I appreciate the communities feedback and assistance with the build below!
Approximate Purchase Date: This week or the week after Christmas
Budget: $500 to $1,000
System Usage: HTPC in family room – Blu-Ray and DVD movies, OTA HDTV (via ATSC tuner card), Netflix, Hulu, ESPN3 – attempting to ditch ATT Uverse except for the DSL service
Parts Not Required: None (I think)
Preferred Website: Newegg or Amazon
Country of Origin: Texas
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU
Overclocking: No – though specific components may be repurposed for future builds
SLI or Crossfire: Don’t know if there is a need for HTPC
Monitor Resolution: 50” 1080p Samsung LCD
Additional Comments: Trying to build as quiet a PC as possible, will probably use Windows 7 (64-bit) Media Center with additional add-ons. Build should offer expansion capabilities for future, to include adding a video card to output 3D-video meeting HDMI 1.4a standards (or potential future standards). Needs to be able to access content for network connected Infrant ReadyNAS. Playback of 1080p video and 5.1 or better surround sound. Record up to 4 HDTV streams simultaneously via ATSC
Current component selection – I’m open to changing any and all of these parts. I’ve tried to select parts first on what I’ve been able to learn from these forums and then rated as editor’s choice by Silent PC Review; including case, HDD, PSU.
I am open to suggestions to reduce the total cost of this build.
HDD - According to Wikipedia, ATSC OTA broadcasts carry 19.39 Mb/second, so this drive with write speeds of 100MB/s should provide ample resources to record up to 4 HD streams simultaneously. Correct?
Tuner Cards – I know to record four streams simultaneously requires 2 dual tuner cards. Any preference as to the AverMedia vs. Hauppage cards? I know I need a remote, would either the Hauppage or AverMedia combos with remote work?
HDTV Out – I believe the Intel i3 with selected motherboard should allow me to push full 1080p (and lesser resolutions) out to my TV as well as HD sound. Do these components meet the HDCP end-to-end requirements or will Blu-Rays downsample the audio?
HDD - I use a 1st gen WD green 1TB drive. I have recorded 4 streams at once without any problems so you're good there. I suggest you consider the new Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB drive though. It has denser platters and is faster than the WD green drives (both are 5400 rpm).
Tuner cards - Drop the AVerTV Combo cards from your list. They have two coax inputs, but only one of them is for ATSC. The other is NTSC (pretty much useless). BTW I have one of these cards. I also have the A188 Deut. It works great for me and is a dual ATSC tuner card. There are some known issues with this card if you Google around about it disappearing after S3 sleep. I had that problem too and had to RMA my first card. The best card of the bunch you've listed is the HVR-2250. I do not have that card, but I've read nothing but good things about it. Also, you may want to consider the HDHomerun network tuners. The HDHomerun Dual is a dual tuner, and all PC's on your home network can access those tuners. Here is a good site to do some more research on tuners: http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/
HDTV Out - the Intel i3 will easily do 1080p AND it will bitstream blu-ray HD audio without downsampling. It is fully HDCP compliant too. Another suggestion (I can't help it...), wait just a bit for Sandy Bridge to be released in January. It's supposed to be quite the upgrade from Clarkdale, with all the HD goodies carried over. It may even drop the prices of the current processors, so you might as well wait a few more weeks.