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Need some advice on HTPC build

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July 25, 2010 11:07:34 PM

Hi,

I'm interested in building a cheap HTPC. I don't have much knowledge about HTPC's, from my understanding it's like a mini computer you can hook up to your TV and can play Blu-ray, DVD's, browse the web, etc.

I was wondering how much power is really necessary to run such a system.

Perhaps I can run Linux on it to not pay for a Windows license?

How much CPU, RAM, video card power though?

Also, does anyone know if it's possible to convert entire DVD's and Blu-ray disks to some file type and store it on drives for easy accessibility?

Actually that's one reason I'm interested in an HTPC. Just to have easy access to media without having to locate the disk.

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Anonymous
July 25, 2010 11:42:00 PM

Yes, an HTPC is a computer which is in a smaller than usual case so that you can put it in place of a DVD player etc. and connect it to your computer to watch DVDs or Blu-Rays and do anything that you can do on a normal computer. I've used Windows Media Center on my computer for a bit and I think it works well. Assuming you live in the US (most people on the forum do) a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit will cost you $100. I know that there are alternatives to Windows Media Center available for Linux and I believe that they are quite good but I have no personal experience.

You could get away with a cheap AMD dual core, 2 gigs of RAM and a cheap low profile graphics card and you'd be able to watch 1080p Blu-Rays no problem.

You can convert DVDs and Blu-Rays into files but there are a few problems with this:
You will need to find some good software for it (might mean spending)
If you're using a lower powered system, it will take quite some time for Blu-Rays (I'm talking hours)
Blu-Rays especially will take up a lot of space unless you manage to find a program which can compress them well (definitely possible)

Do you plan on watching TV on your computer? This is easily possible as well but if you already have cable or whatnot it's not necessary (you can record TV as well)

If you could give me a rough idea of your budget and tell me what country you live in, as well as everything you need included (keyboard, mouse etc.) I could give you a list of components and a price, and tell you how well it will perform.
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July 25, 2010 11:55:30 PM

Thanks for the info dangerman200k. I'm from the U.S. I already have a satellite receiver so I don't think I would need any TV connectivity on the HTPC.

My budget is $150-250 (if possible for an HTPC, cheaper the better). I'm thinking about either getting a Blu-ray player with wireless DLNA or an HTPC.

It would be cool to browse the web on it, but my main thing is that I have a lot of DVD's and some Blu-rays, and my organizational skills suck heh, I was hoping I can convert them to files and access them alphabetically by a menu. I guess I would need some sort of remote control access for this, too.

I don't really want to rip them and lose quality and content, I was hoping to convert them 1:1 to playable files if it's possible. Perhaps a 1TB drive will suffice.

Appreciate your help.
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September 20, 2010 5:41:15 PM

Dangerman,

This isnt my thread, obviously, but he asks some of the same questions I am thinking of. My wife and I only want to view the internet on our 46 inch HDTV in as high a resolution as it is sent in, watch a few DVD's. We use Netflix and Hulu plus some of the network websites to watch television episodes and movies. Thats all. We have 3 other computers in the house for web browsing, gaming, social networks, etc. will an atom processor and 4 gigs of ddr2 ram suffice with a 160gb hard drive? what's cheap in a cheap, low profile video card? What specifications do I look for? does it matter if the hard drive is 5400 or 7200 or 10,000rpm's , for that matter? Windows 7 64 bit is a given, I assume. I have a good wireless keyboard and mouse. For a budget I consider $500? is that reasonable? I live in California, have Fios internet. stopped the Verizon phone and TV service. Is this enough information for an intelligent asnwer? Thanks for allowing me to butt in on your conversation.

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