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Thread: Alright.. I know nuts about an Media Centre PC.. Where should I start for a good DIY?

  1. #1
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    Alright.. I know nuts about an Media Centre PC.. Where should I start for a good DIY?

    Christmas is coming, going to build my dad a good Media Centre PC... Dont know where to start and what sort of components I need.

    Here's a list of thing I'd want it to be able to do...

    1. Watch Satellite TV (From the usual yellow-red-white video and audio in jacks)
    2. Record them, and possibly watch other channels while its still recording the show.
    3. No need for HD stuff, but needs to at least hook up with my dad's 32'' TV using the usual video and audia-in stuff.
    4. No gaming required, but it must at least be able to run some web browsing and play divx and xvid videos.
    5. DVD player is definite.. Be able to burn them as well..
    6. Be able to plug up to a high end sound system, never knew how they work at my dad's place.. but I suppose the usual non-PC styled conenctions.
    7. Enough storage for a a good few weeks of recording.. in case my dad forgets to delete stuff.

    I have a few stuff in mind, maybe a Pentium M.. 1 gig of ram.. 300GB of disk etc.. what im so totally clueless are those TV-tuner stuff and the sound system compatibility. Any input would be great...

    Also would be nice to have them smaller chassis, but a shuttle should do fine if it keeps the cost down..

    EDIT: Ohh.. and I'm looking for a mid range one.. not too high priced guys..
    Last edited by sawyen; 27-11-2005 at 12:47 PM.
    Me want Ultrabook


  2. #2
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    anyone??!?!
    Me want Ultrabook


  3. #3
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    It would probably cheaper to buy the motherboard and case ( &psu) separately than to buy a shuttle.

  4. #4
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Shuttles tend not to be quite.

    Myself if i had the dosh would get a rather nice Pentium-M offering, dual DVB tuners, (saterlight is always harder) so for that i'd still have SKY+ but have an interface for recording of it, and IR remote control of it via the media PC.

    Then i't would have a small seagate 7k2 rpm laptop HDD (sound again) with GIGABIT network to the fileserver under the stairs.

    MythTV and Windows MCE are the two to consider, I prefer MCE because its much easyer to write for with .net (remote debugging is a brease, which is how it should be on a media center). Make sure the tuner you buy works with the OS your running on it.

    Other than that its really straight forward, look at the OS you want to use, get the tuners, then build the box around them. As the tuner + OS compatability is always a pain in the arse.
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

  5. #5
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    Was thinking Windows MCE..

    Any ideas on the TV tuners?

    Also, one I don't get is.. if say ur digital TV or satellite tv only has one output socket.. how on earth will u be able to jack into 2 tv tuners?

    And also, if say I MIGHT be able to get it to work with 2 tuners.. and I still need a good sound card say a Xifi.. that means I'll need at least 3 PCI slots?.. that would only warrant a full sized board..

    Anyone of u have DIYed one of these before? Please gimme some pointers.. Cheers

    EDIT: Anyone from Scan who could shed me some light would be great as well..
    Me want Ultrabook


  6. #6
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    • sawyen's system
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    arrghh.. is there no one here that has experience doing DIY media centre PCs?

    Please help out..
    Me want Ultrabook


  7. #7
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    umm... sorry to bug u guys again.. but I really need some explanation on them TV tuners, I think I've made up a list of potential stuff.. just missing them tv tuners..

    Silverstone LASCALA LC03S ATX Case
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    160GB Samsung Spinpoint
    SBlaster Xifi Xtreme Music
    (Tuner Cards?)
    (Power Supply?)

    Any other inputs?
    Me want Ultrabook


  8. #8
    mutantbass head Lee H's Avatar
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    All the bits above should be fine in MCE2005 as most manufacturers have drivers for their cards etc, and creative have released an update to their software which allows totally MCE integration of the X-Fi controls such as 24-bit Crystaliser and EQ settings

    As long as the Video Card in the system supports TV Out you'll be able to connect this to the TV with the correct cable.

    Lastly, you can connect sky to the PC by using 1 of the hauppauge PVR cards ( or similar - I've only used the hauppauge ranges ) but this would need to use the RF connection and this only allows the recording of 1 channel and this is the channel you need to watch, you cannot watch another channel while recording when using this connection I'm afraid, for this you would need probably 2 cards within the system such as the Nova-S model, the card reader module to support Sky's smartcard and connection to each card from the Dish.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    Thanks Lee..

    But this system will be going all the way to Australia. Satellite TVs over there will have something like a SKY's smart card.. so about that Smart Card type reader, where can I get them? I can just use the small decoder my dad has to plug thru the video and audio in jacks.. but thats just beats the purpose for the TV cards, and I'll still need to use 2 remotes to change channels..

    I'll have a look at them Hauppauge ones. Worst comes to worse, it would just serve as a TV internet browser and a home PC for DVDs. Also, those Nova-S tuners.. where can I get them?
    Me want Ultrabook


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    The M$ Media Center hardware kit remote comes with a couple of IR blasters so it can change the channels on the satellite box.

    Si

  11. #11
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonf7
    The M$ Media Center hardware kit remote comes with a couple of IR blasters so it can change the channels on the satellite box.

    Si
    Do you have a linky to this hardware?
    Me want Ultrabook


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    Oh, thats annoying - seems Scan have removed it their site

    Time for a post in the other forum as I was hoping to get one of them on my net order.

    EDIT: oops, my mistake, found it under software - Media Center Hardware Kit

    Si
    Last edited by simonf7; 28-11-2005 at 02:36 PM.

  13. #13
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    BTW, in answer to your original post - my htpc currently consists of:

    Asus A8N-VM mainboard
    AMD64 3200+
    1Gb Corsair value RAM
    250Gb Samsung SATA II hard drive
    Hauppauge PVR250 tuner with MPEG hardware encoder

    At the moment this is sat in an ATX case whilst I'm playing. So far I've tried MythTV, MCE2005 and a few other apps in Windows.

    I think when its finally sorted it'll be running MCE2005 as probably not the best it seems the easiest to use and the UI is so gorgeous when you see it in action. Plus of course the Xbox360 talks to it directly.

    Si

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