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Date:2009-01-06 17:55
Subject:Which version of Windows do I need?

Backstory: I'm contemplating building my own PVR and I'm doing sort of part-scouting and research at present. I have not yet purchased anything, so my PVR is only an idea at present.

I'm wondering which version of Windows is least wrong for my needs.

So here's what it's gonna do:

Run WITHIN VirtualBox. (I prefer a Linux distro for my primary OS on this potential PVR.)
Run Silverlight for Netflix Watch Instantly within Firefox because Moonlight doesn't do it. (This is my primary reason for "needing" Windows at all.)
Run iTunes - not necessary, but nice.
Run Safari - also not necessary, but nice.
Run VirtualBox in worst case scenario. (If something were to go wrong with my Linux install, I want to be able to run Linux in VirtualBox to play with until I can figure out what's wrong and fix it.)

If at all possible, interface with the wireless card. If not, obviously I must at least have ethernet, because otherwise I can't access streaming video.

I have a dual processor on the parts I think I'm buying (used, from my brother), so I probably need to go with 64 bit.

So, XP Professional? XP Media Center? Vista Home Premium 64 bit? Something else?

I want what will work the best for the least money. I don't *think* I need Media Center, but then again, I don't know anything about Windows anymore with regard to features because I never run it at home.

Thank you so much for your time!

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Date:2006-07-07 04:24
Subject:Yes, it sounds like overkill. But why not?

Anyone know of an audio card that decodes a multi-channel signal (using, for example, Dolby, DTS, or THX) from a DVD, converts to analog at high resolution, and outputs the individual channels without processing them in any further way? I know a lot of cards have a digital output, but I'm looking for something that will remove the necessity for an external A/V receiver, while maintaining the flexibility of using seperate components. So basically, for a 5.1 setup I'd like to have six balanced analog outputs from the computer which then run to the EQ/Limiter, then through a 6-ch. mixer, then through active 3-way crossovers, and on to a very large rack of power amplifiers.

Also, any video cards that output through DVI and Component at true HD (1280x720p, or maybe even 1920x1080p)?

Just curious; let me know if you know of anything like this. Thanks!

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Date:2006-05-05 19:02
Subject:win xp mce / SATA HD support?

x-posted to atek128:

question about windows mce. when i built my last machine the windows xp install cd needed a third party sata driver on a floppy disk to be anle to access my 250 gb WD sata drive. that was a crazy hassle as my comp doesn't have a floppy drive. is win xp MCE the same way or have they improved it's native sata support.

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Date:2006-05-03 08:17
Subject:building a HTPC

i'm upgrading my micro-atx PC into an HTPC, this is my first htpc so please tell me what you think.

athlon xp 2400+
1gb RAM
250 gb SATA HD
xfx nvidia geforce 6200 AGP w/ TV-out
creative labs audigy SE 7.1
sony dvd+rw drive
HAUPPAUGE 1062 Wintv-pvr-150 that comes w/ IR reciever and MCE spec remote.
Windows XP MCE 2005

i'd like to buy the microsoft MCE wireless keyboard but only if it runs with the hauppauge reciever...



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Date:2005-08-16 13:22
Subject:HTPC costs


I'm starting the process of building a Windows Media Center HTPC. I've grown frustrated with the limitations of my .. um... modified.. tivo and am looking to take this to the next level. Having played with a friend's Media Center PC, I was blown away at what it can do (I'm open to other software suggestions if they have all the same features as WMC. Cost isn't an issue since I have a copy of WMC already)). I don't have HD (but have Digital Cable, if that matters), and all the guides seem to be geared in the HD direction. Anyone have a good resource for non-HD HTPC guides/part costs? I am not looking to build a top of the line machine.. just one that will do the job well.


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Date:2005-03-20 23:34
Subject:HD Tuner Card

Anyone have a suggestion for a HD Tuner/Capture card than can get HD Signals from a cable, and can also record full frame NTSC boardcasts? I know ATI had a tuner card, but it can only handle OTA HD broadcasts. I'm looking at updating my current tuner (AverTV Stereo) and I thought I'd might as well go up to HD. I'm looking to set up a machine to work as a PVR, and maybe archive some stuff I already have on VHS.


