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Bare Essential for a MC PC

Discussion in 'Home Theater PC' started by extrememc, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. extrememc

    extrememc Member

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    What are the bare essential to build a media center pc? I would like it to be my pvr, fm turner, and mass storage or the ability to play files from a server. Any direction on this would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. seamonkey

    seamonkey Regular member

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    here's my system and what it does:

    i have a HTPC/PVR system.. but a non microsoft media center, rather i used SageTV as my PVR frontend.. great app, tivo like features, built in program guide (for USA, have to make custom for other countries) and tons of awesome stvs and addons ( i made a script to auto-convert your movies to wmv and then create a basic webportal with links to the encoded movies embedded into a webpage media player.. :) )..

    here's a link to the sagetv site: http://sage.tv


    for hardware you need these (full system, starting from scratch):

    -CPU/Processor (i use an AMD Athlon 64 3000+, HT/SSE preferred since your prob going to be encoding video..)
    -Motherboard (compatible with processor)
    -Memory (512mb minium, i run 1GB, DDR400 memory)
    -large harddrive (need to store the shows, expect about 1gb for a 30minutes of mpg2 recordings, good quality; i have a total of 120gb dedicated to just my tv shows [280gb of total storage w/2 internal drives, 1 external hd])
    -video card (depends, do you game or no?)
    -TV Tuner card (i'd recommend one that can do stereo sound, i have a avermedia pvr100)
    -case, powersupply
    -any other drives (cd, dvd burner, etc..)

    hope that gives you a start!
    peace
    seamonkey420
     
  3. seamonkey

    seamonkey Regular member

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    oh yea.. for the tv tuner card.. be sure it has an mpeg hardware encoder (meaning, the card will encode it to mp2 so your pc doesn't have to convert it, allows for minimal cpu usuage!)

    post ?s when you get them

    peace
    seamonkey420
     
  4. rebootjim

    rebootjim Active member

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    You don't need a 3ghz, 64 bit CPU. A reliable P4/AMD 1.4ghz (or faster), will work.
    You don't need a gig of RAM.
    You don't need SageTV.
    You don't need XPMCE.

    You DO need:
    2 hard drives (preferrably) one for the OS/programs, and one (fast and big) for storage/capture/playback.
    A hardware encoder card (Hauppauge PVR 150/250/350/500 series), with remote.
    A higher end, DirectX 9 capable video card, with TV out.
    Some PVR software. I prefer free...GB-PVR or Mediaportal.
    Windows XP.
     
  5. extrememc

    extrememc Member

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    Seamonkey Why did you use sagetv as your os?
     
  6. rebootjim

    rebootjim Active member

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    Sage supports a lot of freaky, off the wall cards. Often, it's the only 3rd party PVR software that does, however...MediaPortal also supports a ton of different cards, but people shy away, because it's open source, and requires a very robust computer to run.
    Things like Sage, Beyond, GB-PVR and such, don't require such a computer, and free stuff like GB-PVR only supports a select few of the best cards, not every cheaper one on the market.
     
  7. seamonkey

    seamonkey Regular member

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    i used sagetv due to the customizability of it..

    the EPG (eletronic program guide is very nice!) is great and looks nice... tons of cool plugins like the webserver plugin that lets you update your recording schedule via the web, or the batch process i made for converting my watched/recorded shows to wmv for web streaming, more compatibility than most programs w/tuners, and the best is prob the Weather Suite add-in that you can customize to show you weather for your area, and more.. (i have mine setup to show me the local weather, 5 day forecast, current traffic map, images from the local traffic cameras (updated every 15 mins), and the national weather map..

    :)

    and yes, the free software solutions are good too, but require a lil more work to get setup and so on..

    as for specs, sorry if mine were inflated, just naming off what i run.. my HTPC is my main pc too... my media server is in the works, i plan to add 2 or 3 capture cards to it and then use sagetv recorder and setup network encoders.. :)
    hopefull on demand tv via the web at some point...

    peace
    seamonkey420
     
  8. rebootjim

    rebootjim Active member

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    GB-PVR can do all that, and more, especially when run as a pure PVR. You can control the whole computer, and do anything on it you normally would, using the remote and joystick.
    I love being able to play Doom3 on my bigscreen while recording a couple of shows, and I don't have to get up and go to the computer to do it :)
     

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