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Old 02-02-2010, 10:51 AM   #1
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Default Help building a Media Center PC

I'm just dipping my toes into the Media Center PC waters...just testing them out. Not sure I want to jump in or not.

I'm not even really sure where to start. I don't know what is implied when you say 'Media Center PC' so I'm going to lay out what I want.


-Store/Play videos on my TV

-Store/Play music through my TV -- No surround sound at my house.

-Record TV -- ideally I'd be able to record things that are on a specific channel at a specific time when I'm not home - like TiVo. And maybe even record shows on different channels while I'm watching something else.

-Watch TV -- having my Cable run through the computer into the TV.


What else can I do with a Media Center PC?

Build/Budget:
I have several computers around that I might use, as well as HDD. Do I need to have XP Media Center or can I use just XP Pro? I'm not too concered right now about having a 'media center' case because it will be tucked inside an enertainment center that i can close. What kind of video card will I need? Any software I'll need. I'd like to do this for as cheap as possible. I'm willing to trade performace for price at this point, just so i can experience it and decide if it is something i want to fully persue.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

Win7 basic has media center...just use that?

AFAIK only xp media center edition has media center.


Does your budget include the OS?
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

I guess when I said I have a computer, I meant that I have: OS, keyboard/mouse, HDD, DVD-RW drive, RAM, CPU.

Need: Tuner & Possibly a Vid Card.
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

what gpu do you have?
Also, do you want HD? if so, what signal types, and do you have a PCI-e x1 slot?
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

No PCI-e x1 Slot. Not too worried about HD. If there isn't a big price difference then sure otherwise no.

The GPU I have now is a PowerColor HD 3450. I don't know if that is powerful enough or not. I'm not looking for anything high end.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

3450 will be perfect for SD video.

Since you don't have a PCI-e x1 slot, then you will have to get a SD PCI tuner. I recommend hauppage (or however is spelled) and the ASUS ones.

Do not get HD because PCI cannot provide the bandwidth you need, and the picture quality will be poor.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

Ok. And as far as the software?
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

Use windows XP media center edition or vista/7 which have media center. This way, you can control it with a remote, and have everything in one place. If you don't have a copy of any of those, the software it comes with works, its just not great.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

The software with the tuner card?

Can anyone recommend a low end tuner card?
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Help building a Media Center PC

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116046

I would use mythTV on ubuntu personally, unless you have a copy of vista/7
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