System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching both regular and 3D Blu-rays, DVD movies, watching and recording TV through a tuner, occasionally watch media files and listen to music from an external HD via USB
Parts Not Required: Keyboard and Mouse
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com, zipzoomfly.com
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Intel based architecture
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1080p through HDMI on my Toshiba 42" LCD
I'm looking to build my first HTPC that will allow me to watch both regular and 3D Blu-ray movies (looking to purchase a 3D TV beginning of next year) as well as regular DVD movies. My HTPC MUST be able to bitstream HD audio (Dolby TruHD and DTS Master) to my A/V receiver. I would also like to watch and record live TV (just like Tivo) through my setup, both digital and HD; I currently have a Comcast HD Receiver and would like to stop renting their box. I read about the Ceton InfiniTV 4 and do not prefer to go this route (I've had problems with CableCARDs before). I would also like to know which OS I should go with for my HTPC.
Comcast now encrypts everything that isn't the local stations, at least in my area, and they are planning to encrypt everything "because DirectTV and the like already do". Without the CableCard tuner you're not going to be tuning much. Not that I am recommending the CableCard stuff -- just saying plugging your cable outlet into a tuner no longer works and if it does happen to in your area it won't be much longer.
If you want a non-cablecard tuner until the whole scrambling thing gets figured out, I know somone that has the Hauppage 2250, and it seems to be working well...$125.
I'll admit, it's a little bit overkill...my last HTPC build has been super noisy and annoying...so I went with as many silent or nearly silent parts as possible. The i3-540 could be downgraded to a 530, I got the 540 for the same price as a 530. You could easily lose the SSD and get a normal PSU for less in order to cut costs. A cheaper case would also be an option.
I just bought all of the above except the Blu-ray combo drive (got a DVD RW drive with the Caviar Green in a shellshocker deal), as I already have a Blu-ray player. Haven't assembled it yet, but I'm looking forward to it. It may need an aftermarket cooler, I can't say yet.
Well now that just plain sucks! The whole point of building this HTPC is to have my own DVR and be able to backup my recordings on to my other computer (at least the ones I want to keep). This whole mess with scrambling of channels is getting out of hand!
Well, I guess my HTPC will make due without a tuner for now (so I will not get rid of my Comcast HD box just yet).