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Help with hardware for media centre

Last response: in Systems
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July 30, 2007 3:28:40 AM

I am trying to build a home theatre system using my pc as the media centre. I would like to have surround sound and an LCD display capable of displaying a sharp image while watching movies and playing pc/xbox360 games. I am somewhat confused about what sort of setup to purchase but I have a few ideas. My PC specs are as follows

Intel core 2 duo E6600 (Oc'd to 3.11 GHz)
2GB Kingston 667 DDR
Geforce 8800 GTS 320MB
320 GB Seagate SATA II HD
Philips 2x BD-ROM Drive
Pioneer 12x DVD Rom
Soundblaster Audigy

I was thinking of getting this display:

Sharp Aquos 1080p

and connecting it to my 8800 GTS through a DVI to HDMI cable. I sold my Xbox 360 a few months ago and am planning on purchasing one with an HDMI output so that I can use another one of this LCD's HDMI inputs.

Now comes the question of audio. This is where I am having problems deciding what to get. Part of me wants to settle for a set of Logitech Z-5500's and plug them directly in to my SoundBlaster audigy. The problem with doing this though is that I would have to unplug the speakers from my computer every time I want to use my Xbox 360. Basically what I am asking is if there is a way to use a receiver with home theatre speakers that I can use with my Xbox 360 and my pc and if there is what kind of hardware would I need to purchase.

Lastly, money is kind of an object as I am saving up as much as i can which probably will not be more than $2500. One of the main reasons I was originally attracted to sharp's 1080p display was its price and low refresh rate (6ms).
Any suggestions on the best kind of hardware I should use for what I want to do will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

More about : hardware media centre

July 30, 2007 3:51:51 AM

since your building an HTPC, your defintally doing to look at heat/cooling as something important.

the 8600gts should be more than enough for you, assuming your not playing 3D games on it (atleast at 1920x1080)... the 8600gts is a very effecient/quiet card which means your system wont be as loud :D 
July 30, 2007 4:13:44 AM

Sorry I wasnt clear enough in my post. I already have the pc I listed above. What I am missing is the display and speakers.
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July 30, 2007 4:58:51 PM

dude use the url tags
get an audio switch / selector, press a button instead of unplugging?
projector?
July 30, 2007 11:27:50 PM

So really all you're looking for is a receiver with HDMI inputs x2(min.) and one output to the new TV, and speakers.
So something like a Sony STRDG510 (receiver), Westinghouse TX-42F430S (LCD 1080p), and a 5.1 set of surround speakers. Oh and add the 360 elite. Is this what you're looking for?
July 31, 2007 3:14:21 AM

That sounds like it would do it except I am not sure how i would use that receiver for my pc audio
July 31, 2007 9:24:07 PM

Anyone have any idea how to hook up a computer to home theatre speakers through a receiver (hdmi)?
August 1, 2007 2:07:26 PM

I'll have to search that one on http://www.videohelp.com/...
darn, no help


from http://compreviews.about.com/od/video/a/HDMI.htm
Quote:
Should You Look at HDMI on a Computer System?

For PCs that will be used solely as a computer to a standard computer monitor, it is not necessary to look for one with an HDMI connector. Those looking to use the computer in a home theater environment with a high definition TV set can greatly benefit from the single cable that can carry both the audio and the video. Of course, even though a computer may have an HDMI video connector, it may lack the internal connector inside to graph the PC audio into the HDMI video signal. If the TV uses the older DVI connector, a PC with the HDMI connector will still function with it through the HDMI to DVI adapters.


I know the ATI radeaon X2900 has a built in 5.1 sound though the HDMI for blue ray and HD-dvd, should work for other audio as well.

Quote:
Integrated HD audio controller with multi-channel (5.1) AC3 support, enabling a plug-and-play cable-less audio solution


that should apply to the rest of the R600 series as well, only good for 5.1 channel.
from http://www.channelweb.co.uk/personal-computer-world/hardware/2188776/amd-ati-radeon-hd-2900xt
Quote:
Some Nvidia cards also support HDMI with audio output, but they require an SPDIF connection direct from the sound card.


really confused about this for the S/PDIF passthrough support from microsoft because of DRM
the creative XFi cards have updated drivers but are only supported in Vista 32-bit {x86}

DOWN WITH DRM, I'm still waiting for all this sh*t to get resolved It should take a consumer a month of research to buy the right stuff for their Media Center.

anyways as a gaming center the audio passthrough will work, but DRM should mess with any hopes of having this WORK the way the hardware is designed to.

I'm so sticking to DVD.
!