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98 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 163822 11-Sep-2008 18:02
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groovy:

Cool. So hows the HTPC? Is it worth it? Just wondering what the Antec Fusion LCD display show?? i mean does it show what songs playing, or what source is selected and so on. 

Did it take very long? As i have never built before, just wondering approx how long would it take to get it up and running?
Thanks.


Well to be honest I haven't really messed with the LCD, I  would have preferred a VFD because it's more discreet. I purchased the case mainly because it looked like it will fit in with my Sony amp.

Build time varies, I put mine together in about 20min but then I build PC's on a regular basis. As a first time builder you would want to take everything a bit slower. No reason to believe it would take you more than an hour though.

453 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 82


  Reply # 163871 11-Sep-2008 22:17
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groovy:
.....
Just wondering what the Antec Fusion LCD display show?? i mean does it show what songs playing, or what source is selected and so on. 

Did it take very long? As i have never built before, just wondering approx how long would it take to get it up and running?
Thanks.


You can configure what it displays with the included software.  If you want you can turn it off too if you want to.  The included software lets you display things such as:
  • Date/Time
  • Weather information
  • System stats (CPU/Memory/Disk etc)
  • News feed
  • Email info
I haven't used it much to be fair...just have it displaying date and time (appears this cannot be turned off unless I've missed the option) and weather info.

If your media software (e.g. Media Center, Winamp etc) supports it, the display will show information about what is playing and/or display a graphic equaliser of the sound.  Unfortunately Media Portal does not support this.  I haven't made the effor to see if anyone has created a plugin for it.  If someone knows of one...I'm keen to hear about it.

Personal opinion on it is that its a fun feature...but honestly I find it quite worthless.  The integrated IR receiver was the draw card for me, but as explained earlier I ditched that too.

As for build time; that really does depend.  If this is your first build ever I'd say budget a few hours.  Take your time, understand what you're doing and read the manuals.  You'll learn lots!  If you've built PCs before I think an hour estimation to get your PC running is fair.  The case is very easy to work with, not difficult at all to get at all the components.  Expect to spend the rest of your life tweaking the software though Laughing!


EDIT: A quick search on the MediaPortal site has thrown up a couple of possibilities for the VFD.  When I have a bit of time I'll dive into one or two of them and see if/how they perform and report back.  Of course if anyone else has already done this.....you know the drill....



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 163952 12-Sep-2008 09:47
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Thanks NZKC. I will do some research as well on the Mediaportal. something to do at work :)

Also can anyone please advice regarding my other post.


So this morning i checked all the channels i get from Antenna to TV, and Channels through Zinwell decoder.

Channels on TV with Antenna only
TVONE, TV2, TV3, C4, TRAINGLE TV and *MAORI TV* (all come very clearly).
I also get Juice TV, Prime but it is GRAINY.


Channels on TV with Zinwell decoder
TVONE, TV2, MAORI TV, TVNZ6, TVNZ7, TNNZ Sports Xtra, Parliament TV, Freeview HD.

I Do not get TV3 and C4.

Could you please point me in the right direction. Do i need a new better UHF antenna? If i get the HTPC up and running, will i get TV3 and C4 and other HD channels then?

Because if i cant get TV3 and C4, which would really suck, which means i cant record and view this  from HTPC.


Thanks.



453 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 82


  Reply # 164056 12-Sep-2008 17:52
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Re the VFD/LCD display on the Antec Fusion V2 and Media Portal.

Well wouldn't you know it....it just so happens that Media Portal (RC2) comes with a plugin pre-installed called "External Display".  It would appear lots of various manufactures and versions of VFDs are supported by this plugin.  Including the one in the Antec Fusion V2 case.

Do I feel stupid for having not spotted this sooner?  Yeah a little bit...but never mind.

So here are the instructions:

I had to disable the iMon software from autostarting when Windows starts as this seems to override and conflict with the plugin (which strangly also fires up a version iMon when configured).  So here are some (pre)instructions for that:
  1. Open Regedit (Start -> Run -> Type "Regedit")
  2. Find the iMon entry under: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Windows\CurrentVesion\Run
  3. Delete the entry

If you've got iMon running at the moment I'd kill it here, alternatively restart your PC.

