My dad is finishing the basement of our house and is putting in a 1080p projector. Just recently he asked me if I could look into getting a HTPC for it. The budget is around $1000~1500 dollars US and I had a few questions. For one, if I have Time Warner Cable, I can simply buy a HDTV tuner and plug the cable in into the tuner card and bypass the HD cable box, correct? Beyond that, I was thinking maybe one or two HDTV tuners, an 8800 GT, and possibly the antec 430 htpc case. As far as being able to play games, it would be nice to be able to play Crysis, but I don't think that is possible without dual gt's or a gtx @ the projector's resolution. Let me know of your thoughts.
Antec Fusion 430 199.99
eVGA 8800 GT 249.99
E8400 224.99 (Maybe overkill?? Low power and runs cool.)
Ballistix 4X1 gig 100 (w/ rebate 'Should I go 4 gigs here or not?')
ASUS P5E-VM HDMI LGA 775 Intel G35 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard 134.99
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive 154.99
LITE-ON Black 12X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-4O1S-08 199.99
AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCIe MCE ATSC/NTSC/QAM Tuner Card w/MCE Remote & L-P Bracket 109.99*2 = 219.98 (I don't know about the HDTV Tuner, maybe there is a better choice)
I have access to Vista Ultimate 64, or MCE I'm assuming Vista Ultimate
Total = 1434.91$
I appreciate any and all help that is offered. I will check on my post, as often as possible. Thanks again.
If you go directly to the tuner card with the coax, you'll get the standard cable channels. For the HD channels, it's hit-or-miss whether or not you'll be able to get them based on what your cable company is sending, even though the tuner is QAM capable (research clear QAM vs. encrypted QAM).
Plus, Vista does not let you use QAM through it's media center interface, you would have to use a third party application to tune in QAM channels. The only setup that allows QAM in Vista media center (that I know of) is to use the HDHomerun.
What most people do to get satellite or digital cable to their HTPC is to use an IR blaster with the cable box connected to the HTPC. The IR blaster changes the channels on the cable box for the HTPC. Google "USB-UIRT" for products and info.
The cable companies have made it extremely difficult to use an HTPC effectively with their services in my opinion.
The 4-gigs probably isn't necessary, but since RAM is so cheap these days, why not? Though, perhaps you should consider 2x2GB kit so you can go 8GB later?? If the price is better for 4x1GB, then that's fine.
Without full hardware acceleration, the E8400 will have the muscle to play 1080p video. You could drop to a lesser CPU if you want to pick up a UVD hardware decoding video card to take the decoding load off the CPU.
rwpritchett, thank you for your quick response. After reading your post, is it worth the hassle to go thru the QAM issues at all? I gues what I'm asking is, maybe going HD HTPC isn't worth it right now. As far as the rest of the system goes, it would be nice to be able to play Blu-ray for much cheaper and maybe even a few video games. Was I said correct about the video resolution having to be quite large to make it look crisp. Trying to feel out some issues before shelling out 1.5k paper weight. Thanks again for your response I will make sure to do some research on QAM vs encrypted and look at maybe getting an IR blaster. The idea of the HTPC was to eliminate some of the clutter. I appreciate your help.
For just out putting HD content you could get a cheaper cooler running graphics card such as the ATI 2600. However if you do decide to play the odd game you with need something with a little more muscle such as that 8800gt.
Just as an aside though, do you know know if the 8800gt will fit or if it will cook itself in the case? I know a 8800gtx won't fit but a HD3850 will fit but I have no idea about the 8800gt or the HD3870, if you have managed to find a definate answer about the 8800gt with the fusion case I'd be grateful to know myself as I'm hoping to build a mid-range system in that case, I'd like to go for something bigger but any taller and i can't stow it away under my monitor
You might want to think about a different hard drive set up. Currently, with my HTPC, I have two drives set up. First being the OS/Applications disk and the second being the media disk. What I intend to do (once financing allows) is set up three or more media disks in a RAID 5 array. This way, if the OS/Applications drive fails, my media is safe. If one of the media array drives fail, I can replace it, rebuild the array and the media is safe.
I don't know what your intentions are, but I currently have several hundred Gig worth of videos on my media drive. If it fails on me now, I'll have lost several hundred hours worth of work and it will take that long to replace it all. Of course, housing that many hard drives will require a different case.
Concerning the Hi-def/QAM issues, I don't have any experience. Sorry.