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Old 28-12-2008, 15:12   #1
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HTPC - Can I do it with this?

I am looking to setting up my PC as a HTPC.

I have a Dell Dimension 9200 with the following spec:
Intel Duo Core 2.4Ghz processor
2GB RAM
Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS (DVI out and normal monitor out)
Soundblaster Xi-Fi MusicExtreme (No optical out)
2 x 320GB SATAII drives (unsure if I am to use RAID on them or not)
1 x Iomega 500GB external USB2 HD
1 x WD MyBook Essential 1TB external USB2 HD

The Dell also appears to have on board sound too, which DOES have an Optical Out.

I can put on either WindowsXP SP3, Windows Vista SP1 or Windows Media Center.

Can I use the above with Media Portal? What else do I need? Can I use a DVI to HDMI converter to watch 720p feeds on my TV or will it not carry that?

My TV is a Sony Bravia 46" but it only has 540p, 720p and 1080i resolution.
Do I need anything like a media center remote?

Any help is appreciated!

James
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Old 28-12-2008, 15:38   #2
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Won't you need a TV card? I am still thinking of building an all singing all dancing Media Centre PC but not got round to it. Are thre any free sat cards on the market?
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Old 28-12-2008, 15:41   #3
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Seems more than enough.

I can run 1080p files from my Macbook C2D 2.0GHz, although it does get the fans going. Not sure how this differs on a PC but I'm sure it will be fine.

I've heard Windows Media Centre is not very good and its better to go for something like XBMC.

DVI to HDMI converter cable is the way to go.

Oh and you definitely want to get a remote, makes things so much easier. Unless you already have a wireless keyboard. But thats slightly bigger than a remote
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Old 28-12-2008, 15:50   #4
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You should be able do everything you want with Vista media center. For Freesat a DVB-S/S2 card is required. I use a Hauppauge hvr-4000 with the Vista TV pack 2008 as regular VMC doesn't support DVB-S. With a bit of hackery you can even get BBC and ITV HD to work. Oh and VMC is currently the best media software available. I love XBMC but it doesn't support PVR or HD (on Xbox anyway).
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Old 28-12-2008, 16:01   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony.S View Post
You should be able do everything you want with Vista media center. For Freesat a DVB-S/S2 card is required. I use a Hauppauge hvr-4000 with the Vista TV pack 2008 as regular VMC doesn't support DVB-S. With a bit of hackery you can even get BBC and ITV HD to work. Oh and VMC is currently the best media software available. I love XBMC but it doesn't support PVR or HD (on Xbox anyway).
Can you view an EPG for the Freesat channels?
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Old 28-12-2008, 16:17   #6
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I'm not interested in Video Capture stuff - just playing movies/music etc

What would you use as the interface?

James
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Old 28-12-2008, 16:51   #7
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Windows Media Centre (you get it with Vista Home Premium). I'd advice getting the WMC remote control - pick one off fleabay cheap-ish.
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Old 28-12-2008, 17:17   #8
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Out of interest what go for a HTPC. I was going own this route but after finding media streamers I found this to be a much better idea
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Old 28-12-2008, 17:58   #9
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I need to convert the files + I already have a PC ready to go
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Old 28-12-2008, 18:09   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmgarrod View Post
Can you view an EPG for the Freesat channels?
Depends on what Freesat. Freesat from ITV \ BBC haven't approved any TV Cards or its software yet, so the EPG provided to Freesat Boxes isnt available using Hauppauge etc cards. I think some people written software to decode the Freesat EPG as seperate software.

I don't if using the Windows Media Centers XP \ Vista will download a EPG for freesat?

Also dont think the Freesat Red Button works either.
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Old 28-12-2008, 23:26   #11
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I use

http://xbmc.org/

Its brilliant
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Old 28-12-2008, 23:58   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardinal biggles View Post
I use

http://xbmc.org/

Its brilliant
Wot he said - i've been running vista on a 2.2 core duo for the last year or so. dvi to hdmi into my samsung 1080 lcd, and spdif optical out to my sony receiver

used to use media-portal as my front end, but recently switched to xbmc. Never use vista media centre as I dont run a tv card at all.

Be prepared to tinker lol HTPCs can be tricky to get everything running fine. Don't bother with codec packs, stick to ffdshow, coreavc and ac3filter.

Once you're happy I recommend acronis for taking a disk image, so you dont need to do a full reinstall should things stop working.

Good luck
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Old 29-12-2008, 07:00   #13
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Cheers all!

I downloaded FFDShow, CoreAVC and AC3Filter... just going to try XBMC now
Are there any skins for it or is the default one good enough?

Also bought Acronis Home 2009 at the weekend too for doing the image

James
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Old 29-12-2008, 15:37   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amcanally View Post
Be prepared to tinker lol HTPCs can be tricky to get everything running fine. Don't bother with codec packs, stick to ffdshow, coreavc and ac3filter.
That is very good advise. Everytime a thread like this pops up that should be the first thing anyone tells you.
You will spend a long time faffing with it to get everything working together (then of course, once you do, you'll upgrade something or get the latest version of some software and it'll cock up again).
And ffdshow is very, very useful.
You might also want haali media splitter for viewing matroska/mkv within media centre.
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Old 29-12-2008, 15:50   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llololloy View Post
That is very good advise. Everytime a thread like this pops up that should be the first thing anyone tells you.
You will spend a long time faffing with it to get everything working together (then of course, once you do, you'll upgrade something or get the latest version of some software and it'll cock up again).
And ffdshow is very, very useful.
You might also want haali media splitter for viewing matroska/mkv within media centre.
Haali Media Splitter is part of the CoreAVC install i believe

Last edited by WildWayz; 29-12-2008 at 15:50.
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Old 29-12-2008, 17:28   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amcanally View Post
Be prepared to tinker lol HTPCs can be tricky to get everything running fine. Don't bother with codec packs, stick to ffdshow, coreavc and ac3filter.
This approach is OK if you have a fast enough PC or are not concerned about the highest quality.
I prefer the GPU hardware decoding method using a supported ATI or Nvidia card and the PowerDVD codec.
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Old 30-12-2008, 15:49   #17
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What remote would you guys recommend? The MS remote is hard to get now. I don't really want to spend loads, but want to use it with either Media Portal or XBMC.

Are the Hauppage ones any good?
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