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Do I really need a dedicated HTPC?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

I am looking to build an HTPC, but I was thinking about it and don't know if I really need to. I have a gaming rig that doubles for our workstation and media right now. It is hooked up to the main TV and the network. It pretty much does everything that an HTPC would, but I guess the drawback would be using it if something like XBMC is playing...or something to that effect. So, do I drop $400-500 for a new machine or work with the one that I have now?

I know that it is probably personal preference, but I thought I would ask you all about your experiences and your advice.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Testudo
post #2 of 12
If your TV is a secondary display for that PC you can have XBMC use full screen on one display while working on the other, although I'm not sure if mouse input etc would constantly bring up the menu or similar.

Personally, if you find it too much of a hassle to swap between or it would be much more convenient to have a system provide that service directly then it would be worth it. You could also build a cheapy HTPC for a lot less than $500/600
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post #3 of 12
Should be fine as long as you're not gaming on it at the same time, really.

Main reason to get one is to keep things separated.
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post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow11377 View Post

Should be fine as long as you're not gaming on it at the same time, really.

Main reason to get one is to keep things separated.

I don't think that I would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beers View Post

If your TV is a secondary display for that PC you can have XBMC use full screen on one display while working on the other, although I'm not sure if mouse input etc would constantly bring up the menu or similar.

Personally, if you find it too much of a hassle to swap between or it would be much more convenient to have a system provide that service directly then it would be worth it. You could also build a cheapy HTPC for a lot less than $500/600

My TV is my secondary display. Yeah, I would have to check out the mouse issue.

Here's the deal: I am trying to buy a new/bigger TV for my media room. I have to show my wife that I am cutting corners somehow biggrin.gif. So, it is either keep my PC as the media server and get a 65" TV, or get a 55-60" with a new HTPC. The TV will be used for gaming, as well. Tough decisions...
post #5 of 12
Get a remote for your computer. Should be fine running XBMC on the TV as a secondary screen just no gaming or full screen programs. If its not good there's a reason for an HTPC and you have the new TV already. If you use a raspberry pi on the TV you can control the pi thru CEC.
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post #6 of 12
What is the viewing distance between the audience and the TV? Sizing the TV for the room it's going to occupy might help point you in the right direction. Also need to know whether you're going LCD, LED or Plasma, as viewing angles should also be taken into consideration.

Frankly I can't imagine life without a dedicated HTPC - even if I'm streaming content from my gaming PC. You don't need a monster rig for your HTPC build and in fact you could build one on the cheap using an AMD APU, 4GB of RAM, a good 400W power supply and a decent case.

If you could scrounge up a used hard drive large enough for the OS and a few apps you'd almost be set.
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cones View Post

Get a remote for your computer. Should be fine running XBMC on the TV as a secondary screen just no gaming or full screen programs. If its not good there's a reason for an HTPC and you have the new TV already. If you use a raspberry pi on the TV you can control the pi thru CEC.
I can run XBMC through my phone as a remote. I actually had that up and running before. Something to think about, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wevsspot View Post

What is the viewing distance between the audience and the TV? Sizing the TV for the room it's going to occupy might help point you in the right direction. Also need to know whether you're going LCD, LED or Plasma, as viewing angles should also be taken into consideration.

Frankly I can't imagine life without a dedicated HTPC - even if I'm streaming content from my gaming PC. You don't need a monster rig for your HTPC build and in fact you could build one on the cheap using an AMD APU, 4GB of RAM, a good 400W power supply and a decent case.

If you could scrounge up a used hard drive large enough for the OS and a few apps you'd almost be set.

I would say that we will be sitting about 15-20 ft away. It will be in a room where there is a big window to the left of the set. I live in Florida, so there is a lot of sunshine. I think that I will be going with an LED screen.

In had an HTPC, but it fried somehow. So, now I am in the position to get a smaller TV and an HTPC or a larger TV with my current rig.
post #8 of 12
Yes you can use your phone, I prefer not using it. I like having the physical buttons.
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post #9 of 12
Based on your viewing distance anything between the 55" and 65" would be a great choice.

If it were me I'd buy the very best 60" HDTV I could afford and then mate a dedicated HTPC with it. 60" is still a lot of screen space. That's what I have in my family room and maximum viewing distance is 26' and minimum viewing distance is 22'. It fills a very large room nicely.
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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by wevsspot View Post

What is the viewing distance between the audience and the TV? Sizing the TV for the room it's going to occupy might help point you in the right direction. Also need to know whether you're going LCD, LED or Plasma, as viewing angles should also be taken into consideration.

Frankly I can't imagine life without a dedicated HTPC - even if I'm streaming content from my gaming PC. You don't need a monster rig for your HTPC build and in fact you could build one on the cheap using an AMD APU, 4GB of RAM, a good 400W power supply and a decent case.

If you could scrounge up a used hard drive large enough for the OS and a few apps you'd almost be set.

This. If you watch for sales/deals, you could get an entire setup for under $300. You don't need a lot of power for a dedicated HTPC.
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