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Potential for PC-on-TV / Media Center System

Last response: in Systems
October 13, 2010 1:53:30 PM


I've been wondering about buying some sort of media center for a while now but I'm not sure what to do for the best. I want something with a limited cost (under £500) and which, ideally, I can use for low-end computing tasks as well as media playback.

My initial idea was to get a netbook. But research would seem to indicate that most, if not all, netbook systems are going to struggle with video playback, especially HD video, and if I want blu-ray or DVD playback (which I do), it'll almost certainly mean buying an external drive. Plus I'll have to disconnect it from the TV and audio every time I want to use it for computing.

So now I'm left wondering about the possibility of having an ordinary desktop system to do it, fitted with reasonable graphics and sound cards. But I'm fairly ignorant about potential methods of actually harnessing a desktop attached to the TV for computing tasks.

For example, I assume there are likely to be potential problems with resolution and such if I try and hook up a PC into an ordinary, non-HD, CRT TV (assuming you can get non HDMI TV-out on PC's nowadays)? I'll have to get a wireless keyboard and mouse, I suppose. And will I need some sort of remote control to make best use of its media center function? Am I best off installing a dual-boot with an ordinary OS and some sort of media center software, or am I best off using the native media players in the OS? And so on ..

In short, is this possible? Desirable? And if so, what are the best options?
October 13, 2010 2:05:43 PM

It's not clear what kind of TV you are hooking this up to. You say you want HD video but then you go on to say you want to hook it up to a non-HD CRT TV. Let's start there.
October 13, 2010 2:14:43 PM

OK, sorry.

I currently own a CRT-TV. But if I'm going to drop £500 on something, I want to make sure it can hook up to an HD set and use it to play HD-video when I eventually get one.
Related resources
October 13, 2010 8:31:43 PM this is pretty neat but with this you're looking at a very specific HTPC.

I'd get that with

something like this

and then


then or 4gb whichever floats your boat.

And I think you've got yourself a system(I could be wrong as I'm tired and prone to forgetting components :p )

ohh and if you add in a slim sound card you can even make this a pretty good audio playback machine. This is kind of what I had in mind but obviously if you don't have an audio system to match forget it.

if you want internal storage just opt for a samsung spinpoint f3.
October 13, 2010 9:29:02 PM

Here's an idea:
Antec Micro Fusion Remote VERIS Media Center Case - With 350W PSU
Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H
AMD Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHz
Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz
Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB

October 14, 2010 9:24:03 AM

Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'll look into it.