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3062 posts

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  #129907 10-May-2008 18:20
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Not all of the DTT channels transmit in HD, but they all transmit in H.264.

Take a look at the channel table at for details of the HD/SD channels.

Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat APAC as a Technology Evangelist and Portfolio Architect. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.


You will find anything you want at MightyApe (affiliate link).
26589 posts

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  #129909 10-May-2008 18:26
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Minimum specs are always a croc...

pvr-150s work ok in mythtv on a P3-733 for recording. Playback of the files is ok on a xbox with its 700Mhz celeron since its just SD mpeg2.

They will give those specs because things like transcoding for ipod and other things their software may support will be too slow on anything lesser.

If you have a sky dish, pick up a dvb-s card - will get you mpeg2 which you can deal with on your hardware and you can use it as a second tuner when you upgrade and get a dvb-t tuner for HD since some channels are not the same on the -t service (stratos)


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  #129936 10-May-2008 20:33
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gatecrasher: Im looking at building an HTPC such that i can watch Divx etc encoded material on my TV.

Im wondering what kind of cost a decent (yet cheap) build would cost me.
The problem is i don't know where i should cut corners and where i shouldnt.

Ideally i want the machine to store the content rather than stream it.
I dont really care about the size of the box, but the smaller the better.
Would most likely use windows media center with some form of remote.

This is what i have so far.

Some generic looking case (anything thats not beige)
DVD-RW IDE (generic)
Sata 500gb hdd 7200rpm
8500gt silent video card (One less fan will make things quieter)

What i dont have any clue about is:
Cpu (Preferably intel) - How fast does it need to be?
PSU. 400w? 500w?

In the future id like to add

A decent sound card such that i can connect to a home theatre (5.1) setup
A tv tuner that can record the HD stuff (freeview using a standard aerial) to the Hard Disk.
A blu ray drive

So my questions are what other components should i consider?
Is there any other places i can cut cost?

Everybody has a different perspective of what 'cheap' is...
A 'decent build' would be around $2000, but you can build significantly cheaper, but its a trade off, depends on what you want...

As for your unknowns:

The item you most want to get right, will be your motherboard, as you can make many savings if you choose a motherboard that integrates many of the features you require. While there are obvious benefits for installing a standalone graphics card, there are many motherboards available that are designed specifically for HTPC and include integrated high end graphics, capable of decoding HD H.264 media broadcasts and Bluray etc, so a graphics card is not required for a HTPC is you choose your motherboard correctly...this can offer significant savings...

In the motherboard, you want to look for:
- HD capable integrated graphics/H.264 support
- Various inputs/outputs such as spdif and hdmi
- Capable of running the CPU you choose

While its always nice to have the latest and greatest, if your only using this machine for movies etc and not a gaming enthusiast, then you could go as low as a P4, but a Dual Core is generally recommended, especially for HD etc...
Quad core will serve you no extra purpose in a HTPC, get hotter hence need noisy cooling, and cost more, so you can save money there by going lower spec.

How much power you require will depend on what you include in your HTPC...
The less you include, less extension cards, the less power you will require, hence a cheaper PSU...
To figure out how much power you require, Google 'PSU Calculator'...and you will find many sites that have a calculator tool available to work out the total power consumption of your predicted should be pointed out thoe they are just a guide based on averages, and not exact.

Other savings:

Sound Card:
Forget it, unless your a sound professional requiring it. These days most if not all motherboards include spdif, which is a digital connection connecting the PC to your Home Theatre...capable of 7.1 channels, and generally excellent quality. As pointed out in the motherboard section, make sure your chosen motherboard has it and this is another area you can save money.

Other components to consider:

You might want to consider how your going to keep your system cool, otherwise you may get overheating issues and the system crashing regually, worst case total meltdown/frying something...
There are generally 2 main methods of cooling, fans and heatsinks...
Both may come included with other purchases, fans may come with your chosen case, and a heatsink may be included with your motherboard, but not always, and depending on your setup, you may require or desire to replace the stock components anyway.

- Fans, generally are required to extract the hot air out of the case, but depending on the system configuration, can be used to suck into the case, cold air from outside the case. They also may be used to keep specific components cool such as the CPU. The PSU will generally have one included as well.

- Heatsink, generally used to cool the CPU, may also require an additional fan to cool sufficiently.

The thing to do when building a computer, particularly a HTPC, is to do research, as there are many things to consider, and multiple ways of setting it up.

Hope that helps, good luck.

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

Mobile: Nokia N97, Nokia N900, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 3D, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III (current)

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