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Topic # 46739 8-Nov-2009 22:51
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was wondering if someone might be able to give me some ideas, or point me to a thread where this is discussed. I am looking at a new tv, (42 to 50 inch, plasma or lcd, havent decided yet) and home theatre amp. As well as connecting dvd player, cd player to the tv via the amp, I am also wanting to have a pc connected to the system for playing stored movies/music/photos as well as using the tv as a computer monitor for regular type internet access. Can anyone recommend an off the shelf computer that I could use that is quiet, and unobtrusive looking (as opposed to building one). Most I have looked at have tv tuner cards etc which I wont need? (or will I if I want to record HD/free veiw?) Sorry for so many questions... but could do with some direction here

cheers

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 271128 8-Nov-2009 22:58
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I use a Mac Mini in the lounge, running Windows 7 Ultimate with Media Center. Very small, and quiet.






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  Reply # 271134 8-Nov-2009 23:14
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have never used a mac before. wouldnt there be conflicts in trying to run my  pc games or files on a mac?

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 271137 8-Nov-2009 23:18
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Mac OS has a feature called "Bootcamp". It's actually a dual boot for Windows. You start the Mac, run Bootcamp and it will ask how much of the disc you want to reserve for Windows - I used the maximum I could use since on Mac OS won't be used much on this Mini.

It then asks you to insert the Windows install DVD and you will then install Windows like any other PC. At the end it will reboot and start Windows.

It will automatically install all the drivers needed. You can now select in the Windows Control Panel the Bootcamp icon and make it always boot into Windows - there you go, it's a Windows PC.

Using Windows 7 Ultimate you will have Media Center. That's what I use for our movies, photos, even TV (I use an external DVB-T tunner for Freeview|HD since the Mini is so small you can't have anything inside).

I complement this with a Microsoft Media Center Remote Control, so there's no keyboard on this Mini. Of course, you will need a USB mouse/keyboard to at least use the Mini until you have everything installed.

That's all.






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  Reply # 271139 8-Nov-2009 23:23
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so do you connect it direct to your tv or via an amp?

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  Reply # 271141 8-Nov-2009 23:28
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I have it connected to my TV - it's an old Mini so I use the DVI to VGA adapter. You can use DVI to HDMI or the newest models are HDMI already.

In other words you decide how you connect it.




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  Reply # 271472 9-Nov-2009 23:02
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I'm running my LCD tv via hdmi from my PC . Sorry, it's a normal large box, although it's black and glossy which at least goes with the tv, but it could easily all be placed inside a nicer looking box.

For software, it's running Vista home premium with media center and tv pack(to enable satellite support).

I have a sat card in there for freeview(I don't receive DVB-T here in the Wairarapa) and also an analogue card which enables dual recording or watching one/recording the other.

The guide all works well also with media center collecting the data over the air so there's no need to do anything special to get it working.

For an amp, I'd suggest getting one with hdmi switching. My current one doesn't but the tv has spdif out which I use to get the sound to the amp when it's being used with the computer(which really is most of the time)


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  Reply # 271740 10-Nov-2009 17:46
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I agree with lostangel. If you are going to get a new (LCD)HDTV & amp, I would definitely get one with HDMI switching: that is where you plug in both video & audio via the HDMI cable from the PC -or set-top box- to the amp, then output to TV from there. Instead of: HTPC>DVi>HDMI>LCDTV for video; & coax SPDif for audio. Just easier.

DVD/CD players would connect direct to amp with switching facilities there, also. Could connect Blu-ray(BD)/DVD player direct to TV: but why? Less hassle with using one receiver remote. But if you are looking towards HTPC tech, don't bother with either. I have my music collection on my HTPC, as well as my collection of BD, DVD & TV series (I have 2 terabytes of HDD storage). Go with the minimalist look -TV,HTPC & receiver.

In terms of off-the-shelf (HT)PCs, can't really assist as mine is totally self-built. But a couple of things to ask for: if is a proprietary system (eg. Dell, HP) ask if generic components for power supplies, etc. can be used. Most systems I have glanced at are built by clone companies, so that shouldn't be an issue. The main one is future expansion. Make certain there are slots available for future componentry, like PCI-E TV tuners. With Prime now on Freeview, I am planning to add another tuner card as the analogue card is now pretty much relegated to video capturing.

Speaking of Freeview, if you can get FreeviewHD, then I would seriously recommend getting it. If you have never viewed the HD broadcast, you won't believe the difference even normal digitalTV makes, let alone the HD variant. Another advantage of HTPCs: you just insert a tuner card & scan for channels. The EPG (electronic programme guide) is another matter, for a later date. Also, with a larger HDTV -ie.1080p- any resolution issues (ie. analogue TV) will be exacerbated. But that could easily be added later with card of STB. Just keep in mind when purchasing your gear: at some point, you will change over to digital.

Finally, don't get sucked into purchasing expensive [named] brands of cables & interconnects, like Monster: THERY ARE A RIP-OFF! Save your money & buy reasonably priced ones. Do a bit of research now, & it could save you literally $100s.




Silverstone LC14 HTPC Case/Intel E4600 CPU/GA-EP35-DS3 MOBO/Asus EN9500GT graphics/2GB RAM/total 2TB HDD space/HVR-2200 & 2X 150MCE tuner cards/LG GGC-H20L BD Drive/MCE2005/Mediaportal/TVServer 1.1.0Final/LG 55"3D LED-TV/Denon AVR-1803 receiver/X1 projector



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  Reply # 271871 10-Nov-2009 22:35
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thanks for all the info so far. Not sure I need to go so far as a htpc. I already have a freeviewHD box. Was really just wanting to be able to access my stored music/movies/games, and use a computer with the new TV as an external monitor for websurfing etc. I do have a motion computing tablet with dvi-d out, but the only audio out i can find on it is the headphone jack (3.5mm?) I guess I could go dvi out to the amp or tv, but what sort of sound am I going to get connecting audio using the headphone jack (if it can somehow be connected to an amp)



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  Reply # 271873 10-Nov-2009 22:40
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then again, maybe I would be better off just spending a little more and paying someone to build me exactly what I need and fitting it into a suitable looking case... that way getting hdmi out, bigger hard drive and more ram etc.

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  Reply # 272126 11-Nov-2009 18:46
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Not sure if the statement about sound via headphone jack was rhetoric or not. But, at best, 2-channel.




Silverstone LC14 HTPC Case/Intel E4600 CPU/GA-EP35-DS3 MOBO/Asus EN9500GT graphics/2GB RAM/total 2TB HDD space/HVR-2200 & 2X 150MCE tuner cards/LG GGC-H20L BD Drive/MCE2005/Mediaportal/TVServer 1.1.0Final/LG 55"3D LED-TV/Denon AVR-1803 receiver/X1 projector

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