High Def Forum - Your High Definition Community & High Definition Resource

Go Back   High Def Forum - Your High Definition Community & High Definition Resource > General Chit Chat > Computers/HTPCs
Rules HDTV Forum Gallery LINK TO US! RSS - High Def Forum AddThis Feed Button AddThis Social Bookmark Button Groups

Computers/HTPCs A place to discuss your computer setups, PC requirements, ATI Wonder Card, etc. RSS - Computers/HTPCs

Building my own HTPC??

Reply
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-22-2005, 04:50 PM   #1
High Definition is the definition of life.
 

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 154
Default Building my own HTPC??



Looking for help. I continue to try to figure out whether I'll buy or build.

Bottom line...need:
Extra storage to the DVR
Burnable DVD-R
HD viewing/compatible.
Internet connectivity, probably via access point to cable modem
Music storage _ maybe 200-250 cd/album contents
Some pictur storage....1gig max
Some gaming/surfing use.
Quiet, sleek a/v looking component to fit in with all my Silver A/V components and Kirk 5085.

Got snowed in today so couldnt shop, but surfed so much I'm considering buying a case, motherboard, and the other 7 components. Has anyone else gone this way? What should I know that I don't know? any help is appreciated.

DJ

PS.....HD content today was shotty at best...so PS2 and snowblowing won out.
__________________
Samsung HLP5085DLP
600 Watt Sony Home Theater
PS2, Motorola 6412 Comcast HD DVR
Toshiba 5970 HDMI DVD
HighdefDoug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2005, 01:17 PM   #2
High Definition is the definition of life.
 

Join Date: May 2004
Location: North Hills, Los Angeles, Ca
Age: 24
Posts: 609
Default

well, i would recommend different things depending on your experience with computers. if you have already built a computer before and know what you are doing, go for it. however, if this is your first one, i recommend that you still buy a computer, especially since HTPC are quite more advanced than a regular pc. Plus when you buy a HTPC, the integrity of Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition 2005 may be better than if you built it your self.
__________________
sonicularulus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2005, 02:14 PM   #3
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 18
Default PC Alchemy

Try this site: www.pcalchemy.com

They have quite a few h/w pieces that work with MCE2005.

MCE2005 is a fantastic product but it only supports over-the-air HD so far.

It should be able to satisfy all of your media requirements.

You can also by components from ncix.com.
kingbuzzo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2005, 10:59 PM   #4
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
 

Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 10
Default How to: Connecting Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Allright Here is the Challenge:
1)Panasonic 16:9 HD-ready-TV: 2 component video inputs; 1 DVI input; Dual Tuner PIP
2) Denon AVR 3600 Dolby Dig 5.1 (2 digital audio inputs); the expected S-video and composite audio/video inputs outputs; supports video switching
3) Time Warner Digital Cable HD w/ DVR - set-top-box (stb): Scientific Atlanta -Explorer 8000HD. 1 coax and 1 optical digital audio output; 1 DVI; 1 component video output; 2 composite audio/video inputs
4) Samsung Hi-Fi VCR with composite / s-video inputs/outputs one would expect

I have yet to figure out the how to make the right connection to properly utilize the dual tuner feature on my TV - specifically, how to access the split screen for 1 live program on each screen or 1 live program on half the screen and 1 recorded program on the other half.

Also, today, I ordered a Dell Dimension 8400 Desktop PC with the features below. I will likely be placing the tower in near the entertainment center and subscribe to Time Warner's broadband service (via cable modem). I cannot get Fox (i.e. the super bowl this year) do to Sinclair Broadcasting's greed. Therefore, I may purchase a over-the-air (OTA) stb (any economical suggestions?)
DELL Spec's: Dimension 8400 Pentium® 4 Processor 540 with HT Technology (3.20GHz, 800 FSB) S328H [221-5711] 1
Operating System Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center 2005 Edition WMCE
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 400MHz (2x512M) 1GB4P [463-1259] 3
Keyboard Dell Wireless Keyboard and Optical Mouse WIREKM [310-4164] 4
Video Card 128MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon™ X300 SE X300SE [320-3934] 6
160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive(7200RPM)w/ Native Command Queuing 160SP [463-6663] 8
Mouse Mouse included in Dell Wireless Package N [310-1966] 12
Network Interface Integrated Gigabit Ethernet IN [430-0742] 13
CD ROM/DVD ROM Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability 16DVDRW [313-3010][420-5079] 16
Sound Card Integrated 5.1 Channel Audio IS [313-2758] 17

