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  • Home theatre PC

    A mate sent me this link...
    http://www.htpcnews.com/main.php?id=x15_5
    and got me thinking (and the geek propellor spinning!)
    The case above is too expensive ($820!!FFS!!..for a case) but it does have a rather groovy LCD touch screen ..anyway..out of my price range.

    Ive been looking at Windows XP media edition to run all my home theatre from, DVD`s, music, piccies, you name it.

    So has anyone done anything like this here? Im loathed to get another Microsoft product, so I was looking at some opensource stuff (www.openhtpc.com) or similar.

    Anyone have any experience with where to start (apart from the basic PC bits).

    Can you get remote controls for PC`s? (sort of replacing the mouse/keyboard).

    Anyone offer any help/guidance?

  • #2
    buddy of mine uses his chipped X-box, networked to his primary desktop PC as his "media centre".

    You can then access and play everything from MP3's, avi's the works that are stored on the desktop PC in the other room.
    I believe, but dont quote me, that he can still get full 5.1 audio but as I have not looked too closely I am not sure.

    anyway - it may be the cheaper option.

    big_harold
    I like to box. How I like to box.
    So, every day, I box a Gox.
    In yellow socks I box my Gox.
    I box in yellow Gox box socks.

    Comment


    • #3
      I reckon pc's instead of dvds, set top boxes and the rest of the shit you can buy is the cheapest way to do it. Network them together, get a wireless mouse and mini keyboard. Have it as just the tv puter and network it to a server connected to the net and with all your hard drives in it. Digital tuner card, 5.1 sound card and the right programs and your set for a long long time, no upgrades ever needed and its cheap as chips to replace if it does cook itself.
      Sit down and watch a dvd while recording a show, then check the net for the latest news, watch tv for a little while, turn some music on, chat to peoples, could even set up a survellence system.
      Its the future!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by big_harold@Oct 25 2005, 10:13 AM
        buddy of mine uses his chipped X-box, networked to his primary desktop PC as his "media centre".

        You can then access and play everything from MP3's, avi's the works that are stored on the desktop PC in the other room.
        I believe, but dont quote me, that he can still get full 5.1 audio but as I have not looked too closely I am not sure.

        anyway - it may be the cheaper option.

        big_harold
        [snapback]177376[/snapback]
        This is what I use also and it works an absolute treat. Using XBOX Media Centre which has new versions coming out every few weeks with even more features then before. Already has a remote with the xbox etc.

        Xbox - ~$250
        Big HDD - ~$150
        Modchip ~ $100

        For $500 you cant go wrong. And as a bonus it plays xbox games as well

        EDIT: Here is the XBMC website incase you were interested.
        http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/info_screens.htm

        That is what is started out like. Now there are numerous groups that are making there own extended versions. Latest one Ive got has all kinds of shit. Streaming music videos from launch.com (this is awesome), Weather, TV guides, Latest movie trailers etc.

        A xbox is also smaller and easier to hide then a pc. Its also going to be quieter then a pc as well unless you invest big $$$ in super quiet case mods etc. Like I said you cant go wrong. And microsoft make a loss on every console apparently, so just by buying one and then not buying any games you are actually screwing them

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        • #5
          Ive got one of these suckers. Managed to pick one up for about $240 http://www.zensonic.com.au/z400.php

          If you want a dvd player with it as well then try http://www.z500series.com/ Not sure if its actually been released yet or not though.

          Ive had my Z400 for over a year now. love it. Its not perfect, but does the job and def cheaper than a home theatre PC or modded xbox.

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          • #6
            I run a HTPC with Windows Media Centre 2005. Its great for watching tv and scheduling programs to record but otherwise its just a glorified Windows XP. The case I purchased came with a remote. Case was 400 AUD. Without splurging on an expensive case, you can get a remote and IR USB receiver with the DVICO TV Tuner card. This TV card comes with its own program for viewing television and scheduling recording, though I have not tried it.

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            • #7
              Mate, Windows XP Pro and a free bit of kit called Media Portal.

              http://mediaportal.sourceforge.net/

              It's a competitor to all of the others (Windows XP MCE, Meedio, Sage, Beyond Media, MythTV, etc etc). But it's FREE.

              It's in constant development and currently at version 0.1.3 - I'll be the first to admit that it's not as stable as I'd like, but version 0.2.0 is coming out next month and should address a lot of those stability issues.
              Originally posted by http://www.textsfromlastnight.com
              (626): I'm trying this new thing, it's called standards

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              • #8
                Yeah, was looking at the Media portal site last night. Looks basically the same as MCE.
                Just trying to get my head around what to use and what i`ll need to replace a few of the boxes currently sitting in my tv cabinet.
                Also, Ive looked at Meedio too, although its a pay thingy, but should be better support and stability.
                Im slightly confused tho..surely if something is designed to work under XP, then you run the media portal, why is there compatibility issues? Doesnt it just use the XP driver to work in Media portal? or is there special drivers just for media portal/MCE?

                Just got to work out if its what i want to do. My missus has enough trouble figuring out the system as it is, without introducing a PC into the system!

                So..just to help me out a little...a basic HTPC setup is a decent PC, with a HDTV tuner in, a half decent sound card (AC3 or optical out) to link into my surround amp, and a graphics card to link into a TV/Plasma right?
                Then you get a wireless keyboard thingy (seen the official MCE one and its wireless and has the mouse built in), and I should be set...oh and the software.
                Crikey..i can see my card will be melting by the end of the month!

