Hey guys I have been doing some research and I really think that based off what my wife and I watch on television, and the resources that are out there on the net, that we really dont need cable or satellite services, but before I build an htpc I have a few questions:
1) I dont know a whole lot about networking, but I am sure there is a way to wirelessly link my PC to my htpc so I could store date on a larger HDD in my computer, is this a hard process?
2) What OS do most people use, I dont really see the point of paying for Windows 7, if I can put a easy to use (and look at) free OS.
3) If I buy a Motherboard: ASUS M4A88T-I will the video card inside be good enough to handle high definition video. I am not sure how video cards relate to video, all I have worry about on my PC is gaming power, so I have always had more than enough for video.
4) and last of all, can anyone reccomend a good keyboard controller for use with the new system, based on previous experience preferably.
In my house, XBMC unfortunately had a very negative WAF. I tried. The geek in me really liked all the skins, flexibility, etc. W7MC has enough WAF that I've convinced her to dump our CableCo DVR boxes and use W7MC and an extender for watching/recording TV (we pretty much just watch the networks).
WAF is everything
When you do out your build, if you go through Newegg, you can usually find a $10-$20 off combo with Windows 7 Home Premium x64 to bring the price down to $89 or $79. It's worth it, especially if you plan to record in-the-clear TV. And, if you're kitting out more than one PC there's the Family Pack for $129.99 that brings it down to $43/license.
Most tuner cards you see available are for broadcasts in the clear like over-the-air or Clear QAM which these days for cable customers mean just the networks. This is the one I've gone with - "limited basic cable" so just the unencrypted channels recorded with a tuner card.