HTPC Building - A HotHardware How-To Video Spotlight - HotHardware
HTPC Building - A HotHardware How-To Video Spotlight

HTPC Building - A HotHardware How-To Video Spotlight

Building a Home Theater PC is often times a much better option for enabling your entertainment center for various forms of digital media playback capability.  Rather than stepping up to additional discrete components, like a stand-alone Blu-ray, DVD or CD player, why not really infuse your living room entertainment center with real intelligence and multimedia muscle and build an HTPC (Home Theater PC)?  In this video, we'll give you some suggestions on a few component selection options for building an HTPC, as well as a high-level overview of its assembly and a few key design points to look out for.



HTPC Building - A HotHardware How-To
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That's a very nice guide to building an HTPC Dave. I have been thinking about doing this so I appreciate the walk through and considerations overlook.

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I really like the flat case the shuttle-esque case was cool, but the other one was great. 

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Nice. I have been debating on doing something for awhile now. Would be cool if you guys could of hit on the software end of things to kinda show some of the options available.

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That's some beautiful cabling there Dave.

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gibbersome:

That's some beautiful cabling there Dave.

 

Hahah... it's actually pretty messy compared to what Marco can do!

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Nicely done! I may have missed it, but what OS did you use? Also, is there an IR provision available so the units can be remotely controlled? Cheers!

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Thanks, Gator.

We used Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and yes, there are a bunch of different Windows Media Center remotes on the market these days. Just plug in a USB wireless dongle from one of these kits and you can control Media Center and some basic Windows functions from the comfort of your couch. Sorry we didn't cover that! There is only so much you can squeeze into these videos and keep it reasonably concise. :)

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Thanks again!

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Very nice guide you put together, Davo.  Was that a snapshot of your home theater system at the beginning?

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Well, this makes sense. If a component decides to fail you aren't stuck with buying a whole new system (like a brand new DVD player). You can just replace the drives. 

Nice post!

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Not much space for wire management in those HTPC cases. I use an older Thermaltake Tenor with mine and it's not pretty on in the inside.

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Dave_HH:
there are a bunch of different Windows Media Center remotes on the market these days. Just plug in a USB wireless dongle from one of these kits and you can control Media Center and some basic Windows functions from the comfort of your couch.

One thing I would like to say in on this topic. If you have a iPod Touch or a iPhone then check out Mobile Air Mouse. http://www.mobileairmouse.com/

I have been using this app for a while. There is a free and payed for version. The free version turns your iPod into a touchpad kinda like a laptop. You can also use the keyboard. The payed for version adds shortcut buttons for browsers and and media players. It also adds a mode like the logitech air mouse were you move the mouse like a wii remote. I have the payed for app and the shortcuts work for VLC and Firefox. I'll test it in Windows 7 Media Center see if it has shortcut buttons.

I have the old ATI Wonder II remote here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16880100402

I actually prefer the Ipod air mouse though. The way it works is you download the program on your PC then download the app on the iPod/iPhone. It will pick them up over wifi. You do need to have wifi though. It will not work over 3G if you have a iPhone you have to have wifi. 

 

Anyway great app if you are thinking about a HTPC. 

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bob_on_the_cob:

Dave_HH:
there are a bunch of different Windows Media Center remotes on the market these days. Just plug in a USB wireless dongle from one of these kits and you can control Media Center and some basic Windows functions from the comfort of your couch.

One thing I would like to say in on this topic. If you have a iPod Touch or a iPhone then check out Mobile Air Mouse. http://www.mobileairmouse.com/

I have been using this app for a while. There is a free and payed for version. The free version turns your iPod into a touchpad kinda like a laptop. You can also use the keyboard. The payed for version adds shortcut buttons for browsers and and media players. It also adds a mode like the logitech air mouse were you move the mouse like a wii remote. I have the payed for app and the shortcuts work for VLC and Firefox. I'll test it in Windows 7 Media Center see if it has shortcut buttons.