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Date:2005-01-31 11:51
Subject:htpc reading / links

Like many of you I'm looking to build a htpc. I'd like to use it as a media server (mp3's, pics, and videos), mp3 player, dvd authoring, an hd tuner, and hd dvr.  So far I'm some of the tech is overwhelming. 

I'm looking for good tech articles and books on equiptment, theory, setup, configuration, etc for HTPC's.  If anyone has recomended links I'd appreciate it. 

So far I have the following:
avs 's home theater Computers forum

but I know there are good resources out there... your recomnedations would be helpfull. thanks

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Date:2005-01-27 11:59

Well, I'm slowly gathering the pieces for a pvr. I've got two setups I'm looking at using.

(1) Celeron 1400 (w/larger cache), 768 MB of RAM
(2) AMD K6-2 running at 300 Mhz, 64 MB of RAM

Regarding the latter possibility... I figure if I get a hauppage card to handle the encoding and a hauppage mvr to handle the decoding, then I could get away with a mere 300mhz cpu. I could always add more ram if necssary, and either system would get a new hard drive.

I also have an old Voodoo 200 TV card, but it only writes to MPEG-1, I believe, and the process is shouldered by the CPU, not the card. I figure if I used the first system above, I could get away with it.

Any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions?

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Date:2004-11-01 14:58

so i've been running BeyondTV 3.5 for several months now, first as a beta and now as a full gold release. it's been good, does what it should for the most part, but isn't spectacular. the UI is pretty rough and there are more than a few places where the interaction model can lead a user to trouble. for me, that's not too bad -- though it does annoy my design sensibilities. however, for people like my girlfriend or a guest, it's tragic. i don't ever want them seeing a Windows taskbar or having the computer freeze on them.

as you probably have seen, Windows Media Center Edition 2005 is readily available to us as an "OEM" purchase. (i put OEM in quotes because Microsoft loosened the licensing restrictions to the point where any white box computer builder could sell the software with any little piece of hardware -- a $12 mouse or a $5 cable.) after reading every review i could get my hands on, and ogling every last screenshot i could get my hand on, i decided i needed to try it out. so i bought a new 200GB hard drive (which i wanted to put in the box anyway -- we record a lot of TV!) and a copy of the OS, and installed it.

installation woes...Collapse )

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Date:2004-08-12 16:57

so everything arrived last week and i immediately put everything together. being my first computer build, i was a bit surprised at how easy it was and how quickly it was done. (it helps that i'd researched the shit out of the subject beforehand.) i had to wait a few days to get the case actually up and running because my DSL went down. those were an annoying couple days. but it's built and in use.

a few notes:

- the CPU heatsink-fan wouldn't go on until i found some obscure reference to it that mentioned i should use a screwdriver to get the second clip on. went on quite smoothly with that knowledge but that really should have been more obvious.

- i had a DVD-ROM laying around that i'm using temporarily in the case. it's an NEC, i think, and noisy as fuck. it also does not fit the case well. it doesn't snug up against the front of the case enough so that the button on the front of the case doesn't hit the eject button on the drive when depressed. apparently, Ahanix is working on a replacement button but since i need a quiet drive anyway, i'll just make sure the one i buy works with the existing buttons. any recommendations on quiet DVD-ROMs? i don't need a writer, just a reader.

- i bought Coolmax round IDE cables to help with airflow and the maneuvering around the cramped interior. they're awesome! i highly recommend these suckers. not only are they round, but the ends are extremely flexible and have pull tabs.

- the computer is not as quiet as i'd hoped but definitely quiet enough for watching TV. i don't hear it unless the room is absolutely silent and even then it's only a light whisper. but i'd hoped for almost silent. i'll keep working on that and also suspend solutions (that work) and report back.