I plan to rip most of CD's (200+) to the hard drive and copy over 20GB of mp3's downloaded in the days when Napster was free and legit). The end goal is to have a digital media hub (i.e. mp3's, digital pictures, etc..) that has its video displayed over the HDTV and has its audio sourced through the Denon. I also assume I'll be able to browse the web while using the HDTV as the display? In addition to the dual turner connection question above, I'd like to hear some suggestions as to:

1) The best way to incorporate the PC into my home theatre
2) How I would best incorporate a OTA stb and hear any recommendations as to an economical model as I really need it for just two TV stations owned by Sinclair in the Columbus, OH area (FOX & ABC).
3) How I would use the PC as a secondary DVR (in addition to the TW stb)
4) Any general words of wisdom or other options that warrant investigation?


Regards! Any and all feedback is welcome.

Last edited by marricci; 01-29-2005 at 11:07 PM.
marricci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2005, 11:19 PM   #5
High Definition is the definition of life.
 

Join Date: May 2004
Location: North Hills, Los Angeles, Ca
Age: 24
Posts: 609
Default

okay...
1. your new pc is running and designed for Windows Media Center 2005. This means...your pc is like a home theater system.
2. dont know much for situation number 2
3. Your pc is designed to be a DVR so upon receiving it, read the manual to find out. it should say.
4. with only 160GB of hard drive space, you may quickly consider buying an external hard drive once your done with: copying your cd collection, copying your "free and legit" (hehe) mp3s, and recording your superbowl game in HD. Enjoy....
__________________
sonicularulus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2005, 02:29 PM   #6
Administrator
 
rbinck's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Katy, Texas
Posts: 15,965
Default

That a lot of stuff! Well let's wade into it and see where it goes.

Quote:

I have yet to figure out the how to make the right connection to properly utilize the dual tuner feature on my TV - specifically, how to access the split screen for 1 live program on each screen or 1 live program on half the screen and 1 recorded program on the other half.
You didn't supply the model of the Panny, but most Panasonic TVs will not allow a HD program while the pip mode is used. Others will. It is easy to check. While watching HD material, press the PIP and see if the PIP window will come up. If it does not, then your TV will not allow HD content with PIP operation and you will need to use only SD material for the PIP. Now let's say the PIP window appeared. On just about every TV I know of will not allow HD sources in the PIP window, only SD sources. To determine what sources are available, find the button on the remote that will change the PIP input. Press it and note the inputs it cycles through. These will be the only inputs that the PIP will be able to use. Most likely it will be the SD video inputs and the two built in NTSC tuners. Your list of inputs did not say anything about SD video inputs, but I'm sure you have some. These inputs will be needed for you to be able to get the PIP to working.

Now to the questions.
Quote:
1) The best way to incorporate the PC into my home theatre
I would use the DVI input on the TV because you have the DVI output on your HTPC and that would save you needing a transcoder to use one of the component inputs.
Quote:
2) How I would best incorporate a OTA stb and hear any recommendations as to an economical model as I really need it for just two TV stations owned by Sinclair in the Columbus, OH area (FOX & ABC).
I have included a diagram that shows how I'd hook it up.


The hookup in the above diagram should allow you to view the analog cable and the SD output from the Denon receiver both directly and in the PIP window. I hooked up both the component outputs and the SD outputs out of the Denon as most home theater receivers require this because they do not output any SD video through the HD outputs. If yours will upconvert the SD inputs then you may not need the A/V connection between the Denon and the Panny, but you would possibly forgo the PIP viewing.

