channels and basic cable channels. Being able to record one show and watch another is a must. I also need to play blue-ray plus my DVDs. I'm going to be watching Hulu as well but don't need to record anything from there. I want to upgrade to 5.1 surround and would like the HTPC to serve as an amplifier if possible but will get a stand alone surround sound system if needed. I will be connecting a Wii to this system too. OS will be Win7 32bit. Here are the parts I have so far:
case
cpu
ram
mb
psu
hd
blue-ray player

I have found 2 tuners and don't know which one will be better.
this
or this

1. Which tuner will be the better choice for my intended use?
2. Can the HTPC serve as an amplifier for 5.1 sound or will it be better to get a separate system?
3. Is the Gigabyte board ok or will one with sideport memory be better?
4. Will windoze media center be ok or is there other software that is better/easier to use?
5. I want to run as few cables as possible up to the TV (one being HDMI). Is there any way to connect the Wii to the PC?
6. What will be the best way to connect everything to maximize quality and minimize the number of cables?(HTPC, TV, Wii, surround sound)
Thanks in advance for your help.
 
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CarlJohnson

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Ok after a day of searching and reading I narrowed down the tuners to the 1850 and changed the case to antec fusion. Now I'm trying to decide between 3 motherboards
gigabyte
msi
ecs
I'm looking for the best performing board for the $$$ and one with good support and reliability.
 

Neuromancer

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Location
Tau'ri
Antec fusion is a nice case... but here is the problem

80mm fans either move no air or are noisy, the speed select on them will be inside the case so the fan speed choice should be considered "permanent"

Low profile limits types of cards you can use

The case is really deep and not very wide. much the opposite of AV components so it will not blend well in an AV rack.




But for a starter outer on HTPC, it does come with a good 350W PSU and a free credit card remote.




Now to the nitty gritty. Dual channel tuners are nice... dual DIGITAL tuners... lets emphasize that part because there are very few. Most dual tuners are analog and digital. like the one you selected.

So in effect you are paying for something you are not getting. There is no more analog TV unless you want to hook up an old VCR or something to the PC...

Check silicondust.com for the lineup you can expect to get without a cable card tuner. Surprisingly for me... USA networks is encrypted on comcast. For me in South Jersey at least.

windows 7 is a must for cable clearQAM with MC, unless you google and find "TVpack for MC" which is ONLY available to OEMs.. (no warez discussion here) then Vista is straight up the better choice for an HTPC (IMHO)

windows 7 MC has made some improvements over Vista, nothing that cant be fixed though and some important (to me) features are broken in 7. For instance, I finish watching a recorded episode of Psych, I used to be able to hit the forward skip button and play to load up the next episode. No longer works in 7. Also the Zoom button is no longer keyed to the remote, which is important to me since I have a tuner and a clearQAM tuner. Zoom is essential for watching those 4:3 programs. Comcast ruined my TV in less than a week with their DTA settop box. Got a serious line down the side of it now *sigh

120mm fans cool better and run quieter. And you really will want more space than a single HDD slot. minimum of 3 is my suggestion. I modded my Lascala LC20 for better cooling and reduced the HDDs from 6 to 3 and did 2x120mm in the front. I could probably get 4 (hard drives) in there if I had too, will probably jump to 2TB drives first though.

honestly get yourself a single tuner OTA (ATSC) if you get a decent range of channels in your area. ClearQAM if you live in the sticks and cable has not encrypted everything in your area yet.

CETON is coming out with a quad tuner cable card for $400.. I am hoping they will come out wit ha single or dual tuner setup shortly after that at much much less.
 

Wicked Klown

Hard *** Southern Boy Senior
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Antec fusion is a nice case... but here is the problem

80mm fans either move no air or are noisy, the speed select on them will be inside the case so the fan speed choice should be considered "permanent"

Low profile limits types of cards you can use

The case is really deep and not very wide. much the opposite of AV components so it will not blend well in an AV rack.




But for a starter outer on HTPC, it does come with a good 350W PSU and a free credit card remote.




Now to the nitty gritty. Dual channel tuners are nice... dual DIGITAL tuners... lets emphasize that part because there are very few. Most dual tuners are analog and digital. like the one you selected.

So in effect you are paying for something you are not getting. There is no more analog TV unless you want to hook up an old VCR or something to the PC...

