HTPC - Techno savvy but no clue on audio/video build

I'm pretty technical and comfortable working on computers, but I lack a great deal of knowledge on audio/video components. I'd like to build an "adequate" system for general family use and to gain a better understanding of HTPCs.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: I'd like to order up the parts during holiday deal time and assemble over the next few weeks.

BUDGET RANGE: 400-500 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Standard DVR features (record show & also watch live, play Blu-Ray DVD, view photos off existing Synology file server

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Complete new hardware build. I'd like to stick with Windows 7. I can use spare keyboard/mouse/monitor to install and config. I have existing stereo with surround sound speaker setup. My receiver has support for optical audio input if that helps.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any of the online sites are fine (newegg, tiger direct, etc), but I'd like to single source for ease of shipping. I have a local MicroCenter store also.

PARTS PREFERENCES: No preference. The HTPC will be in my living room so easy to use and "quiet" are the goals.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: I have existing 36" Sony Wega that this will be hooked to initially. It supports S-Video & component inputs.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I have basic analog cable (75 channels) and would like to maybe pull in digital channels over the air. Someone suggested getting both sources hooked up to the HTPC via two separate Hauppauge 2250, but need guidance here. Might upgrade to HDTV at some point so some thought to "future proofing" would be nice (hdmi, etc).

Many thanks for the suggestions.

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  1. I'm not sure you can make your budget without the OS already on hand. That'll take $100 from your budget and one TV tuner will take another $100.

    Newegg has a really good combo going right now for a HTPC setup for $482:

    However, you'll still need a tuner card, OS, and maybe blu-ray playback software (the bundled PowerDVD might work for you).
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