- speaking of suspending the computer, the major usage problem i have is turning the sucker on and off. i don't do it any more because it's too difficult and wrought with problems. the remote i use (SnapStream's FireFly) doesn't have a power button and the drivers do not allow it to be used to power on the computer even if it did. they say they're working on a solution but that'll require new hardware and, thus, a new purchase. i originally set the computer to hibernate when the power button on the computer was pushed and to go to sleep after 10 minutes. this was a pretty good solution except for two things: 1) it takes a little too long to resume from hibernate, and 2) in both standby and hibernate, recordings are only 1 minute long in BeyondTV. so if i schedule a show for 10:00-11:00 with 1-minute padding, it wakes up the computer, starts recording at 9:59 and then the computer thinks there's no activity and goes back to sleep. this is probably a function of the beta and will hopefully be solved at release.

- the Samsung Spinpoint harddrive is extremely quiet except that it has a very high pitched idle whine. my girlfriend doesn't hear it but i do. i've gotten use to it but it's definitely annoying. i haven't had a chance to research settings on the drive that might fix this, yet.

- by the way, the CPU HSF works awesome and is very quiet. i've been between 42C and 47C even under fairly heavy load. i was worried i was going to fry everything but i'm doing just fine. great cooler.

- i added another PVR-250 almost right away. i'll probably add a third in the near future. it's nice to be able to be recording a show and watching TV at the same time. and a third tuner would allow me to watch TV and record two shows either simultaneously or back to back without padding problems. good stuff.

- speaking of multiple tuners, does anyone have a more sophisticated way to split a single cable signal to go to all the tuners other than a simple splitter? i suppose a splitter works fine but it seems kind of basic.

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Date:2004-08-03 09:03
Subject:Serial displays

I'm in the process of custom building my own HTPC (check here for my progress so far), and am looking for a nice serial display to show useful information on.

Vacuum fluorescent displays are probably my best bet (LCD's aren't readable enough). There are plenty of suppliers to be found online, but I was wondering if anyone here has any brand they have worked with and/or recommend.

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Date:2004-08-02 16:12
Subject:Induce Act will make Ipods, DVD-R's, VCR's illegal.

This article was brought to my attention and should be noted by all ReplayTv/TiVo/etc... lovers.

In short, anything that can "Induce" copyright violation would be illegal under federal law. This includes, Tivo's, TV Tuner cards, VCR's etc.

Pretty terrible.

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Date:2004-08-02 10:00

welcome to the Home Theater PC forum! please read the description of this community on the info page and join in if this interests you. ask questions, post advice, start flame wars between Myth, BeyondTV and SageTV users.

i will be posting about my current HTPC project and adding a few links to good references i've found.

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Date:2004-08-02 10:44
Subject:my current build parts list

here is the list of parts for my current HTPC build. this will not only be my first custom HTPC but it will also be my first PC build in general. ah, the adventure! read on...

Case: Ahanix D.Vine 5 silver
PVR Software: SnapStream Beyond TV and Beyond Media (both betas)
Remote: SnapStream Firefly
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250

Motherboard: ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2600+
RAM: 1x512MB Crucial PC3200 DDR 400MHz
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint 160MB w/ 8MB buffer
Video Card: MSI GeForce FX5200-TD128
CPU Cooler: Nexus AXP-3200 Skivetek
OS: Windows XP Pro OEM

another PVR 250
another RAM module
IBM Wireless Navigator Pro keyboard
DVD drive
wirless 802.11g adapter?

all of these parts are retail unless otherwise mentioned. i still haven't found a DVD drive that's quiet and cheap. i won't be doing any DVD writing from the living room (where this HTPC will reside) so i just need a DVD reader. for now, i'll use an old, and extremely noisy, drive i have laying around.

by the way, does anyone have experience with that Nexus CPU HSF? it's very new, looks cool, but is very untested. i wanted to go Zalman but their heatsinks are too big to fit with the motherboard and its placement near the PSU.

i'll be posting pictures and reviews of each of these parts as they arrive and i have time.

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