I've been wanting to build a HTPC for a long time now but could never find the right components based on my needs or to make the project cost competitive to replace as an example; a Tivo HD XL box.
Now that Tivo is soon coming out with a Premier XL, and after checking its specs, I once again find myself checking components in the hopes of finally being able to build a better HTPC.
As has been the case in the past, it looks like I'm still waiting for technology to catch up to my needs.
The Ceton InfiniTV 4 (4 tuner card) won't be available until the end of this coming May, and I'm still not positive if it could be used for recording Full 1080p HD over-the-air network broadcasts, without subscribing to a cable service.
Anyhow, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions for building a HTPC which takes advantage of the latest and greatest but still would be within the price range of 2 Tivo Premier XL's and an improvement over.
My current components:
Mitsubishi WD-73833 DLP TV
Yamaha RX-V1800 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3a, 8 Channel, 192 kHz / 24 bit, Dolby TRUE HD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD Master Audio, THX)
Tivo TCD658000 HD XL DVR with Western Digital WDG1S10000VN My Book DVR Expander 1TB eSATA
Toshiba HD-A35 HD-DVD Player
XBox Elite 360 with HD-DVD Player
Logitech Harmony 1000 Remote
2WIRE Model 2701HG-D DSL Modem
Windows 7 Ultimate (32 or 64 bit)
After doing some more reading on this site, here's some more information pertaining to what I'm looking for:
Approximate Purchase Date:
As soon as the right components become available.
800 - 1,200 after rebates
System usage from most to least important:
Recording & viewing over-the-air 1080i/p HD, viewing HD-DVD movies with 7.1 surround sound,
ripping DVD movies to save on server for future viewing, all using HDMI seeing that my components are all 1.3 or 1.3a.
Parts not required:
Case, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
Preferred website(s) for parts:
Country of origin:
No preference - other than having a 4-tuner card
73" 1080p DLP, 1920 x 1080
I would like a quiet and capable HTPC with quality components that won't become obsolete in a couple of years.
List of any parts you have already selected with descriptively labeled links for parts:
If you're only watching over-the-air broadcasts, any $50-$100 ATSC tuner card will work. You wont need that $400 Ceton card.
Just to get you started, consider an Intel i3 + H55 mobo setup for the foundation. Grab a couple of Hauppauge HVR-2250'S, or AverMedia Duet A188's (both are dual tuner ATSC) and you will have 4 tuners available for OTA broadcasts.
I think having one 4-tuner card has more than a few advantages.
Are the other cards capable of 1080p?
(I don't know why it is taking so long for manufacturers to come out with 4-tuner cards for the Home Theater PC market which seems to be growing by leaps and bounds as more and more people are entertaining themselves at home these days.)
If I do decide to ever go back to cable the Ceton card has a major advantage.
As a foundation I'm leaning very strongly to a Gigabyte X58A-UD3R Motherboard for future expandability.
One problem that I have run into with trying to choose a video card in the Radeon HD 5570 card series is that it seems to come in a lot of different configurations from a lot of different manufacturers.
Other than price, what the hell is the difference between these two as an example???
ASUS EAH5570/DI/1GD3(LP) Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Low Profile, Newegg $89.99
I agree on the Ceton card being an advantage for digital cable. I think it's only for cablecards though and can't pull in over-the-air signals.
The HVR-2250 actually has 4 tuners. Two are ATSC and the other two are NTSC though it's tricky to use both at the same time. NTSC is kind of a dead-end though anyway. A single 4 tuner ATSC card would be awesome. I've got 6 tuners on three cards in my HTPC (4 ATSC and 2 NTSC). I don't even use the NTSC tuners.
The only 1080p sources at this time is blu-ray and, according to Wikipedia, some satellite channels. Cable/OTA HD signals are 1080i or 720p.
An X58 motherboard is for some serious horsepower. Do you really need all that?