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Help me turn my Desktop into a HTPC!

post #1 of 5
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here is what i want done. ( i am a total HTPC noob in fact i know nothing of HTPC's) so bare with me here.

Here is what i would like done.

the ability to somehow plug in a Cable wire/ box/ core or whatever into my pc
to receive normal cable channel's so i can watch, save/download or whatever.

but display it in my custom resolution of 1680X1050. also.. hybrid? combo Tv tuner's??? which 1 do i need. ( and it's ok to talk to me like a child ) i need this simplyfied. and i need a complete run down of what a HTPC is.

basically i want my pc to be a fully functioning TV.

also. i have no Expansion port's Vacant on my motherboard ( Except for a PCIE X16 2.0 port )

I Have USB's. and what not.. if they can be used..

So. what needed software and hardware do i need???
Edited by Yoko Littner - 1/1/11 at 8:57pm
    
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post #2 of 5

If all you need is analog cable, you just need a TV tuner that supports NTSC. As for what software, assuming you run Windows 7 Home Premium (or higher) you already have a pretty decent one installed on your PC - Windows Media Center. Something like the

would allow you to watch live TV while recording another show at the same time. You can install PCIe x1 cards in a PCIe x16 slot.

Digital cable is trickier. In the US, you've basically got the following:
NTSC: analog
ATSC: digital antenna
QAM: digital cable

Digital cable can have encrypted and unencrypted streams. The cable box from your cable provider can display both types. PC tuners are more limited. Most tuners can only handle unencrypted streams, commonly referred to as clear QAM. Currently, there's only one commercially available tuner card that can handle encrypted cable (need a CableCARD rental from the cable company) and it costs $400 and has a 2-month waiting list.

As for a complete rundown of what an HTPC, can't. It's different things for different people and there's even a debate at AVS Forums over the definition of the term.
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post #3 of 5
I am wanting to do the same as Yoko. I would like to take my CPU and MOBO, and turn them into a mean HTPC/folding machine with some of my spare parts. That way I can use the rest of my components in a new SB build.

Then maybe later on down the line build a real HTPC, but I have some concerns before I splurg on another new build. Like if I should keep our Hardon Karmon reciever, since it is like 15 years old but still sounds great.

Rui-no-onna, I heard a couple other people refer the HVR-2250 for HTPC builds. I am going to check that out.

Sorry I cant help you Yoko, as I am just getting into this myself. Any good links for info about what a HTPC is, would be nice.
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post #4 of 5
From what most people on the 30 to 40 overclocking sites I've seen lately alone comment. An htpc is pretty much a relatively quiet pc, that also uses a low amount of power and is meant to be used for watching video primarily.

One example i think most people use is your case setting up a pc in a relatively slim case that can fit into an entertainment center, for use with a tv tuner and online video such as YouTube,boxee,netflix,hulu etc.


Most people use a mild video card to help with video playback and to occasionally play some games.
Ultimately you should set up the htpc to cater to your needs after reading different posts by other of their setups. Sometimes this will give you great ideas about what software would work best for you as well as whether or not your specific hardware will handle HD video well or not.

Thx also to the previous posters for your tv tuner recommendation!
    
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post #5 of 5
the problem with digital cable and pc's is the fact that the pc cannot decrypt the digital signal without a cable card & tuner... those aren't common yet and very expensive.

so for now, if you wanted, you could get an analog tv tuner and plug in the cable line from your digital cable box or digital converter (whatever settop box you have), but you would have to change channel through the cable box not your PC (unless you get an IR blaster--a workaround). Either way, its a pain in the butt.
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