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sheldybro

20 posts

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#20739 4-Apr-2008 12:53
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Thats the question for me...

Hello to all you experts out there in GZ land,

I am a complete newbie to HTPC and to be quite honest never even thought about it until i started reading some of these threads, now im quite interested to know more.
I have read about some of the different setups in here and to be honest i dont understand alot of the talk you guys use.
I have been able to pick up a few things here and there and with what i'm going through in setting up my soon to be built home a htpc could be what i should work toward getting.

Anytips for a beginner on what i should be starting with? 
Are there machines out there that i can plug and play without all the tweaking you guys do, or is that all part of having one?

Just so you know for all of my adult life i have only ever dealt with normal old analogue tv, splitting that around to all 6 tvs in our house was a simple as using splitters and this was fine, clear pic? well i cant say in my 36 years i have ever had a screen without a bit of snow flying around. So now when i start looking into freeview for the new home i find it not quite as easy to split the tv around to all tvs without getting 5/6 freeview boxes....

any thoughts?

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davidcole
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  #121068 4-Apr-2008 14:07
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All I can say at this stage is choose the OS you're comfortable with (linux/windows) then go and get some packages to play with.

While you wont have the Tuner functions you will be able to see what they are like for playing other bits of media you have lying around and is their look and feel comfortable to you.

I started with MythTv - mainly as it was the only one that dealt with software based tuner (the $50 or so dollar cards) cards very easily, but not being a native of linux I preferred a windows solution.

So at that point I made the decision to switch to a windows OS and the PVRs on offer there.

There's pretty good support here at geekzone for all the main players in the PVR software  - MythTv, Media Portal, GBPVR and the various windows Media center versions.

I'd recommend start small, maybe analogue, then move to the digital.....and I wouldn't recommend jumping direct to DVB-T since fairly experienced users are having trouble getting it to work well.....




Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
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sheldybro

20 posts

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  #121078 4-Apr-2008 14:34
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Thanks for that,

I have seen the MyPVR online, anybody had experiences with this?

Would this be a good starting point or is it more for the advanced folk?

I not really worried about what OS to use, as my experiences with any are limited, but i guess windows is the one on my Home PC and i can drive that alright.

I live in nelson so i will be using Freeview sat dish when we build the house to put it on, if that makes a difference?


 
 
 
 


1gkar
722 posts

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  #121104 4-Apr-2008 15:38
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sheldybro: Thats the question for me...

Hello to all you experts out there in GZ land,

I am a complete newbie to HTPC and to be quite honest never even thought about it until i started reading some of these threads, now im quite interested to know more.
We've all started somewhere. I got my first PC experience playing Ultima 2 on a PC back in '89 in Forida, USA. I was pretty much hooked after that. I'm a plumber by trade; so as long as you have some time to invest in learning, that's about all you need to start with. That & some patience & common sense.


I have read about some of the different setups in here and to be honest i dont understand alot of the talk you guys use.
I have been able to pick up a few things here and there and with what i'm going through in setting up my soon to be built home a htpc could be what i should work toward getting.
Check the sites below.



Anytips for a beginner on what i should be starting with? 
Are there machines out there that i can plug and play without all the tweaking you guys do, or is that all part of having one?
Here is an excellent starters guide. It was completed by a person similar to yourself & it is comprehensive. It should be a sticky on all HTPC sites.  http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au/community/build-your-own-media-center-pc/8922-thinking-building-your-own.html

Other sites to look at are:

http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au/

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=26  the mother of all things HTPC. Be aware this site can be a bit overwhelming due to the amount of material.

http://www.htpcnews.com/forums/index.php  Here's another that probably has seen better times but has an excellent build HTPC forum.

http://www.team-mediaportal.com/  I just about forgot here: a brilliant & free media centre frontend (just meaning it governs all your HTPC fundtions from within one GUI (graphics User Interface). You'll get the drift by looking at screenshots.


Just so you know for all of my adult life i have only ever dealt with normal old analogue tv, splitting that around to all 6 tvs in our house was a simple as using splitters and this was fine, clear pic? well i cant say in my 36 years i have ever had a screen without a bit of snow flying around. So now when i start looking into freeview for the new home i find it not quite as easy to split the tv around to all tvs without getting 5/6 freeview boxes....

any thoughts?


The versatility of an HTPC box is what drives those that use them. Contrary to some experts that believe they won't survive, I think they will, because of people like yourself who constantly come into the arena & experience the many aspects what they deliver: Music reproduction/playback, DVD/XVid/DivX reproduction/playback, HD recording/playback are just some of their appeal. Name one set-top box that can do the above & I don't believe it will ever exist.