Configuring the "External Display" plugin:
  1. Open the Media Portal (client) configuration
  2. Open the plugin section
  3. Find and enable the "External Dispaly" plugin.  It will be in the "Process Plugins" section
  4. Once enabled, click "Configure"
  5. Under the option "Type" select the row that is labeled "SoundGraph iMon Integrated USB VFD/LCD Driver V1.0".  Note: There is an option near the top of the list titled "iMon VFD" but this didn't seem to work for me.  Could be it was before I'd resolved the conflict with the running iMon software at this point.  For me the SoundGraph option definitely works.
  6. Under the option "Port" select the row that is labeled "USB"
  7. That should get you working (once you restart MediaPortal).  Everything after this bit are my preferences - you should experiment what works best for you.
  8. I left all the options for "TextMode" and "GraphMode" at the defaults.
  9. For Contrast, I have ended up setting the sliding bar at about 20-25%
  10. I have left "BackLight" disabled
  11. In the advanced section (click on the advanced button) I changed "Display Type" to LCD just to make sure.  Everything else I left as is.

Now when I run MediaPortal the VFD/LCD display shows what is currently playing.  I haven't got the graphic equaliser function going and I'm assuming it is possible.  I'm not too fussed on that personally, but I'll have a go at seeing if I can get it working.

It was pretty simple in the end.  The biggest problem I had was the conflict between the running (on startup) version of iMon and the one bundled with the Media Portal plugin.  Once I nailed that it was a breeze.

84 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 164149 13-Sep-2008 08:44
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nzkc: There's an option in the iMon software.  It doesn't say disable IR receiver...it's worded something like "ignore IR receiver".  Means the same thing really.  Im at work...so that wording isn't 100% guaranteed...but I'm sure you'll find it. Wink

I had updated the iMon software to the latest version too.  I'm not sure if that option only appears with that version or if it was available with the software on the CD.  But if you wanted to update the software anyway, here's the link: http://www.soundgraph.com/Eng_/Supports/DownloadList.aspx?topMenu=4&subMenu=1&leftMenu=1

You can get download a version from the Antec site, but I believe this is more recent.  It is the same iMon product.  I guess Antec just license it from SoundGraph.  What I did find is that the updated software put an annoying "icon" on the screen.  Not in the system tray...looked like it was on the desktop but you could move it around.  Found an option to disable that and show it in the system tray instead (much cleaner).

If you struggle with configuring the software above I can provide details of my set up (once I'm back at home).


Thanks for that, but I am unable to find the setting you are refering too. I to have updated the iMon software. Im running the latest version 7.20.0502. Reading through the Soundgraph forums it looks like that option you refer to was taken out of this version.

With the IR reciever disabled, are you still able to use the rest of the iMon program? ie. I have all my DVBviewer keys mapped through it so I dont want to loose that funtionality.

I love this case, but the only issues I have with it is the placement of the IR reciever (why couldnt they put it on the right hand side of the VFD making it closer to the middle of the case) and the fact that you cant use the letters option from the remote keypad when entering search field data.

453 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 82


  Reply # 164163 13-Sep-2008 10:11
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Not sure about some of your questions.  I'm not really using iMon for anything anymore.  My impression (note the use of that word) was that iMon took whatever was received through the IR receiver and mapped it to the key stroke you wanted.  If you disable the IR receiver I would think that the mappings would no longer be applied.

With regards to disabling the IR receiver.  I have version 7.40.0806.  Last night when I was investigating everything it asked me if it could update...so might be worth letting your software do that.  That said - I dont notice anything new or different in the interface.  The option to disable ith IR receiver is in:
  • Option
  • System
  • At the bottom of the screen: Do NOT process IR signal

1548 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 353


  Reply # 164277 13-Sep-2008 20:53
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groovy:

Thanks NZKC. I might go with the below motherboard, only because its cheaper. Unless their is something else wrong with it :)




You may want to go for a m/b with more PCi slots (assuming it'll fit in the case)
It may be wise to check that that AMD board is fully compatable with Nvidia vid cards(just in case), or get the equivilent Nvidia, or a 6100/430 board that are dead cheap these days.
Looks like one of those PCi slots will be unusable when you put a vid card in, you want to add TV tuners, later perhaps wireless  & sound card etc etc in future. I had to replace my m/b because of lack of usable PCi slots.
Ive a Logitech remote. It will controll allmost anything(there is a HUGE online databse). You stll need a IR receiver thou (MS remote & receiver are the easiest to setup). Only problem with many of the Logitech remotes is the tiny button size, thats why I almost never use my one.
Also , is the case full height or half height. This will have implications on the vid card you want to use.
Does the caes take 'standard' size power supply (in case you want/need to replace it).
A full size case can look a bit out of place, but its really easy to work on & add components to: anything will allways fit in it.