Check silicondust.com for the lineup you can expect to get without a cable card tuner. Surprisingly for me... USA networks is encrypted on comcast. For me in South Jersey at least.

windows 7 is a must for cable clearQAM with MC, unless you google and find "TVpack for MC" which is ONLY available to OEMs.. (no warez discussion here) then Vista is straight up the better choice for an HTPC (IMHO)

windows 7 MC has made some improvements over Vista, nothing that cant be fixed though and some important (to me) features are broken in 7. For instance, I finish watching a recorded episode of Psych, I used to be able to hit the forward skip button and play to load up the next episode. No longer works in 7. Also the Zoom button is no longer keyed to the remote, which is important to me since I have a tuner and a clearQAM tuner. Zoom is essential for watching those 4:3 programs. Comcast ruined my TV in less than a week with their DTA settop box. Got a serious line down the side of it now *sigh

120mm fans cool better and run quieter. And you really will want more space than a single HDD slot. minimum of 3 is my suggestion. I modded my Lascala LC20 for better cooling and reduced the HDDs from 6 to 3 and did 2x120mm in the front. I could probably get 4 (hard drives) in there if I had too, will probably jump to 2TB drives first though.

honestly get yourself a single tuner OTA (ATSC) if you get a decent range of channels in your area. ClearQAM if you live in the sticks and cable has not encrypted everything in your area yet.

CETON is coming out with a quad tuner cable card for $400.. I am hoping they will come out wit ha single or dual tuner setup shortly after that at much much less.



Good points there, just remember the Antec uses 120mm fans.
 
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CarlJohnson

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Thanks for the advice neuro but I think you are thinking of this case. I looked at that one too but decided against it b/c of the low profile. I currently have my cable hooked directly to my old crt tv so I'm pretty sure it's still an analog signal. I only get channels 2-74 but that's all I need really. I'll probably go with the MSI board for the sideport memory. I used it in a PC for my mom in law and it has been rock solid.
 
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CarlJohnson

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Thanks for the link. So if I'm understanding it correctly I only need a clearQAM tuner to receive both HD local channels and analog cable channels? Forgive my newbness on this subject this will be my first HD tv. I want to be able to watch the HD local channels and the regular cable channels(USA, TBS, Discovery) with DVR capabilities.
 

glorp

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
OK. They should have the channels you listed above available still as clear QAM/analog AFAIK. Comcast is another story. You might want to see if you can find someone here or at TGB on T-W just to be sure but I would assume it's probable.
 

Spion

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Location
KC
The Hauppauge HVR-2250 you linked supports Analog/ATSC/ClearQAM on both tuners. Just in case you wanted a dual digital and analog tuner.
 

jstutman

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Digital+Analog

* AVerMedia AVerTV Combo G2 PCIe x1 Card (White Box or Media Center Upgrade Kit), $90.
* Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 PCIe x1 Card (White Box or MC Kit), $114.

Digital Only

* AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet PCIe x1 Card (White Box), $60.
* Silicondust HDHomeRun Networked Device, $149.

HD Capturing

* Hauppauge HD PVR model 1212 USB Device, $205.


Sound Card
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

This is purely optional. Necessary hardware for HD digital audio is provided by either the audio codec on a motherboard or the HDMI audio on a graphics card:

* Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams: The motherboard's coaxial or optical S/PDIF is enough. HDMI from AMD 785G chipset motherboards as well as all the solutions mentioned below also support them.
* Multichannel LPCM over HDMI: All the Radeon HD 4xxx/5xxx discrete graphics cards, GeForce 8200/8300/9300/9400 chipset motherboards, Intel G45 chipset motherboards, and Intel Core i5/i3 (Clarkdale) processor support it.
* Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams over HDMI: All the Radeon HD 5xxx graphics cards and Intel Core i5/i3 (Clarkdale) processor support them.

So you don't need a sound card unless you want:

* Good analog sound (coupled with a good amplifier);
* Support for EAX 5.0 in gaming (to output via analog, S/PDIF with Dolby Digital Live/DTS Interactive or HDMI)

Here are a list of a couple of recommended sound cards if you are in the above two cases:

* ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe PCIe x1 Card, $240. (Topnotch analog sound as well as HD audio bitstreaming with ArcSoft TotalMedia Theater.)
* Auzentech Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD PCIe x1 Card, $250. (EAX 5.0 support by an X-Fi audio chip; HD audio bitstreaming with a retail copy of CyberLink PowerDVD 9 Ultra.)


MCE Remote

A MCE remote is a (usually IR) remote control and a receiver to be attached to the HTPC (internally or externally via USB) that controls Windows Media Center and other front ends/media players at a distant place. Some HTPC cases and TV tuner cards come with a MCE remote. If not, you can buy one.

* Anyware GP-IR01BK Windows Vista MCE Remote Control External IR Receiver and Remote, $21.
* Antec Multimedia Station Basic Internal IR Receiver and Remote, $25.
* Antec Multimedia Station Elite Internal IR Receiver w/VFD and Remote, $59.


Two reccomendations, I just built that work.

