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Old 11-22-2012, 05:32 PM   #1
vikkid_x2
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Join Date: Nov 2012
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Default Building the HTPC for a dream home theater setup

I am trying to come up with a game-plan(hardware, architecture etc) for setting up a home theater in my newly purchased home. I believe that in addition to the projector, AV receiver & speakers, I will need to add an HTPC to the mix, to be- central media store, dvr, media server to multiple rooms etc...

The following is a list of features that I need my HTPC to be capable of doing; please suggest components(hardware, software etc) that can help me achieve this. Also, feel free to tell me I'm crazy to think I can pull this one off

Features of the home theater
1. Central server which accepts & plays all kinds of media(file, cd, dvd, blue-ray etc).
2. Ability to distribute media to multiple outlets at home - 4 video outlets(2 of them 3D), 6 audio outlets( one 7.1,one 5.1, one 2.1 & three stereo)
3. High quality video & audio playback at all outlets.
4. Sleek interface to select stored media/tv(egs: XMBC, WMC7) at each outlet(via rf remote/ device such as ipad..)
5. Dvr multiple shows at the same time(or simultaneously record and watch shows).
6. Watch live tv in multiple locations( at least 4 simultaneously)
7. Watch tv and other media simultaneously(4 outlets)
8. Watch tv and listen to music simultaneously (worst case = 4 video(tv+movie), 2 audio)
9. Ability to plug in devices(USB, hdmi etc) at any outlet to available for streaming at other locations.
10. Ability to transfer files from various devices either via usb(from outlet locations) or wirelessly (from anywhere in the house).
11. Use an atx case but keep it in a closet(no line of sight)
12. Ability to play games in the home theater room.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:34 PM   #2
Mfusick
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Budget?
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:36 PM   #3
vikkid_x2
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I am hopinging to spend not more than $7000, this includes the projector($2k), screen($0.5k), the av receiver($1k), speakers & the htpc.
Just an fyi... i do have a PC that I use as an htpc now. I am hoping to reuse most of the components. This PC is as follows-

Case - Antec Performance One P180B
PSU - Antec True Power Trio TP3-550 550W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply with Three 12V Rails
Motherboard Gigabyte EP45-UDGL LGA775(ntel P45 + ICH10 Chipset)
CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
GPU - SAPPHIRE 100186L Radeon X1950XT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Memory 6GB Crucial Ballistix (2 x 1GB + 2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model
Hard Drive Around 1.5TB total
Fan - Thermaltake CL-P0310 120mm CPU Cooling Fan
BLUE ray Drive- LG Blue Ray RW drive with lightscribe.
DVD Drive DVD- R/W drive
TV Tuner - Hauppauge colossus internal tv tuner card
OS - Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

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Old 11-22-2012, 11:59 PM   #4
Mfusick
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If you replace the video card with a more modern low end card and add SSD for operating system you can prob sneak by with that setup.

Otherwise a decent HTPC is going to run you about $400
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:17 AM   #5
vikkid_x2
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Thanks Mfusick.... The video card was one I wanted to replace since its fan can be loud at times. Apart from this, I was planning to add the ceton infinitv tuner & probably add liquid cooling. The only problem with adding liq cooling is that I dont know how long I can pull on with my motherboard+cpu.
In terms of video output; would I need an SLI or crossfire setup to handle things like multiple video output? I do plan on using extenders for 2 of my 4 video outlets, but will need to have independent video output(1 live-tv & 1 move for instance) for the other 2 outlets which will be routed via a receiver.... but in order to add an extra video card, I may need to replace the motherboard.
If you had to recemmond a motherboard + CPU combo for my HT, what would it be? Also, what kind of video card(s) should I be looking to buy?
Do you have opinions on how I could achive my dreams of distributing audio & video to multiple outlets? What hardware will I need to achive this?

Thanks for your time.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:49 PM   #6
Mfusick
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Honestly- I think you would be happier with a newer modest $500 build.

Simply because new hardware seems to work well with new hardware.

I find when I build a modern PC all at the same time the parts work well together.

When I retrofit and older PC with newer cards, tuners and stuff... weird stuff happens.

Just my advice.

You can build a really nice HTPC for $500.

You can build a capable cheap HTPC minus tuner card for $250

I'd look at something like:

$69 Asrock h77 board
$25 Gskill DDR3 8GB
$50 G630 CPU
$80 120GB SSD
-----------------------
$225 plus case and PSU. You can get case an PSU in HTPC style for as cheap $39 or as much as you want.

$90 for a 3TB storage drive if your doing local storage.

It's not extreme cost, and probably better than you have now. You can use integrated intel graphics.

It would be very silent and quiet. Very power efficient. That would save you $20 a year vs your current set up in electricity if you plan to have it a couple years.

You do not need video card for multiple video output. Most motherboards like the Asrocks have HDMI and also DVI or VGA too. If you needed a modest video card- it's like $30 but I doubt you need it.

