I'm expecting to move out of my house here in April and I'm starting to price out some nifty ideas for the new house. One of the things that I'm looking to do is purchase and set up the home theater experience, complete with a surround sound system and a HTPC that would be compatible. I've built several regular tower PCs before, but this would be my first HTPC. I've heard of several of a HTPC's capabilities but I'm not familiar with all of them, and not sure if it could be used or integrate with a DirecTV receiver or system or if they are completely separate.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: April 2010 BUDGET RANGE: Around 1,000 (Flexible either way +/- 500)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Blue Ray Player, Internet Videos / Streaming, DVR, whatever else it's capable of. Has to be compatible with a surround sound system. (Most likely 5.1)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I'm a big fan of newegg.com, but I'm open to anywhere
PARTS PREFERENCES: No preferences
MONITOR RESOLUTION: LCD TV / Surround Sound Receiver
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like it to be quiet, run blue ray movies with great sound / video quality, and of course be friendly to a surround sound setup. TV tuner would be nice if it's in the budget, although not completely necessary. It would be cool to have it able to show media from the internet like Youtube, or the NHL.com's game center broadcast.
Question: Is a stand alone sound card required to connect to a surround sound receiver? Would it significantly increase sound quality over an integrated motherboard sound setup?
Add in Windows 7 Home Premium and a CPU Heatsink/Fan and you're only around $650. Add in a Ceton Tuner Card, which should be available by the time you're ready to build and that puts you just over $1K.
The motherboard in this combo provides you with HDMI out and an HD4200 integrated graphics chipset, so no need for a discrete graphics card. The motherboard also has an Optical S/PDIF audio output for connecting to a surround sound receiver.
My only real concern with this setup would be finding a CPU HSF that's going to work inside that case.
Wow. Thank you guys very much for the input! I'm looking over the suggestions now to see what might work for me. I'm interested in that Muilti-Stream Tuner Card, I'm going to see if I can't find out if DirecTV supports that. Always open to more suggestions, but awesome thus far!