I live in nelson so i will be using Freeview sat dish when we build the house to put it on, if that makes a difference?
Alas, that means no high defintion as that is only available through the terrestrial or UHF aerial version fo freeview.




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euanandrews
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  #121115 4-Apr-2008 16:21
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Check out the HTPCnz wiki, there you will find allot of information on the various hardware and software used in a HTPC...
There is also comparisons available.

If you have any questions, there is also forums and chat available (although the community is small at this point)

sheldybro: I have seen the MyPVR online, anybody had experiences with this?

Would this be a good starting point or is it more for the advanced folk?

What GUI/OS you use is mostly personal preference...

If I was to make a recommendation, I would say use Windows MCE or VMC (Vista)...simply because it is well supported, well documented, and likely a setup you already know. But each has their own advantages and disadvantages.

I live in nelson so i will be using Freeview sat dish when we build the house to put it on, if that makes a difference?

If this is a new setup (so no old sky dish on roof) then you may want to go with Terrestrial instead of Satellite...

Terrestrial will offer you HD tv...Satellite does not...although I do not know what the Terrestrial reception is like in Nelson, Satellite is available everywhere in New Zealand.

If you go with Terrestrial, currently you may also be limited to what GUI/OS you can use...without having to do all the 'tinkering' and modifications many GZ members to do to get it to work properly...VMC currently requires this tinkering.

Are there machines out there that i can plug and play without all the tweaking you guys do, or is that all part of having one?

If you really want 'plug and play', get someone to build it for you, or buy it.
Pre-built HTPC are available, and from the big name brands to, all ready to go...

When building a pc, particularly a HTPC...there is no such thing as plug and play.
There is always something that has to be modified, tested, changed, have settings inputted etc etc.

You could use what pc you have now...and just add a Freeview compliant tv tuner card...thats easy, but there would still be some settings to play with to make it work...

...splitting that around to all 6 tvs in our house was a simple as using splitters and this was fine...

To output the signal to multiple tv's from a PC...then you face a myriad of possibility's
*Choice of connection? (Component/RCA, Coaxial/RF, Toslink/digital, DVI/HDMI)
*How to split?
*Effect on PC resources/PC strain of outputting to multiple tv's?
*Capability's of the tv's? (what connectivity they offer, what definition they support)

I offer no answer here, just letting you know that while building a HTPC can be enlightening and fun, and offer a myriad of features and functionality far superior to that of any set-top box or home theatre component, making it a hub of the entertainment center...there can be quite a bit involved, and requires careful planning and research, otherwise there are many things that can go wrong.




HTPC: Silverstone LC16M | abit IP35 Pro | Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz | Corsair 520HX | Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer | NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 512MB RAM | 2 x 750GB Western Digital Caviar GP HDD | 4GB DDR800 RAM | D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop | Blackgold BGT3540 | Microsoft Remote Control & Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center | Windows 7 64bit

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gehenna
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  #122016 8-Apr-2008 09:00
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I've been playing with Windows Media Center since the XP version and since Vista RC1 was out.  I love it, it's probably not quite as customisable as I'd like but I forfeit that in honour of it's very slick interface and look.  I've had no end of fun getting different rigs working, it's a great hobby if nothing else!

sheldybro

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  #122019 8-Apr-2008 09:18
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Thank you to all, a bit of food for thought there.

1gkar,Bartender,  thanks for the links, i will have a good read through those, and try and get my brain to accept the new language of HTPC.

will see what the future brings for me and HTPC.


mruane
420 posts

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  #122080 8-Apr-2008 12:40
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Sheldybro

You have been given some very sound advice, but let me ask you one question: how comfortable are you with your knowledge of your PC and its OS?

If you were asked to re-install the OS and start again, could you do that without needing to refer to manuals?  If so, then your probably ready to construct an HTPC and have some fun. But be aware that its not that easy and will require some effort to keep it running sweetly - not to mention a fair bit of time. At the end though, you will have a very flexible piece of kit.

If your not that comfortable with PC's then you might want to consider the easy option of a hard disk based Set Top Box (STB). They can be purchased for a reasonable price locally and will probably take care of all of your Satellite TV needs for some time to come.

Where the HTPC wins, is its ability to coordinate all of your media into a single point and distribute that throughout the house to other PC's running as clients, or to network devices such as the Popcorn Hour etc.

So you need to balance what you want to achieve with your technical ability to implement it. You will get plenty of good advice from this forum, but YOU still need to know how to put that advise to use.

Best of luck.

Cheers Mike

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