What is an HTPC to you?

This is a discussion on What is an HTPC to you? within the Home Theater forums, part of the Technology category; nice miah. can't miss the wii i am a bit jealous of everybody having a 5.1 surround. maybe i should get one. it's the wires, ...

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  1. #16
    TR Staff BoT's Avatar
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    nice miah. can't miss the wii
    i am a bit jealous of everybody having a 5.1 surround. maybe i should get one.
    it's the wires, the kids .. meh .. i gotta figure something out
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  2. #17
    TR Staff Neuromancer's Avatar
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    HTPC to me

    Been painting all day, so this might ramble a bit but...

    The biggest thing about having an HTPC for me is Flexibility and control.

    It is a replacement desktop when the kids are using the other downstairs PC.

    I can choose my own 10' UI. I like MC though so use that with some modifications (mediabrowser and metabrowser).

    I use Opera as my primary browser, currently my HTPC is attached to a cheap 720P screen so the ability to automatically shrink web content to fit my screen is a necessity.

    Recording TV. It *was my DVR for a long time, and the ability to pause live TV to hit the head or grab a beer is very nice, I would replace my cable box as well, just waiting for the cable card tuners to come down in price. (or me to have more money). I used my tuner for OTA signals mostly though with a home built fringe range antenna.

    Option to double as a media server. the HTPC is left on 24/7 at my house, rather than setup a server that would also be running constantly, it was more economical for me to just add storage drives to my HTPC. Important files are duplicated throughout the network so the only thing I would lose in a drive failure is video files, no need for a server for that.

    Most importantly though is the capability to control the playback of my audio video files in FFDshow. At this point I have really only used audio adjustments as the video settings are a little over my head, but I would like to learn that as well. I can normalize audio or change speaker levels in a couple of mouse clicks instead of futzing around with the receivers "setup" menus. This is really important for me, as keeping the audio loud enough to hear the quiet scenes when the kids are in bed, means I don't have to panic grab the remote when an explosion goes off in a movie.



    What physically constitutes an HTPC is different for everybody. From an ATOM IONITX PC to a multicore behemoth that can handle recoding your BDROMs for file storage while it records and stores your live TV streams and plays back 1080P media without skipping a beat.

    My current HTPC is in a server chassis, the first awesome receiver I saw in my life was a highend carver setup that was entirely rackmounted. So the desk I built was designed to be able to hold 2 server chassis and a rack mounted receiver, but, reality and a fixed income made that not happen.

    With no limits, my HTPC would be a beastly server. I would use RF and bluetooth to control everything so that the only thing I would need to look at in my media room would be the screen and maybe the speakers. No lights flashing no noise, just smooth uninterrupted lines. There are some great project logs over at AVSforums where guys have thrown up a wall in their media room to hide all of their equipment. I deal to me, I hate having all these differnet boxes under the TV. (cable modem, router, HTPC, receiver, cable box, Wii, Keyboard etc).

    Currently I am using an unlocked sempron140 and 890GX IGP, and it can still handle me RDPing into it while it streams data to my WDTV live upstairs and the kids are watching a HD movie. I do want to beef it up though maybe a AMD quad or Bulldozer with the next IGP and water cooling to keep it cool and quiet. Probably will not do a case though, but go back to my first HTPC mod were I mounted the computer into a TV stand.

    I have been using a PC instead of a TV since 2004. Even when it was not a "HTPC" I would full screen video playing on one monitor while I gamed on another. I am a multi-mon whore.
    Last edited by Neuromancer; 05-17-2011 at 09:48 PM.
    Beer drinking is like finger painting. When you are young, you do not care what you stick your fingers into as long as you got to do it. When you are older, eww Heineken? I really want a beer that comes from the factory skunked?


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  3. #18
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    Server and why a seperate server instead of using my HTPC.

    CPU: G6950
    MB: P7H55D-M EVO
    Memory: 4GB Gskill 1600
    Boot Drive: 250GB WD SATAIII
    Storage: 2TB WD SATAII
    Backup Storage: 2TB WD USB 2.0 My Book with sync capability.
    Optical: External DVD RW
    No KB, Monitor or mouse at the moment




    I just use remote desktop but I plan on an HDMI pass through (have it just not installed) with a wireless HTPC mini keyboard controller so the projector is not the only video source for stored media or streaming in the theater/cinema room.


    I have a VCR/DVD combo hooked up through a dazzel capture device to get video onto the server. I guess this would be the heart of my network.

    I use the server because of the expandability of a mid tower case. If I had things set up like Neuro this may not be necessary but ATM it is not possible.

    From this I feed the HTPC noted in post 11 as well as:

    Home Cinema PC:

    CPU MB Combo: E350
    HDD: 250GB WD SATAIII
    KB/Mouse: Full size in compartment with HTPC
    Optical: LITE-ON 4X BD-ROM
    MEM: 4GB single channel GSkill 1333
    Case: Sentey Slim 2422 Slim Flex Case



    I have 2 streaming devices as well in the form of a Wii and a PS3. The Wii does netflix and using the component hookup I really can't see a diffrence between 480p and 1080p at my normal viewing distance of ~20 feet.

