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Need some help on an HTPC or media server build

Last response: in Home Theatre
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November 1, 2013 3:32:02 PM

Okay so I have heard of htpc's and media servers but I don't really know what they are except for some research I have done. I have 5 TV's in my house and I would like to be able to record and watch live (HD) tv without paying for cable and having the stupid set-top box is this possible? I think this is what I have seen people do anyway, and I know I would have to get netflix or hulu or something to watch movies or tv shows on demand or at least I think I do? I am very familiar with computer parts but not tv tuners, cable cards, etc. so can you guys help maybe give me some information on these things and what my limits are? Thanks!
a b x TV
November 2, 2013 6:18:46 AM

it is illegal to make copies of streaming content or cable content so we will not help you out with this at all. just because you pay a service fee doesnt mean you own the movie. its more of a rental agreement than anything.

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as far as dropping the cable box & bill and finding a cheaper option we are glad to help.

if you want something simple to use i'd suggest taking a serious look at roku. it can support netflix, hulu and in general most of the streaming channels and has a easy to use remote. it is also rather cheap at around $100. it doesnt support networked nas devices too well afaik.

running a htpc is a bit more complicated and expensive than something like a roku but you gain a dvd or blueray player, support for youtube and free video sources as well as retaining access to netflix, hulu and the others albiet sometimes they arent quite as straightforward and easy to use as the roku interface but typically give more options. you can also attach nas storage. unless you are using either cable/satelite tv or want an antenna hooked up to your tv to get local channels you wont need a tuner card.

hope that helps. we just cannot help you with anything illegal such as copying movies that you do not own. (and even copying movies you already own for backup purposes only is a real big grey zone).
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November 2, 2013 9:10:45 AM

Yeah I would rather build an htpc or something rather than the roku thing but good suggestion. So if I have 5 tvs that all have cable and i want to get rid of the set top box could i use an htpc for that and get something that will let me plug my cable cord into my computer to still get all the channels I do now or do I not even need to pay for cable? I just want it to be like it is now where I can watch all the normal and hd channels and i can record them. What do I need?
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a b x TV
November 3, 2013 4:11:30 AM

You need an HTPC with a cablecard ready device, extenders for each additional TV, and yes, you still need to pay for your cable subscription. The biggest problem for most people is that they do not have their homes hard-wired for computer networking and in order to have networked assigned tuners, each tuner extender needs to be hard-wired network connected.

-Wolf sends
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November 3, 2013 4:40:15 PM

Okay so i need a cable card and a tuner that accepts a cable card. If i only have 1 set top box for one of my 5 tvs i can just use the cable straight to my tv i dont need an extender right? All the htpc is replacing is the dvr right?
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a b x TV
November 3, 2013 5:06:12 PM

With most cable companies, any subscription level above the most basic level encrypts most non-local channels; requiring a set top box at each TV. You can still go directly from the wall to the TV, but you'll only be able to view unencrypted channels on those sets.

In your situation, the HTPC would just replace the set top box/DVR.

-Wolf sends
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November 3, 2013 5:26:03 PM

So do you think it would be worth it? Are there advantages to the htpc or is it just the cost because I'm either going to build an htpc or a nice $1200 - $1300 gaming pc. Which one should I do?
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a b x TV
November 3, 2013 5:41:38 PM

No one here can say. We don't know your DVR/TV watching habits. The big benefit of having an HTPC with a multi-tuner device is that you can assign those additional tuners to other devices on the network. My HTPC has a quad-tuner card installed. One of those tuners is assigned to my all-purpose PC. During football season, I can watch both Noon games simultaneously (one game per PC). There are other benefits, such as the cost savings, but that's up to you.

-Wolf sends
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November 3, 2013 6:05:27 PM

Okay I think I'm going to go with the gaming pc then. Here is whatI'm thinking about getting.

CPU: i5-3570k
GPU: GTX 760
MoBo: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8gb 1600mhz
PSU: Corsair RM650
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500gb
SSD: Kingston HyperX 3k 120gb
Case: CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced
Monitor: Asus VE228H
Mouse: Razer Deathadder 2013
Mouse Pad: Steelseries Qck
Headset: Logitech G35

I will be playing games like BF3, BF4, TF2, Call of Duty, etc. Will I be able to play these on ultra settings at 1080p with frames of 60 or better?
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a b x TV
November 3, 2013 6:36:45 PM

I'm not a gamer so I can't answer that question. You'd probably be better off starting a new thread in the System Build forum.

-Wolf sends
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