I subscribe to a couple of web sites that allow me to watch live streamed sport on my PC (Mediazone.com and Setanta.com). I currently have an old PC connected to the internet through a wireless broadband network connection and connected to a 42” plasma screen and home theatre system to play back the sound through. The system works well but has neither the best video nor audio quality.
I want to build a computer to optimise the quality of internet sourced sound and video on my main home theater system (50” Pioneer Plasma screen plus high end home theater amplifier and speakers). Not bothered about tv reception/ recording etc. as that is already taken care of through a satellite PVR. Can anyone recommend an optimal configuration to achieve the best possible quality of video and sound on the plasma screen/ audio system – software, disk, memory, audio/video card, wireless internet access etc.? Ideally I'd like to use a horizontally mounted case like the Antec overture 2 media case and I'd also like to be able to play video games on the system but this is a secondary requirement
Also, it seems to me that you aren't going to get crystal clear picture or sound from internet streamed content. Internet streaming is always compressed, you will not acheive HDTV or even SVGA levels of clarity with streamed data. it's hard enough just getting a CD quality audio track to properly stream over a 3mbit connection.
This is not based on your PC's power, but more on your internet connection, so I would suggest you try and contact your provider and get their highest rated connection you can.
I have Shaw Hi Speed Cable Internet - just upgraded to Shaw High Speed Extreme which has just become available here - Shaw claim a download speed of 7.0 Mbps, I had Shaw check the download speed on my system @ 6.2 Mbps (was getting +/- 5 Mbps previously).
I won't use this machine for other applications except maybe gaming - ideally like to come in +/- $1500 but I'm not too worried about price if the performance measures up for internet video/audio streaming. I don't know what components will affect streaming video quality, hence the post.
That's the basics here's other general recommendations:
Any hard drive you like, I prefer Seagate. Try to avoid Maxtor. Other manufacturers are good though.
Get a good powersupply like an Antec, Enermax, or Silverstone. Minimum 400 Watt. If you want low noise, I hear that Silverstone will be coming out with a completely silent PSU soon. It's rated at 300watts, but its effective output is actually a little higher than that. If you won't be putting a lot of Drives or any other high power demanding components in, then that should be fine.
For a case, I recommend you get a solid case like the Antec you suggested. Should be more than enough to hold all that stuff.