    One more I use for streaming netflix and HULU is:

    Multipurpose PC mostly used for streaming
    CPU: Athlin II 620 @ 3.8
    MB: Biostar 790GX 128 using integrated GFX
    MEM: 8GB GSkill 800 cas4 DDR2

    This PC has no server access.

    I have more rigs but they are not used for media playback unless it is the NetBook hooked up in the Van for some captured movie playback.
    Last edited by Archer; 05-18-2011 at 09:29 AM.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  4. #19
    TR Staff BoT's Avatar
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    here are a couple of pictures of my setup:
    SNV17266_2.jpg SNV17265_2.jpg

    SNV17267_2.jpg
    Codisha | Farm | F@H | Heat

  5. #20
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    Current and projected network setup.

    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  6. #21
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoT View Post
    here are a couple of pictures of my setup:
    SNV17266_2.jpg SNV17265_2.jpg

    SNV17267_2.jpg
    Nice and clean nothing taking away from the purpose. Looks good.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  7. #22
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    Some more specs:

    Closed network router is a Linksys 300N with Gigabit ports using CAT6 wire.
    Internet and wireless sharing is a Belkin 300N.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  8. #23
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    So I guess to me an HTPC is a NODE on an entire home entertainment experience. The network does not have to be there but after looking at my posts and mt OP that is my best response. I guess a WD live can funceion as a component of this network and can replace an HTPC that is not used to its fullest potential as can an internet ready device.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  9. #24
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    I will not be renewing my subdcription to Maximum PC

    Looking back a post 6 and rereading the level 0 how does this look?

    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/how...htpc_less_1000

    $944 on a streaming BOX? The senior editor (Gordon Ung) has lost his mind. There are streaming Blu-Ray players that can do everything this box can except some of the site based media playback. For some reason I think the parts were laying around and he just decided to make an article of it. Total waste of money IMHO.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  10. #25
    TR Staff The Duke's Avatar
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    LOL that is a joke!
    Intel I7 920 @ 4.3 // ASUS 580 // ASUS Rampage III Extreme // 3x2GB Mushkin// Antec TPQ 1200w// Water Cooled

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  11. #26
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    Well there are readers out who will follow this crap.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  12. #27
    TR Staff Neuromancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer View Post
    Looking back a post 6 and rereading the level 0 how does this look?

    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/how...htpc_less_1000

    $944 on a streaming BOX? The senior editor (Gordon Ung) has lost his mind. There are streaming Blu-Ray players that can do everything this box can except some of the site based media playback. For some reason I think the parts were laying around and he just decided to make an article of it. Total waste of money IMHO.
    Way over budget. I would take a media player over that PC anyday. As a dedicated HT unit.

    Unfortunately I have to yet to reliably browse the web or check email from my media player.

    And I also have a SFF PC in the front room. Built on AMD for 1/8th that cost For desktop usage
    Beer drinking is like finger painting. When you are young, you do not care what you stick your fingers into as long as you got to do it. When you are older, eww Heineken? I really want a beer that comes from the factory skunked?


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  13. #28
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neuromancer View Post
    Way over budget. I would take a media player over that PC anyday. As a dedicated HT unit.

    Unfortunately I have to yet to reliably browse the web or check email from my media player.

    And I also have a SFF PC in the front room. Built on AMD for 1/8th that cost For desktop usage
    Well the funny thing is he chose that CPU for the article over the E350 that in their own benchmark tests wins 40% chosen benches. The E350, Atom w/ION and many other options are better at everything but the CPU intensive work. Don't get me wrong I would have that CPU in an HTPC but not in that money wasting configuration.

    My main HTPC cost around that much and though it throws efficency out the window it will stomp that POS into the ground and pick its teeth with the bones.

    My question is this: Streaming box and they run; Photoshop CS3, MainConcept, 3D Mark 03, Quake III and Quake 4 benches. What the hell does this show? It is a screwed up mix of nothing.
    Last edited by Archer; 06-09-2011 at 11:04 AM.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




  14. #29
    Cases and Modding Moderator Enigma8750's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer View Post

    Did you make this picture.. I love the detail. It is so easy to understand.
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  15. #30
    Terminator Administrator Archer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enigma8750 View Post
    Did you make this picture.. I love the detail. It is so easy to understand.
    I used EDraw Max. I love the librarys. Sad thing is this is a demo and I have 2 days left.
    People that buy OEM systems think Linux was a Charlie Brown character, a registry is something you see at target to buy shower gifts, RAM is a Dodge truck and a hard drive is DC at rush hour.
    Current Active Fleet:
    Daily Driver - Phenom II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 890GX GFX Bedroom PC - Athlon II X4 @ 3.6, 8GB Ram, 790GX GFX
    Entertainment Room HTPC & Madia/File Server - Pentium G6950 @ 3.5, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX Living Room HTPC - i5 661 @3.7, 10GB Ram, 6770 GFX
    Entertainment Room Cinema - Brazos E350, 4GB Ram, On Chip GFX (Projector) Game Rig - i5 2500K @ 4.5, 12GB Ram, 465GTX + 9800GT (PhysX) using intel SRT




 

 
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