I want to take advantage of the streaming media services like Netflix and have been looking at the Roku
Apple TV and Western Digital streaming devices. I'm using DSL 1.5.
I think I would rather build my own multi-media streaming device instead of buying one pre-made so I can choose whatever service I want . I've built desktop computers and an HTPC. I want this build to be as small as possible and dedicate it for streaming movies to my HD TV. I think I will run a line directly to the box instead of wi-fi and plug the HDMI into my Denon A/V receiver.
Has anyone done this? Anything you learned along the way that you would like to pass on about components,
or what not to do?
Keep in mind your case size, and if you will be using the onboard video or a discrete graphics card. Because if you choose the ITX size, the power supplies are too small and weak. And you should also be considering what kind of cooling you will be using. If you have a lot of fans and they are small, that thing might sound like a lawnmower. I built an HTPC for a friend using a board that has a single PCIe connector. He chose a Core 2 Duo e7500, and underclocked it so he didn't need a CPU fan. He picked up a passive heatsink and just has one large 120mm fan in the case. I don't know where to find this case in the US, but the case was also ITX and came with a silent PSU that was 220W.
I know if you choose an AMD Micro ATX or ITX board, you may be able to have HDMI and the Radeon 4250 chipset all on the board and won't need a graphics card. Save on power, save on noise and it won't be necessary to add a video card if you aren't playing games. The Intel board only had the x4500HD chipset with DVI and D-Sub, but my friends TV also has DVI, so it wasn't a problem. Since you are going HDMI, you will need to find a board with it included or think hard about adding a graphics card (which makes the case bigger, which will need more power, and more cooling).
Just depends on what you want to do really. It is the same as building any other computer, except you need to think more about size, noise, expansions, cooling, and wiring a little more. Also if you go ITX, you will likely need 2.5" drives... the cases are too small to fit the standard desktop drives... even the optical drive must be laptop size.
Thanks to everyone who replied. I've been looking at a Lian htpc case that I think will be small enough for the build but big enough to allow decent ventilation. I'll probably go with a board that has integrated graphics. My LG 55" plasma has a dvi thats not being used so If I can't find a board with HDMI it shouldn't be a problem.
Thanks again everybody!