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HTPC for Projector/7.1 Surround System

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March 16, 2010 4:41:10 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this month

BUDGET RANGE: 2,000ish or less

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Watching Blue-ray Movies, DVR, Netflix streaming, impressing the friends, and other HTPC functions.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: TV.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, however any website is fine.

PARTS PREFERENCES:

Case: Zalman HD160XT http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tuner Card: Ceton InfiniTV 4 http://www.cetoncorp.com/

OVERCLOCKING: No (No experience in this, don't want to break anything) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Essentially one of the screens is the 7" display on the case (800x600ish?) and the other output is a TV/Projector

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I really like the flashy case that the HD160XT has to offer. I've also heard that the Ceton Tuner Card, while able to output up to 4 TVs, only has one HDMI out; would I need to purchase another device with the HTPC to go to more than one TV if I do that? (Or more than one tuner card?) Running silently while providing enough power to watch TV and DVR shows would also be preferred. A heatsink fan if needed is also cool (no pun intended.) Optical out on sound is also a requirement (to a receiver for a surround sound system) as well as blue ray playing. I imagine Windows 7 is also a requirement.

I posted in another post around a month ago in which a newegg combo was available, however, it's no longer available (plus I finally decided that I'm willing to shell out some more cash on a nice case.) Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much in advance!!

More about : htpc projector surround system

March 17, 2010 5:20:14 PM

If you don't mind, explain to me the purpose of a touch screen LCD HTPC case. If it's just for the "cool factor", I wouldn't waste either the time or the money, but that's just me.

The Ceton InfiniTV card does not have any outputs. The output is handled by your graphics solution.

For a purely HTPC system, you certainly won't need to overclock or use SLI/Crossfire.

This combo here would probably suit your needs. Just add an internal Blu-Ray player and a power supply and you should be good to go.

-Wolf sends
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March 17, 2010 8:11:37 PM

Honestly it is all about the cool factor, and the convenience of a 'larger' touchscreen to issue commands and report the status of what point of a movie I'm on, or easier command of music playing in the speakers, or even as a stretch it could do in a pinch as a way to navigate the pc / do what I need to do without pulling out the keyboard and mouse to find an adequate viewing distance to the large screen projector. It's hard to argue the "need" for any of this minor additional functionality vs. the significant cost, however, but I'm a sucker for gadgetry.

I didn't realize that about the tuner card, this makes sense. Thanks again for the combo link!
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March 17, 2010 10:01:48 PM

Just an FYI, here's my setup:



My HTPC sits below my HDTV in the lowest cabinet of my entertainment center, so in order to even use a touchscreen case, I'd have to get down on my stomach just to use it. I also don't see a touchscreen being very useful for scrolling through hundreds of movies and thousands of mp3s, unless there's some sort of touchscreen scroll feature I don't know about. :kaola: 

My HTPC is also hooked up to my projector (BenQ MP610) which displays onto the opposite wall about 18' away. My viewing distance from the projector is about 15' and at a resolution of 1280x768, the screen (about 135" diagonal) is legible. Same goes for sitting on the couch (about 10') and looking at my 32" HDTV (same resolution). I will admit it's a bit more difficult to read. If the text is too small, I need to lean forward on my couch. But I don't have to do that very often as it's strictly an HTPC.

What I use instead are a wireless MCE Keyboard and remote control (links below). With the keyboard, I can handle any non-HTPC related tasks that need to be accomplished and quite simply, I cannot imagine not having the remote control for easy scrolling through the MCE functions and movie/mp3 lists.

Microsoft MCE Keyboard

Microsoft MCE Remote Control



Hey. I love my gadgets too! :D 


-Wolf sends
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March 26, 2010 3:33:12 PM

Damn, man, ok, ok, I envy you! Haha. Yeah, I'm about to move into a new place with my 'folks,' yeah I know, "haha you live in your mom's basement." Well it's cheap, they cook sometimes and the dealbreaker is there's a basement I get to finish anyway I want. Essentially it's gonna be a mini-apartment, and one of the key features being of course a home theater. I'm still mulling about and second guessing myself on how to layout certain things, and I like you're setup for sure. I find it interesting that you have TVs (well, essentially) on both walls! Thats pretty cool.

The basement I get to play with is about 1600 sq. ft., with the furnace and other house essentials neatly tucked in a corner (which of course will be walled into their own room.) The rest of it will have a small bath, a small bar area, a modest bedroom, and the rest of the floor space is going to be part of the home theater. I've been debating closing it in with walls, but I think it would make the basement look too small, so I may leave it open or investigate a sort of 'curtain' / 'temp wall' for the times that I'm serious about watching a movie and want to get the acoustics right. Then again, it might not be that much of an issue. With the stuff I'm looking at:

A 1080p projector, either the Epson Pro line or maybe a little cheaper
One of the perforated screens so I can put the center speaker behind it and out of sight
Denon Receiver of some kind
the Klipsch Reference series around the room
Sub is still up in the air but I've always been a fan of 10" sounding better than 12" no matter the specs. (I honestly think 10" subs are the best bass period.)

The HTPC is sort of a compliment to the rest of it, and noting that the Ceton card isn't coming out until May 31st (I thought it was March ><) I may hold up yet again on purchasing this until later. I'm starting to come around to your side though on the 7" screen not being necessary.

As you can tell, I'm not real set in stone on much of the things yet (preliminary shopping mostly) until after the basement starts construction. There will be a home theater area, it's just up in the air what is going to be in it.

On a side note, living with your parents for cheap allows one to really save money for random projects like this. Not having bills is nice. Then again, dealing with mom on a daily basis, I might invest in one of those safe doors you see on the vaults in a bank to install between my basement and the rest of the house.




The other nifty thing I've been looking at is the Control 4 stuff. It's kinda nifty to automate the lights or control everything in the area with a touch of a button.

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March 26, 2010 6:33:08 PM

I would all but kill to get my old townhome with it's unfinished basement back. The setup I have now, in my little apartment, is nice (ok, I'm friggin' loving it!), but if I knew then what I know now...

I know there is a lot of things that you need to figure out before you actually start building your system, but once you do have a pretty firm idea about what projector and what size screen you want, head over to Projector Central and look at their Projector Calculator. Select your projector and use the sliders to get the screen size you want. Then note the throw distance necessary and make sure you have room for it. With a 1600 sqft room to work with, I doubt you'll run into space issues, but just in case. With an unfinished basement to work with (assuming the ceiling also needs to be finished), I'd definitely go with a ceiling mount and probably even see about getting an electrical outlet and HDMI plugin port/wall plate installed near where the projector is going to be mounted. Also keep in mind that any support beams may play havok with your plans.

I'm not sure about the idea of placing your center speaker behind your screen, because even a perforated screen is going to deflect a lot of sound from your center speaker back away from the listening position. While it probably won't be noticeable, I would think that the more subtle sounds (like whispered conversations) would become garbled. If it's dark in the theater room (and it probably should be), you won't notice the center speaker regardless of where it's placed.

I am bummed out about the Ceton cards release being pushed out until May. You're right in that it was supposed to be the end of March.

As for living with the folks, a lot of people are doing that now. Been there and done it myself a while back. Made buying computer components a lot easier!

-Wolf sends
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