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Build HTPC to replace DVR, worth it?

BeltaineBeltaine BOO BOO DOO DE DOORegistered User regular
Been looking at software like MythTV and wondering how much trouble it would be to set up an HTPC to replace my current Dish Network DVR.

I have the VIP722k which is an HD DVR

What I like about current setup:

DVR just works, runs for months on end with no hiccups.
HD
Connected to TV in living room and also to TV in bedroom, IR remote for living room, RF remote for bedroom.

What I'd like to have:

DVD library on hard drive for instant access at anytime, extra DVD player in cabinet goes away.
Internet access from couch or bed.
PC games.

What worries me:

Setting up the HTPC to control the Dish receiver I would have to switch to. I assume some sort of IR blaster would be used, while that seems sort of ghetto, there aren't really any other options are there? Also seems to take a small percentage away from reliability since I'm depending on the blaster to send the signal, the receiver to recognize it and make the appropriate action, all without the HTPC being able to determine whether it actually worked or not.

Gaming. Would a big honking GPU even fit/stay cool in an HTPC case without being obnoxiously loud?



Seems like it would just be easier to keep the DVR, and maybe set up an HTPC to do the other things the DVR doesn't, but think having it all in one package would be sweet.

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PSN: Beltaine-77 | Steam: beltane77 | Battle.net BadHaggis#1433
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    Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I just wrote a really long post here and my connection timed out, so I'll some it up!

    I've been running a HTPC setup for a while and would very much recommend it. Originally I had my cable tv coming through a DVB-C card and being decoded by the computer. This involved lots of hacks and jiggery pokery and the only way I could get the channels I was entitled to was to unlock all the channels. Eventually my cable provider (Virgin) changed their encoding and this no longer works, so I'm back to the less elegant route of using a set top box and getting my pc to control the IR commands. It works but it's certainly not preferable. I'd be a happy man if virgin let me use hardware other than their own.

    Anyway, I digress. My setup is as follows (just copied from my ebuyer invoice):

    1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 2.8GHz Socket 775 1066MHz FSB 3MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor 152177 Invoiced Track £86.85 £86.85
    1 x Black MATX Media Center Case With Brushed Aluminium Front Panel - No PSU 135497 Invoiced Track £47.63 £47.63
    1 x Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory CL4 2.0V 143844 Invoiced Track £32.16 £32.16
    1 x Extra Value 400W MATX PSU - 1x SATA, 20+4pin 133577 Invoiced Track £16.94 £16.94
    1 x XFX GeForce 9300 Socket 775 onboard graphics 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard

    The case is this one: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/135497

    It's a bog standard mATX case and fits in well with the rest of my home entertainment equipment. It's small and the case fans are quiet. Recently I've just upgraded to a HD 5750, the new ATI cards have great power consumption which makes them ideal for a HTPC. My XFX HD 5750 is whisper quiet when playing films, though it can crank up a little bit in intensive games. The case is certainly big enough to accomodate the card though, and could probably manage a slightly larger one.

    The other thing you need to consider is software, personally I much prefer Mediaportal to MythTV. It's free, easy to set up, easy to use and looks fantastic. It's also done by the guys who did XBMC, which makes it an instant winner in my books. I'm running either StreamedMp or X-Factor (nothing to do with the tv show) skins which look lovely. Can't decide which I prefer:

    StreamedMp:
    rhym010.JPG
    rhym002.JPG

    X-Factor:
    moving_pictures_listview.jpg

    Definitely worth a look.

    Anyway, my setup manages 1080p films @24p fantastically, which is it's main purpose. With the new graphics card I can play recent games at fairly high settings (Dirt 2 runs at 1920x1080 with most things set to high at around 40 to 50fps). And this all comes through my lovely 42" Plasma and Yamaha 7.1.

    All in all, yes, I'd recommend a HTPC, they're very much worth it.

    Mr_Grinch on
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    Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Here is an Audio Video tech show where they're currently talking about building an HTPC. They're dropping some $$$ on theirs but they explain in detail how to make an HTPC set top box and some of the software you can run with it.

    EP 30: http://revision3.com/hdnation/noveltyremote
    EP 31: http://revision3.com/hdnation/coenbros

    Dark Shroud on
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