                Does the PS2 have anything like the Xbox thingo?

                Cheers

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                • #9
                  Ok... I have been playing with the HTPC thing for a while now...

                  MEDIAPORTAL
                  Has great potential... but does not measure up to Windows MCE... YET...

                  Windows MCE 2005
                  All hail the mighty god Bill. Well almost... this is the best thats available now. Its a nicely polished product that is fairly easy to use to a humble pc user. Since the "Roll Up 2 updates" only released a few weeks ago, things have gotten even better, because before there was an issue with High Definition channels having no sound.

                  As far as ease of use goes... if you have problems programming a VCR then chances are... you're still going to have problems. Its still in its infancy and in a few years im sure things will be very different.
                  If you can... you MUST!

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                  • #10
                    What are the min specs for MCE? I havent been able to find details on that......

                    Seems mythtv is one of the lowest min specs so far, mediaportal requires a 1.4gig machine....but couldnt find the min specs for MCE on microshafts website.
                    Nitrous is like a hot girl with STD's, you know you wanna hit it, but you are afraid of the consequences!

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                    • #11
                      I think MCE is only available as an all in one solution - i.e., you can't buy the software on its own - well, was like that when I came across it last year...
                      I can't think what more you could possibly need to know... except maybe this:

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                      • #12
                        MCE is OEM software... that means that you cant buy it by itself you have to buy it with non-peripheral hardware (I.E. internal computer bits n pieces).
                        If you can... you MUST!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Klink@Oct 25 2005, 04:08 PM
                          MCE is OEM software... that means that you cant buy it by itself you have to buy it with non-peripheral hardware (I.E. internal computer bits n pieces).
                          [snapback]177588[/snapback]
                          Cool, that's ok then - when I read about MCE it had just come out and was only licensed through DELL and someone else (I think) at that stage - always someone willing to sell OEM stuff without having to purchase other bits (even though you're not supposed to), and even if you have to buy another hard drive it might be worth it...

                          I've seen remotes such as NIVEUS RF & IR REMOTE CONTROL WITH USB DONGLE on this site ClickMe (sorry, you will have to seardch their site for it, can't grab a direct link) - but I reckon a modded X-Box is the way to go bang for buck.
                          I can't think what more you could possibly need to know... except maybe this:

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tigerleo62@Oct 25 2005, 05:37 PM
                            Cool, that's ok then - when I read about MCE it had just come out and was only licensed through DELL and someone else (I think) at that stage - always someone willing to sell OEM stuff without having to purchase other bits (even though you're not supposed to), and even if you have to* buy another hard drive it might be worth it...

                            I've seen remotes such as NIVEUS RF & IR REMOTE CONTROL WITH USB DONGLE on this site ClickMe (sorry, you will have to seardch their site for it, can't grab a direct link) - but I reckon a modded X-Box is the way to go bang for buck.
                            [snapback]177643[/snapback]

                            Might as well wrap up a few of my replies in one post:

                            - No HDTV sound in XP MCE - Also seems to affect XP Pro as I had that issue with my HTPC. That is, until I installed Media Portal. Must've had a compatible codec or something.

                            - MCE licenced through Dell. Not really, but the first 2 editions were not available OEM. You could only get the licence with a new PC, and Dell happened to be one of the very few suppliers offering it in Oz. MCE 2005 is available OEM for the first time, however.

                            - The Niveus remote isn't bad. I have one. It's made by X10 (great products), but the software sucks royal ass. Can't assign macros or anything. eg, it's got a power button and I can't use the bloody button to either turn off the PC or wake it from USB (both of which I should be able to do)
                            Originally posted by http://www.textsfromlastnight.com
                            (626): I'm trying this new thing, it's called standards

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think the no sound has been resolved in the rollup 2 service pack for MCE which has just been released. But I have to admit, the Media Portal is looking better and better for flexibility and support. Most of the common types of card are supported.

                              Ive still got one problem. If I go ahead with this, how do people connect the sound from the PC into their home theatre amplifers?
                              I have a choice of RCA or optical inputs for the sound. Digital is only enabled when the optical cable is used (otherwise it reverts back to dolby prologic if the RCA inputs are used) I cant find any motherboards or sound cards that have the optical outputs.
                              Hows it done?

                              Thanks for the replies guys..my understanding is getting much better. Wish id got the Xbox now


                              Originally posted by shrike@Oct 25 2005, 10:27 PM
                              Might as well wrap up a few of my replies in one post:

                              - No HDTV sound in XP MCE - Also seems to affect XP Pro as I had that issue with my HTPC. That is, until I installed Media Portal. Must've had a compatible codec or something.

                              - MCE licenced through Dell. Not really, but the first 2 editions were not available OEM. You could only get the licence with a new PC, and Dell happened to be one of the very few suppliers offering it in Oz. MCE 2005 is available OEM for the first time, however.

                              - The Niveus remote isn't bad. I have one. It's made by X10 (great products), but the software sucks royal ass. Can't assign macros or anything. eg, it's got a power button and I can't use the bloody button to either turn off the PC or wake it from USB (both of which I should be able to do)
                              [snapback]177818[/snapback]

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