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871 posts

Ultimate Geek


Topic # 22746 6-Jun-2008 21:02
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I'm looking at getting a home theatre system setup at some point. Ideally I'd like to plan it to be the best possible system for my needs and wants, and then lower the specs slightly to make it easier to setup at first and reasonably cost effective and then add to it (eg second tv card).

My experience with HTPCs is incredibly limited! < Now that thats out of the way..

My goals:

To be able to 'book' television programs over a local intranet so that they can be recorded and then replayed from either the HTPC itself, or a laptop or desktop on my home network.

To be able to record two different channels at once, coming from two different satellites.

To replace our current DVD Player, Freeview Box and Stereo with one HTPC.

So, I'm wondering what people would recommend to start with for a basic system..

Any ideas?

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176 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 136084 6-Jun-2008 21:41
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I think you'll need 2 cards to record different channels from different satellites. 2 Hauppauge Win-tv Nova-s plus cards will run you about $230.
Most media software will let you run a server/client configuration. I use mediaportal, and have an htpc in the lounge, networked to a pc in the bedroom. Mediaportal also has an electronic program guide to let you set up recordings etc.
Pretty simple to replace your dvd player, as long as the machine you build or buy has a dvd drive, again I use mediaportal to view dvd's.
Specs wise apart from the tuner card(s) I run
Amd X2 4800 cpu
500 gig hard-drive (more the better)
2 gigs ram
Silverstone Grandia htpc case (quiet, stylish without annoying front panel lcd)
I use the onboard video in the amd 780g motherboard I have, an nvidia 8500gt or 8600gt does just fine too.

This sort of system is fine (almost overkill) for dvb-s feeds. If you're gonna go HD terrestrial then you'll need different tuner card(s) and possibly a tad more grunt with the cpu.

Sound wise is up to you...seperate amp and speaker system? Most motherboards these days have support for at least 5.1 channel and nowadays 7.1 channel sound.

Its all about what will fit in the budget really....

871 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 136093 6-Jun-2008 22:24
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I already have a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum (with the 5.25" drive bay of inputs) with Creative Inspire T7700 7.1 Surround Sound Speakers ;)

Thats currently in my desktop, but Id like to migrate them into a home theatre system so they get more use.

Id probably want to get at least 500GB for the HTPC, and then have it connect to a NAS on my network to use as storage..


176 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 136106 6-Jun-2008 23:08
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You'll want to find a htpc case with 2 exposed 5.25" bays then, one for dvd drive and another for the audigy panel. There's heaps of reviews on most of the silverstone cases, you'll just need to find one that a) fits in  b)is quiet  c) has the space inside that you require  d) fits the budget. You can spend anywhere from $100 to $1000 on the case alone...
Here's one to have a look at:

The lc17's are popular and less expensive.
You'll need to add a psu for these cases.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 136194 7-Jun-2008 12:27
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Mediaportal TVServer will allow you to network it up so other computers with mediaportal can connect and watch tv live or recorded. Remember that when a recording is made it simply dumps the stream to the hard drive, so if you go DVB-T then the other computers have to have a decent enough spec to play the video.

Multiple TV card will allow you to record 2 satellites, or one dual tuner card. Do you plan on using DVB-T (Freeview|HD) too, or instead? If you do 2x HVR-3000/4000 might be the card of choice since that does DVB-T and DVB-S (Satellite).

For hard drive, get a Samsung Spinpoint F1, im told they are awesome.

176 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 136279 7-Jun-2008 19:07
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I have a spinpoint, not the F1. Still the quietest harddrive I've ever owned.

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