I have the old ATI Wonder II remote here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16880100402

I actually prefer the Ipod air mouse though. The way it works is you download the program on your PC then download the app on the iPod/iPhone. It will pick them up over wifi. You do need to have wifi though. It will not work over 3G if you have a iPhone you have to have wifi. 

 

Anyway great app if you are thinking about a HTPC. 

Great tip!   Thanks Bob!

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Hey Dave, why no All-in-Wonder card or tuner card?  That would be something I would want in any HTPC.

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InfinityzeN:

Hey Dave, why no All-in-Wonder card or tuner card?  That would be something I would want in any HTPC.

 

So true InfinityzeN!  The fact of the matter is, we didn't have time in the video to cover it.  Youtube limits you to 10 minutes max and we always try to hit that so we can push the content to the large YT community out there.  You're right though.  That should have been something covered and I would have opted for a discrete tuner card in this build.

 

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So we figure another $100 or so to cover that.  That was the only fault I found, the rest of the build is great.

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Hah, I didn't even notice that a TV tuner card was missing Smile

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So what tuner card would compliment this setup the best?

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I like Hauppauge cards personally.  Something like this:  http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr2250.html

Note that it's PCI Express X1 to drop in one of the spare slots.

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Dave, I read the question about the audio over the card as to an internal spdif cable that needs to be connected to the video card. I know some that it's required is it not to get the sound to travel over the HDMI? The 1 I remember with the card my buddy used required a tiny 3 pin cable that connected it.

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nelsoncp21:

Dave, I read the question about the audio over the card as to an internal spdif cable that needs to be connected to the video card. I know some that it's required is it not to get the sound to travel over the HDMI? The 1 I remember with the card my buddy used required a tiny 3 pin cable that connected it.

Hey Nelson,

There are some cards that need a cable for the audio pass through, while others don't.  The new generation of ATI cards we used didn't need this.  Surround sound audio was present over HMDI exclusively.

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Dave_HH:

I like Hauppauge cards personally.  Something like this:  http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr2250.html

Note that it's PCI Express X1 to drop in one of the spare slots.

A lot of the Hauppauge variants have good Linux support too - which is what I would want for MythTV.  Great guide - I may actually have to look into building one.

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Dave that was a good video something I,ll definatly refer back to! I just couple mnor questions if you would had more allowable time for the video would you have gone for an all in one setup on the tuner card and ant particular reason you did not use an AMD platform as one of the builds! Im going to add a AIW 5000 to an existing computer I,ve I have just curious why you used exclucise Intel ! Also Im looking forward to checking out the AIW 5000 always wanted an AIW way back when but they are marked improvements from then and now!

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amdcrankitup:

Dave that was a good video something I,ll definatly refer back to! I just couple mnor questions if you would had more allowable time for the video would you have gone for an all in one setup on the tuner card and ant particular reason you did not use an AMD platform as one of the builds! Im going to add a AIW 5000 to an existing computer I,ve I have just curious why you used exclucise Intel ! Also Im looking forward to checking out the AIW 5000 always wanted an AIW way back when but they are marked improvements from then and now!

Heya amdcrankitup,This video is pretty dated now but if I were to do it again, actually I'd probably go with a new AMD Zacate / Brazos system and a dedicated tuner card.  The other way to go for a bunch more horsepower if you need it, would be Intel SandyBridge and a dedicated tuner card.  We have a new HTPC build coming with Mat Miranda on our team that will look at SB solutions.  Marco just looked at some AMD base solutions here: http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Fusion-Hits-Retail-Zotac-and-Gigabyte-E350s-Tested/

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I was curious to ask because I wasnt sure at the time of the video if there were more available Intel solutions offered for a HTPC setup than AMD! Thats why I asked! Bit I will be looking for this upcoming (HTPC build coming with Mat Miranda on our team that will look at SB solutions)!

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