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Old 12-08-07, 04:15 PM   #1
six_storm
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Default My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Hello fellow NV'ers. It's finally time for me to start putting together my first HTPC and I would like to share the experience with you all. So let's get started.

PURPOSE
1. Be able to watch all analog and digital channels provided by Comcast.
2. Record/Schedule Record TV shows.
3. Play both DVD discs and movies backed up on an internal hard drive.
4. Play backed up music from both my collection and the future wifey's collection.
5. Eventually play HD-DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, or both.
6. Be able to access any content above on any trusted PC/Laptop on my network.
7. Be able to access any content above using XBOX 360's extender.

What I Have So Far
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4300
RAM: 2X1GB Corsair XMS DDR2-800
Video Card: MSI 8600GT Twin Turbo
Hard Drive: TBB (To be bought)
Power Supply: Rosewill 450 Watts
CD/DVD Drive: Old DVD-ROM Drive, will be replacing
Operating System: See Below
Case: See Below

Planning on Buying
1. 4x250GB Hard Drives (No RAID right off the bat, don't see the point)
2. New SATA DVD-ROM Drive
3. Copy of Windows Vista Home Premium (I only have Vista Ultimate x64, no product key)
4. CoolerMaster Elite 330 Case

Ok, so now you know the basics of my project. I basically want to build not only a HTPC for my main TV, but I also want it to be a media server that serves all of my PCs and Laptops on my network. Later on in the future, I would like to have this connected with speakers that run through the entire house. Doesn't sound too hard of a project, HOWEVER, getting everything the way you want it takes quite some time.

What Have I Done So Far?
First, I bought a Hauppauge HVR-1600 TV Tuner card and to be honest, IT SUCKS. I was really hoping on better quality out of this card but all I see is cheap parts with cheap, useless software. I tried using Vista's MCE to configure the card and scan for channels using my Comcast Motorola STB, but it's a no go. Once it is manually configured, I get no digital channels, only analog. Even a simple Firewire cable and VLC captures my digital channels in 1080i!!! I'm taking it back tonight and replacing it for Visiontek's HD 600 Wonder PCI-e solution.

I did manage to test out Vista's MCE TV capabilities today and I'm stunned. I'm really digging the interface and the ease of recording, playback, TV guide and movie guide. Can't wait to get everything set up the way I want it.

This process will take a bit of time because money is short. I will be getting a new case probably this week, following with a copy of Vista HP right after Christmas time. Then a new hard drive will be in the mix in January.

Hope you guys enjoy this worklog, I've never done one before so keep an eye out for updates. Thanks guys!
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Old 12-08-07, 08:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Just got back from CC and BB, only a little disappointed. They did not have the Visiontek HD600, but rather only had the USB stick model instead. I did buy the Visiontek HD650 which has dual TV tuners for about $40 more than what I spent last night. I won't get to try it out until tomorrow night so I'll post more impressions later!
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Old 12-09-07, 12:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Ok Six,will follow this thread,good luck with the build
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Old 12-09-07, 08:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy sung
Ok Six,will follow this thread,good luck with the build
Thanks! This will be a fun project, even though it might take a while to buy everything I want for it. Being broke sucks.
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Old 12-09-07, 08:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

analog tuners... yuck The 550 was such a load of BS to bad to it really hurt the 650 upon release.You might not know this but there was a 20 thousand some post thread over at hexus made by yours truly. (before I was banned ) I was really following the tuner from its announcement till its release. What happened was they dropped support for there own software and then backed third party's for a profit. They even went as far as altering current working software so that it would no longer function. It was a pretty big deal. Then there drivers had IRQ issues on certine boards and then they didn't implement driver comb filters for the first month after release and it took even longer to get control of the enhancements like sharpening. It really was a huge flop among those that were interested.
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Old 12-09-07, 11:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

You might want to have a look at mythtv. Its can be a little finicky to setup but once its running it works great. Does everything you need except for perhaps that 360 extender stuff. It will record over firewire same as vlc.
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Old 12-09-07, 01:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lunix
You might want to have a look at mythtv. Its can be a little finicky to setup but once its running it works great. Does everything you need except for perhaps that 360 extender stuff. It will record over firewire same as vlc.
Yeah, I'm going to play around with it before I buy my copy of Vista. But like you said, it won't work with the 360 extender and I need that. Once I get married, I'll have this media server in my living room with my other PC and X360 in my office, thus sharing TV channels, movies, music and such.
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Old 12-09-07, 08:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Alright. As you may know, I bought the Visiontek HD650 last night and I still can't get any of my local channels in HD! Comcast apparently has encrypted the channels and I can't get anything! If I get a connection through the cable box, the resolution goes straight down the crapper, due to the coaxial connection no doubt.

I guess that I'm going to keep the card for right now and here's the reason why. I have a small side project to do for my mom. She has a few 8MM camcorder tapes and VHS tapes she wants converted over to DVD. Also, this card does just fine with analog channels. I've been using Vista's MCE via XBOX 360, recording parts of movies and such. I really wish this would work with my HD channels, at least the basic local ones but I guess I'll have to wait until I move out (put an antenna up or something).

I'm just really surprised at Vista's MCE TBH. Everything is real easy and fast to set up, recording is nice and fast and sharing media is really easy too. Can't wait to get everything set up the way I want it!

Once I get my case and a copy of Vista in, I'll start taking pictures of all my components. Sorry for the lack of pics lol. Thanks for viewing guys! Any input will greatly be appreciated.
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Old 12-09-07, 10:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

did you consider HD channels over the air?

theres only the local channels, but most ppl's favorite shows are on local stations (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, etc.)
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Old 12-09-07, 11:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViN86
did you consider HD channels over the air?

theres only the local channels, but most ppl's favorite shows are on local stations (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, etc.)
Yeah, but my parent's house is out in a stick a little bit and even a $80 HD antenna doesn't pick up signals very well. Just gotta wait until I move next summer I guess.
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Old 12-10-07, 01:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

You need a qam tuner and a molded cable box Or pick upa cable card off of ebay thats been tweaked and a decent tuner with cable card support.
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Old 12-10-07, 09:17 AM   #12
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Default Re: My HTPC Project (Worklog)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mythy
You need a qam tuner and a molded cable box Or pick upa cable card off of ebay thats been tweaked and a decent tuner with cable card support.
Both tuner cards I've had this weekend are QAM tuner cards. It's just Comcast encrypts the HD channels like a witch (with a B) so I can't decrypt them unless I have a cable box.
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