Quote:
3) How I would use the PC as a secondary DVR (in addition to the TW stb)
There is not any way to get a video signal input to the PC as far as I can tell. Different hardware would be required and the HDTV input equipment is very limited.
Quote:
4) Any general words of wisdom or other options that warrant investigation?
You didn't mention a DVD player even though I included it in the diagram for completeness. You could possibly use the PC for a DVD player, but may not be able to have 5,1 audio if the PC does not have a SPIDIF connection. There's probably one internal in the PC if Dell didn't provide an external connection, but you'd need a computer tech to locate and wire it out for you. It may be a moot point for you as there is not really enough digital inputs on the Denon anyway. You will need to decide which digital audio is important to you because right now you have two required, the TWC DVR and the OTA receiver, assuming you get it. You could use regular stereo audio for the OTA receiver and digital for the DVD.

In summary this hookup allows the PC, cable box and analog cable to be viewed without the Denon receiver having to be turned on. The DVD, the SVHS, the OTA box will require the Denon to be on to view those sources.

I will also suggest that you get a programmable remote control like the Universal Remote MX-700 or better to allow macros to be used to set up all of this. Assuming there are discrete codes available for all of this equipment, you can set buttons up on the remote to turn on and switch the inputs of all the multiple devices with a single button press.

Last edited by rbinck; 01-30-2005 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Added Summary
rbinck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2005, 09:36 AM   #7
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 18
Thumbs up Mce

I am hoping to acquire an STB this week before the Superbowl and I also have MCE 2005.

MCE doesn't do cable-fed HD (yet) only OTA and you would require the ATI decoder just to be able to record that. Microsoft still has to work out a dell with the evil content providers before they will allow a pc to record HD.

I am hoping to connect the DVI from the STB to the TV for HD content. Split the co-ax cable two more times - one for my cable modem and one for my ATI All-in-Wonder TV tuner to record SD broadcasts.

You would be able to view video from MCE or your STB if you connect it this way.

MCE will take care of downloading the tv guide content, your music/picture library and pretty much everything else. You will also get the MCE remote with that Dell setup.

Great diagram but you will have to split your cable signal to get internet and anything recorded via MCE.
kingbuzzo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2005, 01:01 AM   #8
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
 

Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 10
Default Signal Loss?

Thanks for the insight, gents. I have a concern about losing signal quality as a result of using a splitter. Is this a valid concern? Regardless, is there a certain brand of splitter that is "better" than most?

BTW, I just got the MCE PC yesterday and have been toying with it off and on for a couple of hours. I'm now running into the overscan issue I've read about in other postings by rbinck. I downloaded power strip and that helps but I'm not completely satisfied as I still lose a good portion of the screen.

I'm interested in exploring if I can access my TV's service menus. I have a Panasonic CT-34WX53 (direct view). I've done some cursory exploring to no avail. Does anyone know if it's possible to access the service menu's on this particular model? FYI - Unfortunately, I'm not too keen on the prospect of keeping a standard PC monitor permanently with my HT so I'm hoping I can figure something out.

Lastly, only having two digital audio ports (1 coax, 1 optical) on my Denon is really giving me the blues. There is another port labeled "AC3" but I think is strictly for use with a laser disc player. I'm wondering if there is a way to convert/adapt this port to accept a optical/coax digital audio signal???
Regards.

Last edited by marricci; 02-05-2005 at 01:12 AM.
marricci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2005, 11:14 AM   #9
Administrator
 
rbinck's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Katy, Texas
Posts: 15,965
Default

You may be able to do a google search and find the way into your service menu, but I don't recommend it. If you do anyway, be sure to go through the parameters and write down each factory value before doing anything else. Also be sure to research the information on your particular set to be as safe as possible. Many times you can inavertently screw up the parameters to where you have to send the set for repair. Some sets have menu items that require test equipment connected before connecting and if you enter these areas without the equipment connected, the TV will set bad prameters.

I don't want to get too technical, but as long as you know how to get to your width and height parameters, then those should be ok to change. The problem you may run into is many CRT sets do not have independant settings for each input, so changing the height and width to eliminate the overscan for your PC may also do that for your TV viewing and you may not want that. The first few lines contain data that will end up as video noise. Another problem is unless the sweep circuits for the TV and the power supply is rock solid, which most are not, the edges of the picture will be unstable. Wavy lines and misconvergence that wanders and changes due to content change being the most prevalent. In my experence you will not be able to adjust out enough overscan to be able to use it as a monitor without lowering the resolution of the desktop. This is done by creating a resolution within a resolution where the desktop is placed within the smaller resolution "window" that is sized to match the part of the HD frame that your TV will display. This is possible with some of the new ATI Catylst drivers, but I don't know if they will work with your video card. I know they work with Radeon cards.