* CPU: Athlon II X4 630 ADX630WFGIBOX 2.8GHz AM3, $99.
* CPU Cooler: Cooler Master 風神鍛 (Geminii S) RR-CCH-PBU1-GP, $32.
* Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G chipset microATX, $89. If you want USB 3.0, then choose GIGABYTE GA-785GMT-USB3 AM3 AMD 785G chipset microATX, $?.
* Memory: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB Kit, $105.
* Graphics Card (ATI): HIS H567Q512 Radeon HD 5670 GDDR5 512MB, $100. An alternative is Sapphire HD 5670 512GB GDDR5, $100.
* Graphics Card (NVIDIA): ASUS ENGT240/DI/512MD5/A GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 512MB, $100.
* HDD: Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GB SATA 3.0Gbps, $63.
* PSU: Corsair VX450W CMPSU-450VX 450W, $70. An alternative is Enermax ECO80+ 400W EES400AWT, $58.
* Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black microATX, with LCD/IR receiver/remote, $130.
* Total Cost: $688 for ATI, $688 for NVIDIA

Higher end
* CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition HDZ955FBGIBOX 3.2GHz AM3, $175.
* CPU Cooler: Cooler Master 風神鍛 (Geminii S) RR-CCH-PBU1-GP, $32.
* Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G chipset microATX, $89.
* Memory: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB Kit, $105.
* Graphics Card (ATI): HIS H575FN1GD iCooler IV Radeon HD 5750 GDDR5 1GB, $145.
* Graphics Card (NVIDIA): XFX GS-250X-ZDFU GeForce GTS 250 DDR3 1GB, $146.
* HDD: Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GB SATA 3.0Gbps, $63.
* PSU: Corsair VX550W CMPSU-550VX 550W, $80. An alternative is Enermax ECO80+ 500W EES500AWT, $85.
* Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black microATX, with LCD/IR receiver/remote, $130.
* Total Cost: $819 for ATI, $820 for NVIDIA

This link will help you tons, most everything you could ask has already been answered.

PS. Its BLU-RAY

Excellent discussion on the 5X series supporting "new" features including trueHD and DTS-HD
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=17170175
 

Neuromancer

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Location
Tau'ri
TV lineup for Time Warner in Raleigh

http://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/lineup_web/US:27601#lineup_1545730

NOTE: The list is a guide not a guarantee. IT is spot on for HD channels for me, but I get alot more SD channels than it lists for my area.



I setup my tuner as ClearQAM only no analog and pull in about 90 channels IIRC Almost 700 actually but about 600 are encrypted lol

I will check and see if they are still broadcasting analog here and if it makes any difference. I doubt it though :( Last I read they are shutting Analog down to open bandwidth up for other services which is why they issue those free DTA boxes for basic service.


As for the remotes. I replaced a harmony remote with a Anyware universal remote that cost $33 on newegg. I could not be happier :) (I bought the harmony to control the PC but got the wrong model or something I guess it did not control the PC and was too complicated to work the other stuff. I plugged in the anyware let windows find it restarted computer and away I went. Married it to the Stereo remote and quickly setup the buttons to do what I wanted and have not had any problems since
 
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CarlJohnson

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Wow thanks a lot for the info. So I will be better off getting the 2250 due to the dual tuners being able to receive analog and digital right? With the 1850 once TW cuts off the analog feed that portion is useless correct? There are two choices of 2250, one with a remote and one without. The Fusion case comes with a remote too so do I need one with the 2250? I also picked out this 5.1 system to go with everything. I know it's entry level but I'm working with a budget and can upgrade it in the future if needed. How do you think everything will work together with a 47"-52" LCD TV? I guess I'm looking for reassurance before I drop the $$$. Thanks again fellas.
 

glorp

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
I will check and see if they are still broadcasting analog here and if it makes any difference. I doubt it though :( Last I read they are shutting Analog down to open bandwidth up for other services which is why they issue those free DTA boxes for basic service.

That's interesting I hadn't heard T-W was doing the same thing as Comcast. With Comcast, the old SD/analog channels above ~30 were transitioned to digital but then also ("lightly") encrypted. The only way to get those now even with basic service was a DTA (or STB) which would do the light decryption. That also made those channel unavailable to QAM tuners. The only thing left in the clear now are locals and govenrment access, shopping, CSPAN, etc. Comcast needed an FCC waiver to do that encryption though so T-W may not have one yet or not plan on it. I guess they could do it pretty easily at any time though.
 
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CarlJohnson

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Damn that will suck if TW follows suit. I will miss watching The Bad Girls Club on Oxygen. Nothing better than 7 hotties running around in their underwear fighting each other:rock: That show isn't on Hulu yet either.
 

[email protected]

Member
Joined
May 29, 2006
I think you should be fine with that sound system to start and a good TV as a centerpiece. Are you going LCD/Plasma/Some other variety?

And not to threadjack but jstutman, that was an excellent post. Lots of good advice there.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.
 
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CarlJohnson

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
I'm going with a 120Hz LCD. I found a 52" Sharp at BJ's for 1099.99. I'm going to check out Sams too. There is a 46" Samsung at Bestbuy for 1099 but if the Sharp is good I would rather have the larger screen.