I think you should look into the HDPRIME tuner... it's on sale at newegg right now.

It sounds like something you might want.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:53 PM   #7
Mfusick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikkid_x2 View Post
I am trying to come up with a game-plan(hardware, architecture etc) for setting up a home theater in my newly purchased home. I believe that in addition to the projector, AV receiver & speakers, I will need to add an HTPC to the mix, to be- central media store, dvr, media server to multiple rooms etc...

The following is a list of features that I need my HTPC to be capable of doing; please suggest components(hardware, software etc) that can help me achieve this. Also, feel free to tell me I'm crazy to think I can pull this one off

Features of the home theater
1. Central server which accepts & plays all kinds of media(file, cd, dvd, blue-ray etc).
2. Ability to distribute media to multiple outlets at home - 4 video outlets(2 of them 3D), 6 audio outlets( one 7.1,one 5.1, one 2.1 & three stereo)
3. High quality video & audio playback at all outlets.
4. Sleek interface to select stored media/tv(egs: XMBC, WMC7) at each outlet(via rf remote/ device such as ipad..)
5. Dvr multiple shows at the same time(or simultaneously record and watch shows).
6. Watch live tv in multiple locations( at least 4 simultaneously)
7. Watch tv and other media simultaneously(4 outlets)
8. Watch tv and listen to music simultaneously (worst case = 4 video(tv+movie), 2 audio)
9. Ability to plug in devices(USB, hdmi etc) at any outlet to available for streaming at other locations.
10. Ability to transfer files from various devices either via usb(from outlet locations) or wirelessly (from anywhere in the house).
11. Use an atx case but keep it in a closet(no line of sight)
12. Ability to play games in the home theater room.
I just re-read this and would consider getting a case that can hold a few HDD's and using it as a server too..

Or keeping your HTPC modest and building a storage media server.

Most start with a basic HTPC then ... it just sucks you in. lol.

That's why I am upgrading my server now.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:14 AM   #8
Duff99
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You can not do what you want to do with one box. You can't simultaneously output more than one program from a HTPC no matter how many video cards you have. Sage TV would have done what you wanted with a server and extenders. Since google gave them a bunch of money then killed them you might want to look into the coming soon Ceton Echo. Otherwise your going to need to go with a server and multiple HTPC's.

Mfusick outlined a nice basic build. I'd use your old PC as a server. That way you wouldn't have to put any money into old hardware. Side note, you don't need liquid cooling on anything HTPC related, so stay away from that. You might want to consider some dedicated music streamers also, or use a receiver that has it.

What you want to do is awfully complicated. If possible I'd start small and work up to it. I'd also do a lot more research so you know exactly what can be done, and can't be done with a HTPC. Good luck.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:27 AM   #9
SMOGZINN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duff99 View Post
You can not do what you want to do with one box. You can't simultaneously output more than one program from a HTPC no matter how many video cards you have.
Of course you can. You can have multiple desktops each assigned to a different monitor each showing a different video output. Many people have this setup with their desktop computers right now. You don't even need that powerful of hardware to accomplish it as long as you are not going to try rendering that video on the fly.

It is a more complex setup then necessary, I personally would go with a XBMC or PLEX setup and a DLNA enabled extender like the Vizio Co-Star.

Quote:
Sage TV would have done what you wanted with a server and extenders. Since google gave them a bunch of money then killed them you might want to look into the coming soon Ceton Echo. Otherwise your going to need to go with a server and multiple HTPC's.
Any HTPC software will do it now with any number of extenders available on the market.

What I agree with Duff about is that water cooling a HTPC is a bad idea. It adds noise, complexity, and extra maintenance to the HTPC with literally no advantages. You don't want to overclock a HTPC, you want it running at the minimum clock rate necessary to do it's tasks, you might even experiment with underclocking your E6420.

Think about this, most of the work of a HTPC can actually be preformed by a cell phone. People have built HTPCs around the Raspberry PI.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:14 AM   #10
Duff99
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The problem isn't sending video out to different monitors. My main system runs 2 monitors with an occasional third. The problem gets to be the sound. As far as I know you can't bitstream to more than receiver at a time. Then you get into the problem of trying to watch more than one live TV program at a time. The OP wants to run a Ceton card which means WMC. I don't think it possible to be running multiple instances of WMC with different programs at the same time.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:49 PM   #11
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Well, for video and audio distribution, you may need some pricy components to do what you are requesting (especially if you want to be able to watch one source on one, and a different source on another). You need something like a HDMI 1.4a Nx4 matrix switch (with N=to number of HDMI sources, like cable box/blu-ray/HTPC etc). This may also resolve some of your audio needs (at least to your 7.1 receiver and 5.1 receiver). The stereo/2.1 ones may be a little more difficult, depending on how they are setup (i.e. do you need amplified signals sent, or line-level? Do you need volume/channel control from that location? etc., etc.).
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