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Some Specific HTPC and Home Theater Questions...

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Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Ok, I am going to have a kind of patched togather system setup and i am interested in using it as a HTPC. Currently it would have:

Intel PIII Tualatin 1.2GHz
Soyo SY TISU
512MB PC 133
CDROM
8.5GB 5400 RPM HDD
Some small 1-2.5GB HDDs thrown in for fun
Either a GeForce 4 MX440 or a TNT2 32MB (i need to choose what comp i want the GF4 in)
SBLive! 5.1

Now for the questions:
1. This will be enough horspower processor and ram wise correct?
2. Will the TNT2 be any better for DVD playback than the GF4? Is eather one adiquate?
3. How will the SBLive! do for a small home theater type speaker setup? Would i be able to have both the computer and the TV send sound to the speakers with out using a splitter/combiner? How?
4. How much PVR recording would i be able to fit on about 2 gig of live non HDTV TV time wise? Would this much HDD space be adiquate for a pause/play/rewind type PVR feature? How fast would said HDD have to be to fead live TV straight to the TV iteself?
5. Is this worth the trouble or is just running a normal home theater better for my needs?
6. How usefull would internet be through a TV set?
7. Do 5.25 drive bay DVD-ROM drives use progressive scan? Is this important on a computer based DVD player?

Is there anything else i need to know? Would this be worth the trouble if i was not planning to go with a full fledged PVR? Would this be worth the troulbe with no PVR at all?
 

CPFitz14

Member
Joined
May 23, 2002
Location
Michigan
Well, progressive scan doesn't really matter as long as you aren't using an HDTV. Or at least thats what I am aware of. You might want to look into bigger Hard Drives though, I'm pretty sure recording video takes up a LOT of space. It'd probably be enough for Rewind and stuff though, but I don't know how long you would be able to.

Good luck. I'd like to get around to building something like this at one point.

-CPFitz-
 

Captain Slug

Helpful Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2001
Location
Asteroid B-612
Zerileous said:
1. This will be enough horspower processor and ram wise correct?
2. Will the TNT2 be any better for DVD playback than the GF4? Is eather one adiquate?
3. How will the SBLive! do for a small home theater type speaker setup? Would i be able to have both the computer and the TV send sound to the speakers with out using a splitter/combiner? How?
4. How much PVR recording would i be able to fit on about 2 gig of live non HDTV TV time wise? Would this much HDD space be adiquate for a pause/play/rewind type PVR feature? How fast would said HDD have to be to fead live TV straight to the TV iteself?
5. Is this worth the trouble or is just running a normal home theater better for my needs?
6. How usefull would internet be through a TV set?
7. Do 5.25 drive bay DVD-ROM drives use progressive scan? Is this important on a computer based DVD player?

8. Is there anything else i need to know?
9. Would this be worth the trouble if i was not planning to go with a full fledged PVR?
10. Would this be worth the trouble with no PVR at all?

1. Yes. I've built a functional PVR with just a Celeron 600.
2. Both are fine
3. You'll need an RCA to headphone jack adapter if you want the TV output to play through your computer to a surround-sound speaker set. Simply plug that into the Line-In or Microphone (not amplified) jacks
4. That would entirely depend upon the compression rate you used. 2 hours of MPEG-4 at near DVD quality will be around 700mb. In DivX5 the same clip will be only 200mb. 80gb or more will be ideal for digital video recordning and storage.
5. The advantage of PVR is unlimited expandability via archiving on other media types. If you need more space or you want to save something for later, you can. Also you have many more options for other types of media playback.
6. If you'd like to install Windows XP Media Center Edition or use a different GUI frontend (such as www.myhtpc.net), the net connection will be required for downloading programming schedules.
7. not really required
8. S-Video IS a much cleaner video signal. Use it whenever possible. You'll also want to consider some wireless input device options. RF is a must. If you use Windows XP MCE there's a USB remote available to control it for only $32. For any other OS, X-10 offers a programmable RF remote.
9. Using a properly setup PVR with a nice TV capture card is alot of fun and very useful. You can set it to record shows you can't watch regularly because of scheduling. Or you can archive shows in series so you can watch them in order. Plus, editing out the commercials is quite easy with the right software.
10. Not unless you have other plans. I personally enjoy emulating older console games on the TV, and using the TV as an MP3 setup for parties.