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  #1  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:22 PM
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Home Theater PC

I'm thinking of rebuilding one of my older systems, loading Linux, and using it as a dedicated HTPC...has anyone else here made that leap yet?

I think an upgraded video/audio card with HDMI output, 1tb HD, with a 2tb back up HD should do the trick. Of course it will have the needed wireless mouse and keyboard.

I've been sitting here, playing with my laptop that's linked to the A/V receiver via Bluetooth, and playing my music from it through the stereo's speakers, and had an epiphany...I haven't bought a CD in a few years, but keep buying MP3 format albums from Amazon pretty cheaply. I've also taken all 300+ CDs that we own and converted them and have them backed up on the remote HD.

We also spend more time streaming from Netflix than we actually do watching DVDs, and there's ways to convert them over to digital format for HD storage and play.

Building a HTPC seems like the next logical step...

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  #2  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:49 PM
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Something else you might want top consider is something like a WD HTTV live unit. I bought a refirb on ebay for $65 (wireless one is a bit more) and bought a 1TB HD for it. I down load all my movies on my main PC, transfewr them to the HD and watch them on my TV through my home theater. The box can stream Pandora, Netflix and a few other things. I down loaded a server program called Serviio and use it to stream my MP3 collection through it as well. Much cheaper than a HTPC if you have to build it.

Just an idea.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:26 PM
Inna-propriate-da-vida
 
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I've been threatening the same thing for the couple years...
But I still have old CRT TV's.....
Won't spend money on a quality video card to do composite, and don't have anything that takes HDMI...
Maybe this summer.
I think it's a good idea though.
There is a buttload of content that can be accessed with a computer.

BTW - if you buy music from Amazon, check out their autorip program
If you have purchased a CD from them in the last 15 years, they will upload the MP3 version of the album to your Amazon cloud for free.
All new purchases as well.
Now you can have your cake and eat it too.
The considerably better audio content of the disc, mailed to you, and the convenient and accessible wherever, whenever nature of a (downloadable) MP3 file in the cloud.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:27 PM
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HTPC, so last decade. Consider the streamers, like Roku
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:50 PM
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Disagreed. An HTPC is a lot more flexible than Kloud-Krap dedicated streamers, especially if you want to use pirated or otherwise unauthorized content. (Important to me, may not be important to others.) HTPC can also browse the Web and directly stream video, unlike Roku which lacks a browser.
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  #6  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:53 PM
Inna-propriate-da-vida
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTI View Post
HTPC, so last decade. Consider the streamers, like Roku
I like the roku... but there are some good streaming sites out there, and having all the kids dvd's on a drive in stead of in a pile would be great too.
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1983 300SD - 305000
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbdiesel View Post
If you have purchased a CD from them in the last 15 years, they will upload the MP3 version of the album to your Amazon cloud for free.
All new purchases as well.
Now you can have your cake and eat it too.
The considerably better audio content of the disc, mailed to you, and the convenient and accessible wherever, whenever nature of a (downloadable) MP3 file in the cloud.
Such a deal. What with Internet speeds being as fast as they are and terabyte storage being ass-cheap, why don't they just let you d/l the uncompressed audio files?
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  #8  
Old 03-05-2013, 06:14 AM
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My Directv box allows me the ability to stream Pandora, access all of my music files from my computer, view Youtube, as well as view television and movies, but it won't allow me the ability to browse the internet. The interface for searching Youtube is limited to certain vidieos, so I don't have the ability to view all of them. Also, typing parameters in the search bar with the remote is horrid and time consuming.

My goal is to make it all as seamless as possible. The internet has become a major centerpoint of entertainment in the house, that it only makes sense to go this route.

I wonder if it would be cheaper in the long run to buy a computer with the needed hook-ups versus rebuilding a current one.
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  #9  
Old 03-05-2013, 06:15 AM
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My Directv box allows me the ability to stream Pandora, access all of my music files from my computer, view Youtube, as well as view television and movies, but it won't allow me the ability to browse the internet. The interface for searching Youtube is limited to certain vidieos, so I don't have the ability to view all of them. Also, typing parameters in the search bar with the remote is horrid and time consuming.

My goal is to make it all as seamless as possible. The internet has become a major centerpoint of entertainment in the house, that it only makes sense to go this route.

I wonder if it would be cheaper in the long run to buy a computer with the needed hook-ups versus rebuilding a current one.
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2013, 07:20 AM
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Home Theater PC

Old pc + windows 7 (thy have a decent media interface) + a couple cables and wireless keyboard & remote. I've been doing it for years and years, the only thing that I would suggest is a ssd for quick boot up times.
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  #11  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:37 AM
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In 1080p??

I've been connecting with the video cable for 2 years, but I'm looking to upgrade that, and have a dedicated computer for everything needed for optimum viewing.
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:59 AM
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I used to use a Mac Mini as a home theatre PC. Browsing the web on the panel became irrelevant with the introduction of the iPad. The Panasonic panel came with Pandora, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc apps and a USB port for a keyboard. The Mini got dusty from lack of use. A Harmony remote handles things nicely.
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  #13  
Old 03-05-2013, 10:41 AM
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Home Theater PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by jplinville View Post
In 1080p??

I've been connecting with the video cable for 2 years, but I'm looking to upgrade that, and have a dedicated computer for everything needed for optimum viewing.
Yep, I have a DVI to hdmi adapter, looks great on the big screen. Only thing I've noticed is a few ms delay which is only really noticeable when gaming, presumably from the video signal enhancement and processing. I have my racing sims through the big screen, hardly noticeable.
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  #14  
Old 03-05-2013, 11:50 AM
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I have a Lenovo IdeaCentre mini pc that we use for an HTPC. It is a tiny thing.
I picked up a nice inexpensive remote mouse and full keyboard and it seems to work well.
For those few times when we need an external drive, I also picked up a lightscribe dvd burner for I think under $40.
The only limiting factor is HDMI only out for the video, but since we use it as a HTPC with an Optoma HD20 projector, this is fine.
It runs Windows 7 Home deluxe or whatever they call it.

We use the projector about 3 times a week, and only for extended times of 3 hrs plus to save on wear and tear cycling of the bulb.

Otherwise, all is paralleled to a standard definition TV, which works just fine.
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2013, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTI View Post
I used to use a Mac Mini as a home theatre PC. Browsing the web on the panel became irrelevant with the introduction of the iPad. The Panasonic panel came with Pandora, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc apps and a USB port for a keyboard. The Mini got dusty from lack of use. A Harmony remote handles things nicely.
I disagree about the iPad -- if you have 4-5 dudes looking at an iPad, it gets a bit crowded. Plus, does the Panasonic panel come with a ThePirateBay app?

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