Standalone HTPC, Or NAS Media server with cheaper HTPC at screen site?
I have decided I would like to build an HTPC system for my home media consumption. I am not sure if I should build a simple HTPC box, complete with hard drives, or if I should build a NAS media server that dishes out files through out the entire house, to multiple screens in various rooms, equipped with much smaller, cheaper HTPC's. To help you advise me, here are the capabilities I seek:
DVR/TiVo replacement capabilities. Must be able to stream one channel, while recording another. Must work with a rooftop OTA antennae for free HD tv, as well as stream whatever free TV I can find, and work to stream 1080p Netflix, via HDMI.
Ability to find and record content from a newsgroup that I will join
Would like the ability for sending the signal wirelessly from the HTPC or NAS media server to HDtv panels in my livingroom, bedroom, basement rec room, and kitchen. No HDtv panel will be more than 30 feet from the center of the house, where I would place the file server, or standalone HTPC.
Would like to spend $1,000 or less. Would like some small degree of 'overkill' for 'future-proofing'
The system will be hooked up to comcast cable internet.
As of right now, I only have 1 single HD screen, but I intend to buy the others within the next year, so the ability to send media to multiple devices is required. I would also like to be able to watch different media on different screen s at the same time, if possible.
I don't play many games, but I do have kids (oldest nearly 8), so if there is a case where spending a little more here or there would also allow the system to do some gaming, I would be interested in learning more.
I'm software agnostic between Microsoft and Linnux. XBMC looks really neat from what I have read, and I like that it looks to be free. I would prefer not to use any MAC hardware or software.
The world of HTPC is new to me, so if I have forgotten to answer any important questions, please let me know and I will reply and update this first post as well.
Thanks for any suggestions of help you can provide! Once I know the basic architectural path of what I should build, I can begin researching system components, and form a build plan.
Dan in Mpls