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Old June 30, 2010, 04:41 PM
Finch's Avatar
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Default HTPC experts please help me

I am planning on building my first HTPC but i am quite new to this and i seek for advises. Basicaly i already have a file server that i want to use as a HTPC as well but that can still act as a file server. i also use the file server to host teamspeak. In the file server i have the followings:

GA-MA74GM-SH2
amd Phenom II x2 545 @ 3.6ghz
ddr2 4gb memory
Auzentech X-plosion cinema 7.1 sound card
2x1tb wd Black in raid1 for file server purpose
1 250gb segate for OS

I will keep these parts but for the rest like the tv tuner card, remote, etc (except the case wich i can choose alone) i dont have any clue what i need. There is also a problem. i use the Illico box from Videotron with numeric signal and i heard that tv tuner cards dont support the numeric signal for channel switching because of encryptions but i heard there is still a way to record, how? i dont know. i also heard that i need some kind of IR Blaster to simultaneously control HTPC and Illico box but i am not sure how this works and especially where to find a IR Blaster.

so basicaly this HTPC will be used to Navigate internet, listen to music, watch tv, record tv(best quality possible), watch dvd and maybe blue ray and file server

i need advise on the hardware i need (keep in mind i use Illico box) and software. I plan to use windows 7 for the OS

any advises are welcome

thank you
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Old July 1, 2010, 05:59 PM
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no one has some answers

anyways i ordered some parts today and i hope i made the good choices based on information i gathered from internet. these are the parts:


Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black 1TB SATA2 7200RPM 4.2MS 32MB 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM
This will be to store tv recordings

Samsung SH-B083L 8X BLU-RAY BD-ROM & DVD Writer Combo Drive SATA 2MB Retail Box
Blue-ray, dvd reading and dvd burning

Nmedia HTPC-5000B Desktop Media Centre Case mATX Black 1X5.25 4X3.5INT Card Reader No PS
I know it is not the greatest case (quality wise) but i am on a budget for this

Hauppauge WinTV HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TUNER/ ATSC HDTV / QAM Receiver /RADIO / TV / PCIe
Apparently a very good TV tuner card with good recording quality

Logitech Cordless Desktop EX100 Compact Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo Optical USB
Just a simple kit to use the HTPC

Hopefully I didnt forget anything but suggestions and feedback would be very much helpfull since i am still in learning mode about HTPC


Thx
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Old July 1, 2010, 06:27 PM
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You could still run video out to the capture card and would be able to record/watch like that. Of course you would have to record whatever channel you were watching though. Don't necesarrily need an IR blaster, you could just change channels with the STB remote, but if you want all the media functions for whatever software you will be using with the capture card AND be able to change channels with the same remote, then ya get an IR blaster. I got the same case, good choice :) The quality is actually fairly decent for the price it costs.
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Old July 2, 2010, 02:07 AM
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Good choices.

The HVR-2250 is a great TV tuner card, but the problem is it may be too much in your case if you want to record from the single digital set top box.

I understand from your message that you have a digital signal coming in to the Illico box. For best results, you need to connect the Illico box to the TV Tuner card using S-Video or composite video-audio cables.

The HVR-2250 MCE kit comes with everything you need to set up: A remote, the IR blasters, etc. After you get everything plugged in, you can run Media Center in Windows 7 and get it configured. Windows Media Center should recognize the tuner and ask you questions to set up the guide, the set top box connection etc...

Now for the bad part. The TV tuner card you picked has a DUAL tuner/input - to use it fully you would connect TWO digital boxes. With one digital box only, you are using only half the card.

Solutions:
1. Just use one input from the digital box you have. This way, you can only watch live TV or record. You will not be able to watch one live program and record another.

2. Connect a second digital box and set it up: Now the TV Tuner and Windows media center can control and run BOTH boxes, and you could record one show while watching another live show, or record two shows at once. This is costly (you need to get another box etc..) and complex (running IR blaster cables to both the boxes etc.. may be difficult).

3. Connect one tuner to the digital box, and connect the other tuner using a coax cable directly to the wall. This way, you can have both tuners working without getting a second digital box. One tuner can get the signal from the digital box, the other will be setup to get an analog (non-digital) signal. The problem with this is that you will have a lot less channels on analog than digital...and the signal quality will not be as good. And I don't know if you get analog and digital from Videotron.

4. Get an antenna, and plug the coax cable from the antenna into the second tuner. Set it up as an ATSC OTA (over the Air) signal. Since you are in Montreal, you will get several American HD stations as well as Canadian ones - broadcast for free. This way you have the digital cable channels coming in on one tuner, and the ATSC ones from the antenna.

I am in Mississauga, and I get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, WB, PBS and six canadian channels in HD on my antenna.

I recommend you start with solution 1 first. Then after a while I'd recommend trying solution 4 (borrow an antenna or something, and see how many extra HD channels you pick up).
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Old July 2, 2010, 08:57 AM
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thank you headshot and Mak for your responses.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK View Post
3. Connect one tuner to the digital box, and connect the other tuner using a coax cable directly to the wall. This way, you can have both tuners working without getting a second digital box. One tuner can get the signal from the digital box, the other will be setup to get an analog (non-digital) signal. The problem with this is that you will have a lot less channels on analog than digital...and the signal quality will not be as good. And I don't know if you get analog and digital from Videotron.
actually i receive digital and analog signal from videotron so i will use both on the tv tuner card but i am planing on using an antenna and get over the air HD Channels in the future. only prob is i live in a appartment for now and i dont think i am allowed to hook up an antenna on the building. Yesterday i have read some info about the mobo i use right now and apparently it is not good enough for blue ray playback and that the chipset and video card are not strong enough for this and will use alot of cpu ressources. i then ordered the Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H AMD785G because apparently it is just better at it.

i dont realy want to use a seperate gfx so i am relying on the onboard graphics (less heat output) the Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H AMD785G has the radeon 4200 onboard gfx but apparently it lacks some audio features over HDMI like surround sound 5.1 dts or LPCM, it will only support stereo but i have a 5.1 audio systeme and i would like to fully use it.

So my question is can i run HDMI cable from the onboard gfx for the image and use the optical sound output on my auzentech card for the sound? if this makes any sence

thanks
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