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Media Center Edition questions

Old 08-18-06, 11:25 AM
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Media Center Edition questions

Getting close to finishing up my home theater build in the basement and am looking for components.

I'm thinking I might build a Media Center Edition PC, based on the guts of my MAME arcade machine I no longer have room for. It'll need some upgrades but I had some questions about it for the forum.

1. I've got a nice HK receiver and a InFocus 4805 projector. What would be the best way to hook the computer into the receiver and/or the projector? Get a tuner card with component out? Wire directly to the projector?

2. I was thinking of getting this to control MCE, but it says "Works with: a Media Center PC that runs Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005 or later and has a Windows® XP Media Center Edition Receiver." What is a Media Center Edition receiver? Google isn't helping me on that...

3. I want to watch DVDs, play music and games and surf the web on this thing. I'll be getting an Xbox 360 eventually as well. I know how to build computers and I can certainly spec out my own system, but when it comes to stuff that works well with MCE I'm a little clueless. What's the tv card to get, minimum processor, etc. I have no interest in Tivo functionality or HD watching.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Draven; 08-18-06 at 11:28 AM.
Old 08-18-06, 12:23 PM
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Just a thought...

You might be better off posting this in the Tech Forum.
Old 08-18-06, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by clappj
You might be better off posting this in the Tech Forum.
I actually started to post this there, but thought that since I was trying to get a home theater going, people here might be more knowledgable about the logistics of MCE.
Old 08-18-06, 01:19 PM
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Interesting post and I have had many of these same questions. Ultimately when I could not find out any answers I abandoned the idea. The industry would have you believe convergence is at hand but try getting the manufacturers to actually explain things is another matter.

I believe AVS forum has a home theater section, might try there

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=26
Old 08-18-06, 02:12 PM
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I almost exclusively use an HTPC and have a 4805 running from it and use my receiver for the audio. I also have a TV card but I don't use it. It's no problem at all running that setup.

I don't use MCE though. I don't need that frontend.
Old 08-18-06, 02:20 PM
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X - would you mind posting the specs for your system, how you've got things hooked up and what front end (if any) you do use? I'm curious since I'll have a similar setup.
Old 08-19-06, 02:22 PM
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We're getting kind of technical in the computer area for this forum. We have discussed these things in Tech Talk so I think I'll move it there. Anybody who is looking in this forum will see the redirect too.

I have an overclocked P4 (I forget exactly what the clock speed is, maybe 2.4GHz?) with an ATI 9600 (there are newer, better cards now), a Pinnacle TV tuner card (with remote control), an M-Audio soundcard and a wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse. The coax digital audio from the soundcard goes to my receiver. The DVI video comes out of the ATI card and goes into the 4805 via a DVI->M1 converter cable. The ATI's VGA video either goes to an LCD monitor for working on the computer or to my RPTV.

I have no need for any other connections since that's all I play on my projector. The 4805 does have connections other than just the M1 so you could run separate component cables to it from a standalone DVD player if you wanted and that way you can take advantage of the 4805's excellent deinterlacer.

I can also play music off the HTPC which is networked to a server that I keep copies of CDs on. It uses the same coax digital connection to the receiver as I use for the audio from DVDs. In the case of DVD-Audio, I have a strange USB digital adapter that connects to the receiver through a digital optical connector. I need to use that due to the bitrate of DVD-Audio being resampled from 48KHz to 44KHz through built-in WinXP routines.

I just use WinXP as the OS and when I want to watch TV I click on DScaler and when I want to watch a DVD I click on whatever DVD player I happen to prefer at the time. It's really very easy. I can do anything that you can do on a regular computer too, browse the internet, do email, play games, etc.

If you're using MCE you'll need to refer to a list of components that work in that environment so you're losing some flexibility. I believe the Hauppauge tuner cards are supported.
Old 08-19-06, 08:42 PM
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Excellent info - thanks for taking the time to post all that X, that gives me a great place to start.
Old 08-23-06, 09:04 PM
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God its been a while since I posted anything on DVD Talk.

I just finished my HTPC.

Parts list.
nMEDIAPC HTPC 100BA - Case
AMD 2 Ghz Socket 754 - CPU
Foxconn 760GXK8MC-RS Socket 754 - Mainboard
1GB Corsair - Ram
Geforce 7800 GS - Video
Hauppauge PVR 150MCE - Tuner
Creative X-Fi - Sound Card
DVD Burner with lightscribe

If looks are a factor I recommend researching some of the new cases out there. There are products now that will look nice with your reciever and other home theatre equipment.

You mentioned sound to your reciever. I purchased my sound card for that very reason. It supports DD and DTS. Plus three output areas to hook up your sound card to your reciever with your 6.1 channels if I remember right. Check out Creatives web site for more.

Some links that are helpful.

www.htpcnews.com
www.thegreenbutton.com
www.pcalchemy.com

If you still plan on building an HTPC I do recommend you download the compatability chart for video cards and tuners.

They also have a perfered codecs chart.

Windows Media Center is very picky and to those who are reading this and thinking MCE would be good for your first PC build, I do not recommend it.

Thanks

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