Gigabyte 'officially'  has 3 year warranty on most of the m/b's, however most retailers are offer 1year when they sell them.(why??)
May be worth paying a bit more for that extra warranty.

98 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 164279 13-Sep-2008 21:31
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1101:
Gigabyte 'officially'  has 3 year warranty on most of the m/b's, however most retailers are offer 1year when they sell them.(why??)
May be worth paying a bit more for that extra warranty.


Most retailers parallel import therefore voiding the standard 3 year warranty. The Gigabyte motherboard purchased from the local NZ distributor will be covered by Gigabytes 3 year warranty.



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 164729 16-Sep-2008 09:47
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1101:
groovy:

Thanks NZKC. I might go with the below motherboard, only because its cheaper. Unless their is something else wrong with it :)




You may want to go for a m/b with more PCi slots (assuming it'll fit in the case)
It may be wise to check that that AMD board is fully compatable with Nvidia vid cards(just in case), or get the equivilent Nvidia, or a 6100/430 board that are dead cheap these days.
Looks like one of those PCi slots will be unusable when you put a vid card in, you want to add TV tuners, later perhaps wireless  & sound card etc etc in future. I had to replace my m/b because of lack of usable PCi slots.
Ive a Logitech remote. It will controll allmost anything(there is a HUGE online databse). You stll need a IR receiver thou (MS remote & receiver are the easiest to setup). Only problem with many of the Logitech remotes is the tiny button size, thats why I almost never use my one.
Also , is the case full height or half height. This will have implications on the vid card you want to use.
Does the caes take 'standard' size power supply (in case you want/need to replace it).
A full size case can look a bit out of place, but its really easy to work on & add components to: anything will allways fit in it.

Gigabyte 'officially'  has 3 year warranty on most of the m/b's, however most retailers are offer 1year when they sell them.(why??)
May be worth paying a bit more for that extra warranty.

The Antec Fusion V2 case is an ATX case. Just wondering that would it fit an ATX mobo in it easily or do i need to find an MATX mobo?

Generally the MATX mobo i looked at only had 2 PCI slots, which i would need for the 2 HVR-2200 Tuner cards and 1 x PCI expresss slot for the 8600Gt video card. 

Problem with 8600GT video card is that it will take up 1 only PCI slots, then i am not able to fix the 2nd Tuner card in the case. 

So what mobo did you guys use when using the Antec Fusion Case and when installing 2 TV tuners cards and a video card. Also have to think about the compatability video cards for the mobo.

I guess the sound card these days are all built in with atleast 5.1 in the motherboard, which is generally good enough isnt it?
So what mobo can i use which is MATX, and has lots of PCI slots? 

Thanks.

453 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 82


  Reply # 164735 16-Sep-2008 09:59
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The case is mATX.  Therefore you're limited to a mATX motherboard.  See my earlier post ;-)

The graphics card will occupy your PCI Express x16 slot.
The HVR2200 is a PCI Express card and will occupy the PCI Express x1 slot.

With the motherboard you suggested earlier you'll have the two PCI slots free.

Seems most mATX boards have the configuration of:
1 x PCI Express x16
1 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI (standard)

If you're building this as a pure HTPC I think you'll be fine with the configuration you have.  About the only card I can see you possibly needing in the future is a wireless card.  And if you can go with a wired NIC then you should.  If you wanted extra TV cards in the future (note: I dont think you will need one) you'll be limited to a PCI based one at present but I don't see that being a major personally.



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 164764 16-Sep-2008 11:24
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nzkc: The case is mATX.  Therefore you're limited to a mATX motherboard.  See my earlier post ;-)

The graphics card will occupy your PCI Express x16 slot.
The HVR2200 is a PCI Express card and will occupy the PCI Express x1 slot.

With the motherboard you suggested earlier you'll have the two PCI slots free.

Seems most mATX boards have the configuration of:
1 x PCI Express x16
1 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI (standard)

If you're building this as a pure HTPC I think you'll be fine with the configuration you have.  About the only card I can see you possibly needing in the future is a wireless card.  And if you can go with a wired NIC then you should.  If you wanted extra TV cards in the future (note: I dont think you will need one) you'll be limited to a PCI based one at present but I don't see that being a major personally.

I just checked the case, it is MATX. This HTPC will be mainly used for watching TV, record from TV, browse net, and watch movies. I dont play games on computer, as i have Xbox 360. Also regarding the wireless, i have a spare wireless router, which i plan to bridge it with my current wireless router. So then i can save money on wireless card :) 

You or exdee has suggested me to get 2 x HVR2200 PCI express card, so i can use 1 to watch TV and use another one to record multiple programs to the HTPC. So i need 2 x PCI Express x 1 slots for the tv tuners isnt it? Which the mobo i selected does not have. 

