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Old 10-27-2012, 02:36 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3
Default 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.

Thanks again!

Dan in Mpls
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:47 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 7,121

an i5 win7 box with a centon 4 tuner card. nothing beats win7 media center right now. pull files from a cheap low power network share computer that stays on 24/7.
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:16 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2012
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I use my HTPC as a media center and a NAS.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:31 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 2

I am in the exact same boat as you. I have been trying to decide which way to go and have been researching everything I can find about this. Most of my research has been through reddit's /r/htpc subreddit, which is where I found this forum.

Anyways here are my thoughts so far...

I would go with the central media server and small box at each tv (this is the way I am leaning myself). The only difference I would suggest is that you hard wire your server with cat 5 cable to each room, instead of using wifi.

I am looking into building a cheap box with a blue ray player for each tv and having a central storage server that is setup to automatically download new content when it becomes available and keep everything organized.

I am very new to all of this so I am still learning but I am looking for the cheapest way to do everything.

Edit to add: if you don't need a dvd/blue ray player for each tv you might look at the WDTV for your box at each tv. They run about $100 a piece.

Last edited by BobSacramanto; 10-30-2012 at 09:56 AM. Reason: forgot stuff
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:23 PM   #5
Cerpin Taxt
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Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 11,158

I had originally set up my HTPC to be NAS as well, since I also stream media to my WD Live Tv unit at another place in my house. I have a server box that I use to do all my downloading, but the bulk of my storage is built into my HTPC, so consequently I'm always having to do huge file transfers of the server to free up space for new downloads.

It's really a backwards setup, and very soon I'm going to reconfigure everything so that all my storage is in one place and finished downloads go where they're supposed to the first time so that they are immediately available.
"A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets." ~ Arthur C. Clarke.

Always nice to meet another solipsist...
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