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I want to put together a hometheater PC. Problem is, it has been years since I built a computer from the ground up. I think i would like to run MythTV on it, but really don't know for sure.

My needs: must be able to copy to the HD and play back blu-ray (and hd-dvd, if possible) must have romm for 200+ movies, and 400+ albums (stored in flac or other lossless format)
I already have a HT receiver that I will be keeping, so digital-out would be ok (unless there are soundcards w/ very good processors and 6.1 analog out)
HDMI video out is a must.

I could also use some reccomendations on software for making the backups, etc.

Finally- budget constraints:

we are not wealthy, so $500-600 is probably the max, and we may have to par down the list and make comprimises to get it even lower...

lastly....would it be better to just suck it up and get a PS3? how much storage do they actually have (in terms of # of bluray movies storable)?

Thanks ahead of time for any help!
 

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I'll be following this with interest as well.

Looks to me that it won't be long before blockbuster and other rental stores will be a thing of the past. It's all gonna be on demand, netflix or some other downloadable outfit.

Be nice to just stick in a cord to my (future) receiver from the laptop and go from there.
 

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There is such a wide range of options it is difficult to reccomend any single setup. It depends largely on what you are after/willing to spend.

Have you tried looking in stores for pre-configured systems? also have a look at PC Magazines and see if they have a "reccomended" setup.
Here down under we have one called PC User and it regularly goes through it's 'best buy' and ultimate systems for gaming or HT.
 

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This might be a lame suggestion. But I see that the Playstation 3 is going to video on demand. Think about this. You get HD movies. The PS3 already has a Blu-Ray player in it. AND you get PS3 to play (or let the kids/grandkids) have a game console already there.

Just a thought. Might be cheaper if it's just movies your wanting to download and watch. Not sure if you can store them however.
 

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Yeah, I don't think you can store discs you already own, which is one of the major requirements. I found a really good DIY since I started this thread, I'll see if I can find the link again and post it....
 

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HT PC is not a recommended way to go particularly with your budget. You would need to spend about $1000 to build one that would be fast enough with enough power to run what you want to do. PCs are tough to configure properly and lip sync and compatibility problems are always present.

The PS3 is a good option but what is your ultimate goal? Do you need a PC or do you have a receiver already?
 

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This might be waaay off topic but it's sorta releated. Assuming there is a computer build that can store DVD's, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. Would it be possible to download saayyy the 2008 NCAA Championship in HD off my DVR and onto a computer that maintains it's aspect ratio?

Myself and some fellow Jayhawks have been searching for an answer on that for about 10 months now. We even got ahold of CBS to find out the possibitly of putting the game out on Blu-Ray (it's on SD-DVD which I have) but they said they would need an astronamical pre-order (money up front of course) to do it.

Sigh....

Sorry for the detour.
 

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Would it be possible to download saayyy the 2008 NCAA Championship in HD off my DVR and onto a computer that maintains it's aspect ratio?
No, PVRs will not alow the recorded HD material to be recorded to another device in HD you can only record the S-Video or composite output.
 

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For HTPC, cool and quiet are the name of the game. I put one together a year or two back, chronicled here:

For ripping blu-ray, you'll need a drive (about $100) and an HDCP compatible video card. Also check out the popcorn hour if you haven't yet, but if Blu-ray is your main concern, you just can't beat a PS3.
 

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I just built a system as outlined in another thread. Although I don't have it connected to by 55" HDTV or projector, it is hooked up to a 32" LCD HDTV and is my main personal computer, but it is very much an HTPC. I'm primarily into video anyway so I built this to be able to play anything... Bluray, HD DVDs, DVDs... video clips... As well as edit video and author DVDs. (I just finished a custom cut of combining both Rocky and Rocky II into one movie).

My new system is a Q8200 Quad Core 2.33Ghz CPU, 4GB of RAM, 1TB of drive storage, an ATI 4650 video card with 1GB of RAM and DVI/HDMI/VGA out and also does full HD audio over HDMI, an LG SuperMulti Light Scribe 22X DVD burner/player, and an LG SuperDrive- Bluray burner, Bluray/HD DVD Player, and DVD burner/player. The monitor is a 32" Dynex 720p LCD HDTV. OS is Vista 64bit Home Premium. All for a cool $1150! The only think I don't currently have in it is a TV Tuner/DVR.

Again, that price included a 32" 720p HDTV :)
My experience is yes this can be done inexpensively, but it also could have very easily cost 2-4 times that much depending on other options and hardware. Keep plenty of funds available for software too! This is similar ground to those that buy a projector but don't factor in the price of the screen. A lot of the software is around $100 or more a shot, and that adds up quick.

As Robbo said though, there are a lot of different ways to go, and even more opinions on which is the right method or the 'ultimate build'. Also as Tony said, it may not be the way to go.

