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Seeking Expert advice for HTPC build

Last response: in Systems
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August 16, 2009 10:32:14 PM

Hi all, I've been following threads in several forums, but I'm not completely certain that the builds discussed are designed around my interests and current constraints. For example, I don't game at all, suggestions for so components or features serving that purpose are more like red herrings. I've followed the request etiquette, so I hope this helps. This HTPC is primarily for watching movies (e.g., blu-ray disc, downloaded HD movies, netflix streams). I apologize in advance for the length, but figured many of you would prefer this to asking additional questions. I look forward to your advice and suggestions. Thank you all for your thoughts and your time.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (example: 1 -2months; I know components might change by then)

BUDGET RANGE: (US$500-750, closer to $500 would be nice, but is $750 provides better upgrade flexibility, then that is preferred)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1. watching Blu-ray discs
2. watching downloaded HD (say purchased from itunes) and traditional movies that can play from my NAS.
3. Netflix stream/hulu
4. user friendly (a nice interface with remote for accessing physical media, downloaded movies, netfilx, etc. is fine, lcd or touch screen on the HTPC box is not needed)
5. sufficient space for hard-drive storage (I would probably start with 500 gb for 1 Tb and upgrade as needed)
6. wifi capable for laptop connection as mentioned in #2 (after $90, my motorola surfboard is oddly finicky so I might need a new wireless router anyway). Reading from my NAS might be slow, so you might suggest wifi with harddrive sharing and turning the HTPC into an NAS anyway)
7. For the future: audio to replace my non-HDMI SON audio receiver and play blu-ray HD audio (not needed right now).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (newegg.com, but I'm open to others if better options/better prices are available)

PARTS PREFERENCES: I have no branding preferences for a cpu and mobo, but would prefer components be good quality that won't require replacing anytime soon unless to upgrade to something that replaces blu-ray or changing GFX requirements. Nothing too flimsy.
Caveats:
1. HDMI needed for TV connection
2. Because my Sony receiver is not HDMI compatible, will I need a component audio-to-HDMI converter and if so, are any good ones less than $120? I'd prefer not to buy a new receiver right now. Would the MADCATZ Universal HD Component A/V Cable suffice? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
3. If not integrated into this build, potential to upgrade wifi capability would be nice

OVERCLOCKING: no

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (720p 42" Panasonic Plasma)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS and QUESTIONS:
1. I would prefer this run quietly and relatively green
2. Is Windows 7 going to be the best OS for playing blu-ray discs and streaming media?
3. Is My Movies preferred to other media-center software?
4. Will I need Slysoft Any DVD for backing up purchased media. What alternative do you suggest?
5. Given future upgrades, should I get a video or audio cards or can a good online mobo do what I need it to do? Any, I'm not gaming.
6. Software suggestions welcome?
August 16, 2009 11:07:40 PM
August 17, 2009 12:16:26 AM

Windows 7 could potentially yield great results, but you may also want to consider Linux if you're willing to take the plunge. It's free! MythBuntu is a distribution of Ubuntu with MythTV pre-installed. There is also versions of other distributions with the same features. However, if you want to stick to Windoze, Win7 seems to have some awesome multimedia features.
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August 17, 2009 1:54:21 AM

Pyroflea said:
Windows 7 could potentially yield great results, but you may also want to consider Linux if you're willing to take the plunge. It's free! MythBuntu is a distribution of Ubuntu with MythTV pre-installed. There is also versions of other distributions with the same features. However, if you want to stick to Windoze, Win7 seems to have some awesome multimedia features.



Thank you. I've considered Ubuntu with Boxee, but the networks pulled the plug on that so I haven't considered it recently. I did not know about MythTV, so this is good to know.
February 18, 2012 6:16:05 PM

OK i know this is kinda old but im looking for the exact same thing but most of this stuff is outdated can anyone point me in the right direction I dont need all the gaming stuff im going to be do almost the exact same thing just i would like to keep it as low of a cost as possible thanks.
!