Well, I have for a long time now wanted to build a HTPC/Media server for my house. I finally decided to do my research and go for it.
But, I am a little confused on exactly what I need to accomplish my goal. I am hoping to get some help here.
-Build a Media Server that will;
1. Record shows from my cable box
2. ALlow me to rip my DVD's, store them on the server, then view them from my living room TV.
Other goodies would be to listen to music, look at photos on my PC on my main TV.
As it stands now, my main TV sits in my living room. My PC's sit in the den. So, my PC will not be close to my viewing TV.
However, my house is already pre-wired for everything, so I can hardwire everything.
So my question is, how do I go about accomplishing my goals?
I can take care of building the media server. That is no problem.
My main confusion is how to I record stuff from my cable box to my PC. How do I fiew ripped movies on my TV that are stored on my PC?
That make sense?
I am guessing, I need some type of extender that will reside by my TV, but im not sure.
Can anyone help me out?
I would greatly appreciate it.
As I understand it there are devices that connect to your network, plug into your tv, read files over the network and decode them into video to feed to your TV. I think this is what is meant by a "Media Center Extender", although I think they have other names too.
IMO, your best option is to build your HTPC and place it with your Cable Box/HDTV. That way, you'll be able to:
1) Connect your cable box to your PC for recording TV Shows.
2) Use your PC to play DVDs onto your TV
3) View ripped DVDs and images directly from your PC on your TV
4) Listen to music stored on your PC through your audio receiver (if you have one).
Media Center Extenders are fine if all you want is to serve up already stored media, but they won't record TV shows. Also, if you do not have a network jack near the TV, you'll have to go wireless (or run a cable along the floor). If you do not have a wireless network set up, that's an additional cost.
Thanks guys for your feedback. I really appreciate it.
To follow up on a few things:
1.) I might not have enough room for HTPC to sit by my TV area. I am really low on space so fitting a small sized PC may not be an option.
2.) The extender might be my only option at this point. I *should* have enough room to place some type of extender by my TV and connect back to my media server. My house is already wired for networking and I do have a free open jack behind my TV that the media extender can plug into. Hence, I DONT have to go wireless.
Lastly, what about recommended software that can be used to catalog and store my DVD collection on the media server? I have also heard that .mkv files are the way to go these days?
I use the built-in Media Center in Vista to catalog all my movies, music, pictures, etc... It actually works very well. You'll probably want Vista installed on the media server anyway, since the Media Center extenders work best with Vista.