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Home theater PC (HTPC)

Old 05-04-15, 07:26 AM
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Home theater PC (HTPC)

Does anyone have any experience with a HTPC? I am thinking about building one for myself since I like the concept of an "all in one box" that can handle TV (Netflix and Hulu apps), video games, and web surfing.

I have never built a computer myself, but I have heard that it's not too difficult. I have some questions though.

1. Do I need any special equipment for a HTPC above and beyond what a regular PC requires? For example, is a dedicated sound card needed for 5.1 audio? Will Netflix and Hulu have 5.1 audio on PC?

2. Will a universal remote control work with a HTPC?

3. Being a HTPC, I would prefer to have a game console case like the Xbox rather than a regular PC tower case. Is this wise though since PCs need a lot of breathing room to keep from overheating?
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Old 05-04-15, 10:24 AM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

I don't have as much experience as I would like, but I can make a couple comments.

Well, one main comment. You said "all in one", which sounds like a good plan. But, my recommendation would be a gaming computer for games and surfing, and a Roku/Chromecast/AppleTV for apps. Those apps are so much easier on a little device, esp if you want to use a universal remote for video watching. I think the convenience of all-in-one is outweighed by the convenience of a Roku vs an HTPC for the apps.

I use a Roku for apps and a Mac Mini for computing. All hooked up to my dual-screen HT. One projector, one 24" monitor, can switch both screens between any source easily with a higher-end receiver. Logitech K800 keyboard was one of my best purchases for this setup. I don't do a lot of PC gaming, hence the Mac is plenty for me. (my kid is begging me for a Windows gaming PC) You'd want someone else's advice on that part.
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Old 05-04-15, 12:00 PM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

Check out the guide here: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-hom...ing-guide.html

There are numerous case types, but their website has some good examples: http://www.assassinhtpc.com/
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Old 05-04-15, 12:49 PM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

Originally Posted by kgrogers1979 View Post
Does anyone have any experience with a HTPC? I am thinking about building one for myself since I like the concept of an "all in one box" that can handle TV (Netflix and Hulu apps), video games, and web surfing.

I have never built a computer myself, but I have heard that it's not too difficult. I have some questions though.

1. Do I need any special equipment for a HTPC above and beyond what a regular PC requires? For example, is a dedicated sound card needed for 5.1 audio? Will Netflix and Hulu have 5.1 audio on PC?

2. Will a universal remote control work with a HTPC?

3. Being a HTPC, I would prefer to have a game console case like the Xbox rather than a regular PC tower case. Is this wise though since PCs need a lot of breathing room to keep from overheating?
1. I built a regular PC last year. Now I'm looking to make an HTPC for my main room. No special equipment, but you need to look for a case that will take a micro-ATX board. those are the smallest motherboards that will fit into the case. Decent micro-ATX boards will handle 5.1 audio, and several are 7.1 ready. As long as you have the proper speaker setup, Netflix and Hulu will output to 5.1.

2. Good remotes like Harmony will have an option so you can run your PC with it. You will need an IR receiver though to talk to it.

3. Most good HTPC cases have good ventilating room and fans. Check out cases like this.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-037-_-Product

And Newegg is a great place to get your components, and they also have great tutorials for putting a PC together. Best of luck! They're fun to build.
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Old 05-05-15, 01:32 PM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

Here is the Assassin 2015 guide: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-hom...de-2015-a.html


and there are numerous HTPC cases (sizes). Motherboard selection depends on the case selected. Most of the cases that I like, will fit a full ATX board.
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Old 05-07-15, 09:48 PM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

Originally Posted by Spiky View Post
I don't have as much experience as I would like, but I can make a couple comments.

Well, one main comment. You said "all in one", which sounds like a good plan. But, my recommendation would be a gaming computer for games and surfing, and a Roku/Chromecast/AppleTV for apps. Those apps are so much easier on a little device, esp if you want to use a universal remote for video watching. I think the convenience of all-in-one is outweighed by the convenience of a Roku vs an HTPC for the apps.

I use a Roku for apps and a Mac Mini for computing. All hooked up to my dual-screen HT. One projector, one 24" monitor, can switch both screens between any source easily with a higher-end receiver. Logitech K800 keyboard was one of my best purchases for this setup. I don't do a lot of PC gaming, hence the Mac is plenty for me. (my kid is begging me for a Windows gaming PC) You'd want someone else's advice on that part.
I prefer a HTPC over a Roku because many TV shows on Hulu cannot be played on a TV. To the best of my knowledge, having a PC hooked up to a TV will bypass that.
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Old 05-08-15, 09:53 AM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

That's true, that's when you switch over to the PC. Although Hulu's library is crap, so it doesn't come up all that often for me.
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Old 05-08-15, 10:22 AM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

Originally Posted by Spiky View Post
That's true, that's when you switch over to the PC. Although Hulu's library is crap, so it doesn't come up all that often for me.
Hulu is good for currently running TV shows as a replacement for cable TV. Netflix doesn't have currently running TV shows.

$8 a month for Hulu sure beats $50+ a month for cable TV.
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Old 05-08-15, 10:01 PM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

Originally Posted by kgrogers1979 View Post
Hulu is good for currently running TV shows as a replacement for cable TV. Netflix doesn't have currently running TV shows.

$8 a month for Hulu sure beats $50+ a month for cable TV.
Yes. That's why I dumped my $95 TV bill many years ago and use other means to get network shows, including Hulu.
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Old 05-26-15, 10:01 AM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

OP, keep in mind that this is a computer, that has the same issues as any other computer and requires the same maintenance and troubleshooting. As someone that has admittedly not built a computer before that is something to consider. Additionally, my experience, and many others that I have seen comment on the web, is that HTPCs are not the best for people that may not be as tech savvy as others, meaning children, grandparents, or someone that doesnt know computers. They arent as simple to use as other devices out there.
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Old 05-29-15, 08:49 AM
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Re: Home theater PC (HTPC)

If your goal is internet TV from a PC, Netflix, Amazon, Crackle, etc. I would also look at a PS3. Assuming you have a desktop PC in the house you can use Playon to access PC/web only content remotely to the PS3 but also have the benefits of a great game machine, built in apps for web content and internet surfing and a bluray player. A PS3 is a heck of a buy at ~$200 just add a bluetooth keyboard and a Harmony remote and you are all set. The Playon software is now ~$50 for a lifetime license, I paid less than that via specials they have run in the past.
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