System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching media (tv, movies, etc.) from the internet; surfing internet; NOT interested in gaming
Are you buying a monitor: No - using existing television
Do you need to buy OS: Yes - I prefer to use Windows 7 or possibly upgrade to Windows 8
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, tigerdirect
Location: Bath, NC (USA)
Parts Preferences: no preference
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: HD?
Additional Comments: I have finally decided to cut the cord and do away with satelite tv and all the associated expense. I plan to purchase or build a HTPC for the living room television and combine it with an OTA and TV tuner. I also plan to use netflix and possibly a few other online services for streaming media. I will use the htpc through the television also to browse the web some. I really enjoyed my DVR through dishnetwork, and hope to some how use the htpc to record some OTA as well.
I have a little bit of computer knowledge and have upgrade some components in a custom pc I had built for me before, but I am not ignorant to the great possibility of things going wrong once all the parts are put together and the machine does not work and your have to perform detective work to discover what is wrong. I also will need a version of windows so that plays a part in terms of cost when deciding on purchasing prebuilt or building myself. I am not worried about the size of the desktop vs using a htpc sized case.
I have done a bit of research on which parts work best for a htpc and I came across this refurbished pc and I feel like it would work great for the price. What do you think?
Lenovo Essential H415 3099-XF1 Refurbished Desktop PC - AMD A6-3600 2.1GHz, 6GB DDR3, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, AMD Radeon HD 6530D Graphics, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $300
I'd probably go with the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual simply for it's networking capabilities. Hook it up to your network and any PC on that network can access the tuning capabilities. Otherwise, I'd probably look at the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250.
This might sound like a stupid move or waste of money, but since I believe that I am going to go the factory refurbished Lenovo desktop ($300) route to use for my HTPC (since I am a bit scared of piecing all the parts together and having tons of problems once starting up, as well as whenever I add all the parts up it is much more than the Lenovo):
I understand that brand name pc's use low grade power supplies to save money, so I thought of purchasing "Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply" for $37 at newegg - not sure if it is compatible or not as well.
I also plan to purchase this tv tuner: HDHomeRun DUAL - High Definition Digital TV Tuner (Network Attached) HDHR3-US (Black) by SiliconDust $90 as recommended by Wolfshadw
Note the desktop has the following specs: Lenovo Essential H415 3099-XF1 Refurbished Desktop PC - AMD A6-3600 2.1GHz, 6GB DDR3, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, AMD Radeon HD 6530D Graphics, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
I probably wouldn't purchase the power supply. If you were adding another component to the system internals, then yes, I'd look at replacing the stock PSU, but for the base system, I wouldn't worry about it. Additionally, you don't want to purchase a quality, low powered PSU now, and then later decide you need something more substantial. That's how my closet got so full of spare components.
Alright - I believe that I have this figured out now - I am going to use the pc I have in my office as my htpc and stream to my television in my living room via hdmi cable. I plan to run XBMC on my desktop to view on my television in my living room. My desktop is a Dell Studio XPS 435MT with the following specs:
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 920 @ 2.67GHz [QuadCore Intel Core i7-920, 2800 MHz (21 x 133)]
Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB)
OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-BIT
Memory: 8 GB
Here is what I plan to do:
1. Upgrade my video card (so as to have better video capabilities as well as hdmi output) $50 @ newegg, $25 if rebate works
ZOTAC GeForce GT 520 512MB 64-bit GDDR3 (810MHz/1333 MHz)
(note: great reviews, and will work with my existing 300 W power supply)
2. Network Hard Drive $130
Iomega 1TB Home Media Network Hard Drive, Cloud Edition $130 @ bhphotovideo
(note: opened pc and the available slot for additional hdd is quite tight due to graphics card location so this made more sense)
3. TV Tuner for PC $130 @ newegg
HDHomeRun DUAL - High Definition Digital TV Tuner (Network Attached) HDHR3-US (Black) by SiliconDust
4. Media box for playroom (using XBMC) $100 @ apple
Apple TV 2 jailbroken and XBMC installed and connected to home network
(note: my daughter has a ton of dvds and placing them on the network would be great in lieu of using a dvd player each time)
5. HDMI Cable $40 @ monoprice
50 ft of hdmi cable to run video/audio to my living room television from my pc located in my office
6. HD Antenna $70 @ solidsignal
HD OTA antenna to be installed in my attic and connect to pc in office
(Antenna Direct DB4E $50, Wineguard DS-3000 J-mount $20 to connect to rafters in attic and turn for direction)