Bottom Line
I would not spend a lot of time trying to get rid of overscan on a CRT based TV. One parameter often interacts with others and you end up like a dog chasing its tail.

As far as the splitter goes, it will depend on the quality of your cable feed. You could find a distribution amplifier or an inline amplifier before the splitter if it is a problem, but a splitter as shown in the diagram should not be a problem assuming your cable service is up to par. Look for a "low loss" or "high peformance" splitter. The lower the db loss value the better.

Lastly I would say if you want to get rid of the monitor you might think of getting a fixed pixel type display that has a PC connection to get away from all of the issues of a CRT. CRTs are fine TVs, but will make terrible computer monitors, imo.
rbinck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2005, 10:16 PM   #10
PC to HDTV?
 

Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2
Default

Back in Feb you thoroughly answered this fellow who had ordered a Dell Dimension 8400 Desktop PC

I am about to do the same but will not use the pc as a DVR since I have a Dish Sat. with a 322 dual tuner DVR.

I have a 52" LG rear projection LCD HD TV and plan on connecting with a VGA plug saving the DVI for a later coming HD DVR.

I am planning on a Logitec Dinovo Bluetooth wireless mouse and keyboard for use at up to 30' away.

I basicly want to use the LG as a computer monitor which seemed to work great in a Laptop vga connection test.

I intend to connect the computer to my other two dells with Cat 5 (using XP pro and Hard Drive mapping) and to the internet with DSL.

What advice given to others would apply to my situation and do you have any cautions for me? I have high hopes that this LG will work well with the 8400 having a high end video card and 1GB ram. Steve Chase
chaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2005, 10:55 PM   #11
Administrator
 
rbinck's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Katy, Texas
Posts: 15,965
Default

Sounds like you got it going just fine. Your LG with a VGA port is set up for monitor use, you just have to be careful to match up the PC with the proper resolution.
rbinck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2005, 11:27 AM   #12
PC to HDTV?
 

Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2
Default

By "careful" do you mean I could do some harm if the resolution isn't right? Seems like I remember reading something about resolutions cautions in one of your posts. Can you tell me where? Thanks again from Steve Chase
chaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2005, 04:37 PM   #13
Administrator
 
rbinck's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Katy, Texas
Posts: 15,965
Default

On CRT based sets it is possible to harm the set by feeding it the wrong resolution and timings. In your case I was thinking od being careful to select a resolution that would provide the proper aspect ratio of 16:9.
rbinck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2005, 10:40 PM   #14
Mr. Wizard
 

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ferndale, Michigan
Age: 66
Posts: 5,981
Default

Almost everything looks good, make sure you set a graphics res of 1280 x 720 @ 60 Hz, NOT 'optimal'... TVs only accept 60 Hz signals.

Your Dish DVR is only analog NTSC, not High Def. You need to upgrade it, and your service, to receive HDTV. You may also need to add another dish for the former VOOM HDTV channels...
RSawdey is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Go Back   High Def Forum - Your High Definition Community & High Definition Resource > General Chit Chat > Computers/HTPCs
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads to Building my own HTPC??
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR Video Capture device rbinck Computers/HTPCs 157 04-21-2013 05:09 AM
All Things Dragon Age! KEEBS1984 Gaming & Systems 77 12-15-2009 10:27 PM
HDM and You. Your Story. kamspy High Definition Media 26 03-17-2008 10:24 AM
Toshiba see's both formats coexisting!!! jay4highdef High Definition Media 73 11-25-2007 11:17 AM
JVC MONSTER or SXRD 01_01_01_11_00 Rear-Projection TVs 14 01-17-2006 06:50 PM
Picture quality: SD on an HD plasma. I'm confused. jmcoy Flat-Panel TVs 18 12-25-2005 04:29 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:02 PM.



Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright ©2004 - 2008, High Def Forum