What you suggest about that? Sorry about all these questions, as its the first time building up a PC, also i liked to make sure i get all the parts i need, and NOT GET the parts i dont need :)

Thanks again.

453 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 82


  Reply # 164790 16-Sep-2008 12:54
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You only need one HVR2200 card.  It has two tuners built onto it to allow you to record one channel and watch another.  The tuners are both digital (DVB-T) and analog.

You only need to buy one of these cards!  That's why it's highly recommended for NZ Freeview HD.



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 164797 16-Sep-2008 13:02
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nzkc: You only need one HVR2200 card.  It has two tuners built onto it to allow you to record one channel and watch another.  The tuners are both digital (DVB-T) and analog.

You only need to buy one of these cards!  That's why it's highly recommended for NZ Freeview HD.

Oh COOOL!! I wondered in everyone's HTPC lists theirs only 1 card. Makes sense now. Sweet i save more money now :)

Thanks heaps to everyone!



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 164813 16-Sep-2008 14:11
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nzkc: You only need one HVR2200 card.  It has two tuners built onto it to allow you to record one channel and watch another.  The tuners are both digital (DVB-T) and analog.

You only need to buy one of these cards!  That's why it's highly recommended for NZ Freeview HD.

Hi NZKC. Just few more queries.

I have no idea which is a good Ram nowadays. I currently have kington but its expensive. Please advise!!!

Also i am getting the 1TB HDD. Someone also mentioned about the timeshiftting and usage of the same HDD, will reduce the life of it. Just wondering what do you suggest?

I have no idea what timeshifting is as well, i will google and read about it though!

Is it better to get 2 x 1GB or 1 x 2GB RAM? Whats a good brand RAM nowadays? 
Also regarding HDD timeshifting and so, a secondary HDD or a USB HDD or get more RAM and use it?

Also except Media Patrol and Windows Vista ultimate software. What else do i need??

Any links where i can read about them would be great, if its not too much trouble.

Thanks.


453 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 82


  Reply # 164818 16-Sep-2008 14:46
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If you're not gaming or overclocking I think you'll be fine with generic RAM.  Buy the faster RAM DDR2-800 (or above) if you can.  And I'd say go for 2 x 1GB RAM modules.  Thats what I'm running (generic, 2 x 1GB, DDR2-800) and it's more than adequate.

As for the OS I wouldn't bother with Vista Ultimate.  As far as I'm aware you'll be more than happy with Vista Home Premium (or whatever it's called).  Ultimate doesn't offer that much...other than a bigger hole in your pocket.

Disks.  I think you'd be ok with 1 disk.  Might be worth partitioning to avoid some fragmentation but you can get away with 1 big disk.  Perhaps other people have opinions on this.  I have 2 HDD, but really only because I required some more space (for more recordings) so added a second.  It did have an improvement on timeshifting (which I'll get to in a tick) but you could take the approach of buying a single hard drive, see how you go and then get a second one if you feel it's necessary.

Timeshifting.  This is what you see in those MySKY HDi adverts when they pause, rewind, restart the live TV.  MediaPortal does it all the time someone is watching TV.  So as you're watching TV MediaPortal is recording it at the same time.  It doesn't necessary record the whole show.  I forget the default settings, but lets say it keeps the last 5 minutes.  If you hit rewind you can go back up to 5 minutes.  When you hit pause it simply stops "tidying up" and keeps everything untill you hit play again.  Thats all a bit washed over - but hopefully you'll get the idea.

If you're recording a show and watching a second - MediaPortal is actually recording 2 shows.  One will be in the "videos" area/folder of your hard drive and the other will be in the timeshifting folder.  This is where 2 HDDs can help as you can put these folders on different drives.  A modern HDD can easily cope with two HD streams (SATA2 can burst at up to 3Gb/sec - that's bits not bytes) and a HD show requires about 5GB (thats bytes not bits) an hour.  That said I have found when a disk is heavily fragmented (which happens quite quickly with all the writes/deletes that mediaportal does) that your live stream can stutter.  That's why I suggested trying one disk and adding a second if you find you need it.

If I were to start from scratch with my disks (1 x 320GB and 1 x 500GB) I'd probably do something like this:
With the 320GB disk
  Create a 20GB partition for time shifting
  Use the rest for OS, music, pictures & more or less anything else

With the 500GB disk
  Use it all for TV shows (which is what it's doing now)

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