Based on your budget, The Popcorn Hour is an option, as is the WD Media center, and this DVD player also looks very interesting. If you have a cable or satellite box with a DVR, that covers your tuner and cable recorder. Most are capable of allowing you to connect an external USB drive to store extra movies on.

The PS3 is also a good option because it is not just a game system but an excellent Bluray player and media center. It's not perfect, but rarely is anything. The biggest con is it will blow just about all your budget right there. You can probably get a PS3 and one external drive and that's about it.

This is my personal recommendation... don't try to go for the whole enchilada all at once. Rather think about a system that you can build and add on to.

Whatever you do, keep us all informed and pictures of the build and process are always nice too! :)
 

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You're going to have a hard time beating a $300 popcorn hour C-200. Most Proper HTPC's cost well over $1,000-1,500 for components (depending if you recycle some older stuff). $600 is just too tough, since the Tuner alone will cost $100-300, a decent video card for decoding HD will run $200, and quad core CPU will cost $200-300. I have yet to even include RAM, Hard Drives, Blu-Ray, HTPC case, Quiet PSU, high end passive aircooling or watercooling, or a Motherboard.

If for some reason you want to surf the net on your TV, A PS3 would be your friend.


However, I do have one low cost suggestion: Nvidia ION. Newegg sells an AsRock Nvidia ION system built around Intel Atom 330 which can playback 1080p over HDMI for $359 Case, 2GB ram (4GB max) and PSU included. the only downside is the DVD drive, but that can easily be upgraded to blu-ray using USB/1394.
 

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I know this is a bit old, but if you are willing to use Linux with VDPAU and a compatible Nvidia graphics card, it's very easy to build a HTPC that's capable of full 1080p playback for well under 500. I built my HTPC over 2 years ago now and it was only 600 dollars and still today plays high bitrate 1080p files without a problem. Some of my backups are huge as well, I backed up Avatar uncompressed and it's like 40gb's. Plays it without a hiccup.

With that said I still agree with the C-200 comment for a couple reasons, firstly it'll do far more then an HTPC will. Right now a linux based HTPC can't bitstream DTS-HD MA while the C-200 can do this from both blu-ray and mkv's. The second is it fully works out of the box, no messing with programming or trying to get the right set of programs setup. The very worst you'd have to do is update the firmware. My HTPC is very high end, and I'm looking at replacing it with the C-200 because of the lossless audio abilities alone. I'm also looking for something that uses less power.
 

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I know this is a bit old, but if you are willing to use Linux with VDPAU and a compatible Nvidia graphics card, it's very easy to build a HTPC that's capable of full 1080p playback for well under 500. I built my HTPC over 2 years ago now and it was only 600 dollars and still today plays high bitrate 1080p files without a problem. Some of my backups are huge as well, I backed up Avatar uncompressed and it's like 40gb's. Plays it without a hiccup.

With that said I still agree with the C-200 comment for a couple reasons, firstly it'll do far more then an HTPC will. Right now a linux based HTPC can't bitstream DTS-HD MA while the C-200 can do this from both blu-ray and mkv's. The second is it fully works out of the box, no messing with programming or trying to get the right set of programs setup. The very worst you'd have to do is update the firmware. My HTPC is very high end, and I'm looking at replacing it with the C-200 because of the lossless audio abilities alone. I'm also looking for something that uses less power.

Tax Season has since passed a long time ago and we're getting ready for a new one in a couple of months.
 

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Yes I know, just pointing out that even 2 years ago it was still very possible to build an HTPC for under 500 and get full 1080p playback from it.
 

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Yes I know, just pointing out that even 2 years ago it was still very possible to build an HTPC for under 500 and get full 1080p playback from it.
That's now. Then it wouldn't have been as easy. Costs have dropped a lot in the past year-ish.
 

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If you had paid attention to my post, I built my HTPC 2 years ago, it was ~600 bucks but that was with a 300 dollar Silverstone case. So yes even 3 years ago it was possible to build a fully capable HTPC for under 500. Now it can be done for ~300 or so.
 

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You're going to have a hard time beating a $300 popcorn hour C-200. Most Proper HTPC's cost well over $1,000-1,500 for components (depending if you recycle some older stuff). $600 is just too tough, since the Tuner alone will cost $100-300, a decent video card for decoding HD will run $200, and quad core CPU will cost $200-300. I have yet to even include RAM, Hard Drives, Blu-Ray, HTPC case, Quiet PSU, high end passive aircooling or watercooling, or a Motherboard.

If for some reason you want to surf the net on your TV, A PS3 would be your friend.


However, I do have one low cost suggestion: Nvidia ION. Newegg sells an AsRock Nvidia ION system built around Intel Atom 330 which can playback 1080p over HDMI for $359 Case, 2GB ram (4GB max) and PSU included. the only downside is the DVD drive, but that can easily be upgraded to blu-ray using USB/1394.
???? A video card for HD decoding will NOT cost $200. I don't know where you get your info. A 5450 Radeon is like $35 and has FULL Blu-ray GPU offloading.
 
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