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Analog TV - Upgradable HTPC build, Set-top box?

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October 29, 2010 2:35:37 AM

Hi everyone - I've seen a lot of good advice on this forum, so hoping I could get some as well.

Recently moved into a new house decided not to get cable. We own an older analog tv and plan to upgrade our home entertainment system somewhere in the next couple years. In the mean time we are looking for something that will:

- Receive the new digital OTA channels
- Connect to our tv through composite/rca/s-video
- Play netflix, hulu, youtube, etc. The bigger names...
- Play my movies off my networked drive/be a network drive
- Capable of being remote controlled.

As a side note we have a dvd player and can play netflix through our wii, but it would be nice if it was a consolidated setup.

This is kinda the basic list, so I was looking at set-top boxes, which won't have TV Tuning ability and don't have the versatility of an HTPC, and digital converters, which I don't want to do since I feel like it's a waste of money and doesn't do allow online content.

Aside from this, in the end I eventually would like an all in one system where it will solely be the system and a tv. At this point it would be nice if the system were able to be a DVR, get to the Internet, potentially act as my receiver, and maybe play some more demanding video games. At this point I would upgrade my system with at least a Blu-ray player/burner, a new video card, and maybe an audio card if needed for a decent HT system, any thoughts on this?

So I've done some research and like a lot of the ideas I've found on this forum (Thanks Dougie Fresh). The build I have in mind is:

TV Tuner:
Probably Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250 - White Box 1187 PCI-Express x1 Interface - OEM (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
$54
Since I don't think I need Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner / Encoder 1229 PCI-Express x1 Interface - OEM (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
$115

HTPC Case and PSU:
Antec MicroFusion Remote 350 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) (Just hoping the remote will be nice)
$100

Motherboard and Processor:
I would like to go with ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
so it might be better off when I'm looking to upgrade in the future with USB 3 and 6GB/s SATA vs

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). But this one would give me the combo deal with the AMD Athlon II X2 260 Regor 3.2GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX260OCGMBOX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...).
Any thoughts here?

This is the main stuff, I have a Lite-On DVD drive I will use for now and I will purchase probably RAM and a HDD when I find a good deal on then in the next few weeks.

So any thoughts about this build? Any alternatives I haven't looked at in terms of set-top boxes or is there a external TV tuner set-top box combo anyone knows of? To connect to Composite, any recommendations? S-video? RCA? Are there any catches to using an HTPC as a receiver? I know HD audio might have issues? Any advice is appreciate, thanks!

Best solution

October 29, 2010 4:15:27 AM

A few things:

To watch a PC's VGA output on a regular TV you need one of these kind of converters:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With a microATX motherboard you really want the 2250 tuner so that you can watch a digital channel and record a digital channel at the same time. The 1250 does not allow you to do that - it's record digital/watch analog or vice-versa.

Alternately, unless you want to record analog cable broadcasts, you can go with something like this that hooks into your network (and is available as 2 tuners in your HTPC's Windows Media Center):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(shop around for this - I got it last week for $109)

No one is really sure yet what SATA 6GB/s and USB3 buys you :D 

Here is a crazy HTPC deal that probably expires tonight:

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$16.99 before 10% off promo code EMCZYNW77

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$69.99 before $15 off w/ promo code EMCZYNW52

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$44.99 before 15% off w/ promo code psu15vp

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX250OCGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$58.99

nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 1080P Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$69.99

ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Combo Discount: -$40.00
Combo Price: $124.98

Subtotal: $380.93
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November 4, 2010 11:59:57 PM

Best answer selected by Caspar13.
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