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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

After rummaging through various forums for a couple weeks I have finally pulled the trigger on a new HTPC. Here is what is sitting in a UPS truck right now:

CPU: AMD X2 4800+ 2.5Ghz
MB: Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H
Memory: 2GB Corsair Twin2x2048-6400C4 (DD2 800MHz).
DVD Drive: Pioneer DVR-212
Hard Drive: WD Caviar SE16 500GB
Tuner Card: Hauppauge 1178 WinTV-HVR-1600
Graphics Card: None
Case: Antec NSK2400


I will use the HTPC to play music, record TV, and watch movies, in that order in priority. I will only be watching standard defintion movies for now. Hopefully that will change around xmas :bigsmile: The HTPC will be connected to a 27in standard def. TV. I'm worried that I won't be able to read any text given the TV's resolution so I was contemplating controlling the HTPC using remote desktop and other software.

Now here are some still unresolved dilemmas:

1) Operating system:
Should I get Vista Premium, Vista Ultimate or MCE 2005?

2) DVD playback software
Do I need something like PowerDVD?

3) DVD ripping
How can I legally make backups of DVD movies? Should I get AnyDVD?


Any comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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1) If you're buying, might as well get Vista Premium, you'll want it eventually. If you already have a copy of MCE, stick with that. Ditto for any other version of XP, and then use 3 party software to get a 10 foot interface. Snapstream is great recording software, and their firefly comes with a 10 foot interface that works just as well as their beyond media software.

2) yes

3) You can't according to the MPAA. If you still want to try, "rip it 4 me".
 

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I would stay away from Vista because it imposes all kinds of 'access restrictions' on your content. If you're HDMI, you might be able to get away from some of the problems, but since you're going to be playing content that isn't sanctioned by vista, it may cause problems at some point.

Make sure MCE will work with your components- typically it is built by OEMs with a limited equipment list. There are a lot of freeware software that will do the functions of MCE with less trouble.

Some of my notes are here: http://farzanegan.org/ht/labels/HTPC.html

Scroll down for the 'don't use vista for htpc' post.
 

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3) DVD ripping
How can I legally make backups of DVD movies?
That's a real dilemma- Fair Use and Copyright state that you're allowed to make backups for personal use. No problem. However, when DMCA was passed, it made it illegal to circumvent protection, which all (commercial) DVDs have. I guess the only really legal way to do it is to have a recorder on the output of your DVD, e.g. VGA (which, surprise! is why Vista won't allow protected content to go outside a protected channel,i.e. HDMI).

Someday, it'll be straightened out- fair use versus DMCA.

For DVD ripping, try DVD Fab Decrypter. This is, of course, only for non-CSS encoded DVDs. :T

BTW, DMCA is getting beaten down slowly. There was a case where someone made a print cartridge that had a chip that reported it was an 'official' chip. Some clever guys figured out a way to make their own chip and could sell cartridges for far cheaper than the OEM- and got sued under DMCA for bypassing copyrighted content. :coocoo: It got thrown out for multiple reasons, one of which was slippery-slope of 'imagine a car manufacturer putting this chip on every component of their vehicles- tires on up'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the suggestions toecheese (I just realized your name is not touch-eaze :sick:)

Do you know if you can connect via remote desktop to a computer running MCE? I heard that you can easily "hack" Vista Premium to enable remote desktop. I'm pretty sure I'll want RD or the equivalent.
 

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For remote desktop, with any operating system, you can always use VNC, which is free (though there are pay variations). Check out http://realvnc.com I use it to run my UNIX workstation from my PC, my PC from my Mac, etc.

Since MCE is based on XP, I'm pretty sure it will allow remote desktop (I have it, but can't remember if I tried).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll have to check out the VNC options.

I noticed that you also have the NSK2400 case. Did you find that the three chamber design was a little cramped? I'm worried I won't be able to use all of the SATA connectors on the motherboard, as they will be really close to one of the inner case walls.
 

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No, the NSK2400 case is a dream. They really though it out well with sliding doors for cables (you can open it up to pass the connector through) and slide it shut for the airflow.

I don't have the link with me, but there's a review site where they put it through its paces and did beautiful cable management.
 
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