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HTPC or media extender?

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May 28, 2010 2:28:42 PM

I have a fairly beefy PC located in another room from my HDTV with a video card that has 2 DVI and 1 S-Video outputs (no HDMI). It is connected via about 50 feet of cord to my wireless router, which is sitting right next to my TV.

I'm looking to stream some video from various places on the internet to my TV (youtube, fora.tv, starcraft 2 game casts, etc) and it seems rather expensive to build a new HTPC for such a job when I have a powerful one in another room. However, when reading up on media extenders, it seems that they're rather limited in their capabilities and I'm not sure if they can stream video from websites very well (I'll be visiting a lot of different video sites, some of which probably use odd codecs).

Are there media extenders that serve as an access point to my PC, so that I can open up a web browser and such from the extender, or am I going to have to sink some more money on a full HTPC?

More about : htpc media extender

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
May 28, 2010 2:56:10 PM

A full HTPC isn't going to cost that much. You can get a bare minimum HTPC for well under $450 (including Windows 7). For example (and this can even be cut down lower):

CPU/GPU: X2 245 and HD 5450 $94
Mobo: Asus M4A77TD $75
RAM: Crucial 2x1 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 $58
Case/HDD: Rosewill Blackbone and Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $70
Optical/PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W and cheap SATA DVD burner $51 after rebate
OS: Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM $100

Total: $447
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 28, 2010 3:20:25 PM

If you are only interested in streaming from your computer, you could just buy a $200 Xbox 360 and use it as an extender.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
May 28, 2010 4:51:41 PM

I don't believe the Xbox will let you stream content from the internet, which is what the OP is trying to do. I think the Xbox will only stream content already saved on the connected PC. I could be wrong, as I haven't played around with it a whole lot.
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May 28, 2010 4:55:51 PM

rwpritchett said:
If you are only interested in streaming from your computer, you could just buy a $200 Xbox 360 and use it as an extender.


That leads me to my question. Are these media extending devices completely open, so that I can stream (or display) websites and their contained videos? I don't have any videos on my PC; I essentially want to use my PC as a hub to stream video from all over the internet and just use an extender to display the video and audio and supply some input (keyboard and mouse ideally). I have a feeling that media extenders don't work that way and instead use small applications to access and play files from the PC's hard drive.

I would rather just go for a HTPC (that must be quiet!), but $450 seems pretty steep for a limited device.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
May 28, 2010 5:08:51 PM

Keep in mind that the $450 includes the OS. If you use a free one or have one laying around, it's only going to be $350.

And it's not a limited device. You can easily use it for other tasks, just like a regular computer.

EDIT: Found a cheaper alternative. Switch the motherboard for this one (Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H for $90) and drop the HD 5450. That'll bring the total to $427.
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May 28, 2010 5:18:25 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Keep in mind that the $450 includes the OS. If you use a free one or have one laying around, it's only going to be $350.

And it's not a limited device. You can easily use it for other tasks, just like a regular computer.

EDIT: Found a cheaper alternative. Switch the motherboard for this one (Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H for $90) and drop the HD 5450. That'll bring the total to $427.


Well, what I mean by limited is that it can do other things, but I'll only be using it to stream from the internet (well, not 100%, but mostly) whereas my powerful computer is in another room for everything else. But I'm just being cheap. Thanks for doing some price checking. I'll probably be considering HTPC builds this weekend.
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