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Thread: Home Theater Computer

  1. #1

    Home Theater Computer

    I finally got my home theater computer put together and ready to go. All I have left to do is get it finally hooked up to the TV only and hook it up to the stereo via six channel direct in. I do it that way instead of digital in so I can change all my settings for everything directly from the computer instead of doing it through the stereo. It's all set up for HDMI. I start movies on it, direct DVD copies and hopefully Blu-ray copies, of my 2 TB hard drive. The system rocks. I feed it through my Harmon Kardon receiver and a 50 inch Toshiba widescreen LED running 1080 P. It rocks. Do you have a home theater computer? The system cost me around $600 to build in a custom case that looks like a piece of home theater equipment. Can't even tell it's a computer from the front. I wish I had the money for a new receiver, the display on the front no longer works. It came out before component video even came up. Maybe I can talk my family into a nice Christmas present. LOL.
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  2. #2
    yeah, i got mine all linked thru the network from computer room, to laptop to tablet to projector via theater computer wifi, and to stereo i use a projector with 110' screen.....pretty sweet......

  3. #3
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    I have one as well. I have mine going to my receiver via optical SPDIF (audio) & HDMI (video), then the HDMI goes to my projector (130" woot).

    For movies & music I have a server on my network to hold them. It's alot easier to add drives (24 hot swap drives FTW!) to it than the HTPC.

    Do you use a front end? I'm currently using XBMC for most of it, but have it launch media player classic for movies.

    I haven't gotten around to adding MAME for some old school games on the big screen...eventually.

    The HTPC was close to $500.. everything else was a lot more.
    ---------
    C5-6 / '88

  4. #4
    I’ve got several home theater computers/Windows Media Center extenders throughout the house. Everything is built around a centralized home automation/media distribution server which has a quad TV tuner and several 3 TB hard drives installed so that I can I can watch/record and distribute 4 channels of television, store lossless copies of my music/Blu-ray movies, and house all my personal pictures, videos, etc.. This media is then shared across the network and accessible at every television throughout the house using Windows Media Center on separate HTPCs or through extenders. A plug-in called Media Browser sits on top of Windows Media Center and provides a very clean/graphical look at all the media. All this media at each of the respective locations is easily controlled by using an app installed on an Android phone. It’s a pretty slick set up and really makes it possible for me to view/listen/watch all sorts of media that I couldn’t do otherwise without the help of others.
    I am the Quad in Quadomated. Come read about Life and Technology through the Eyes of a Quad
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Just completed my second HTPC.

    Silverstone Tek GD05B-USB3.0 Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX HTPC Computer Case with 2X USB3....

    GIGABYTE GA-Z77MX-D3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard (came with two "free" sticks of 4GB RAM)

    Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

    SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3)) 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    Running XBMC Media Center on Linuxmint 14 (default [Confluence] skin.) Love it! Will switch to Win 7 Media Center (dual boot) if I break down and add

    Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe - 4-channel Internal Cable TV Tuner Card for CableCARD

    This was my original plan, but Comcast gave me a free cable box for a few months. Will decide when they start charging me again.


    PC is hooked to VGA input of Panasonic 50" commercial plasma monitor.,
    Audio is analog mini stereo plug Y corded to Denon 3805 AVR rca two channel inputs. I'l switch to five channel analog or optical SPIDIF or DVI to HDMI soon. Depends on what cables are in my collection.
    Five channel speakers are all Boston Acoustic. Front L + R fronts are 3 way floor standing towers. Center is a center channel just below the monitor. Rear L + R are 2 way towers.

    Put in a 128GB SSD for the OS + Programs. Have an internal 500GB platter drive for data storage. All the media is on a USB external drive connected by USB 3.

    Still playing around, but I already love it more than its predecessor.
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 12-12-2012 at 11:50 AM.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  6. #6
    Sounds like a sweet set up!

    I've got one of the Ceton TV Tuner Cards and use an Xbox 360 in my garage, and one of their new Echo extenders to push the Windows Media Center interface throughout the house. Lets me get rid of a couple cable boxes that cost 6 bucks per month, and in my opinion is a better/slicker interface. My favorite thing is the single android interface that works on all 3 TVs so I don't have to constantly screw with controls I have a hard time picking up.
    I am the Quad in Quadomated. Come read about Life and Technology through the Eyes of a Quad
    http://www.Quadomated.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chassmain View Post
    Sounds like a sweet set up!

    I've got one of the Ceton TV Tuner Cards and use an Xbox 360 in my garage, and one of their new Echo extenders to push the Windows Media Center interface throughout the house. Lets me get rid of a couple cable boxes that cost 6 bucks per month, and in my opinion is a better/slicker interface. My favorite thing is the single android interface that works on all 3 TVs so I don't have to constantly screw with controls I have a hard time picking up.
    One Comcast rep told me that cablecards are not interactive (which is what I believed.) Another rep corrected her and said the cablecards have recently become interactive. Both reps also said that I would still incur the same charge if I return the STB because one "no charge" box is included with HD service.

    I'm thinking I'm gonna go with the Ceton after the HD service/box charge goes back up. Guess that is the only way I'll discover the real deal with Comcast.

    Did a little research last night. Seems that DVI doesn't support audio at all, and HDMI doesn't really support audio only very well. Guess I'm back to SPDIF or 5 wire analog. The current stereo mini plug from the line out into a Y cord that sends two wires to rca inputs of AVR sounds surprisingly good for music. Want 5 ch for movies. Hate to move everything for cable management. It's a weakness of my layout. Wish I could get behind the machines without moving them. BTW, the bass on the Boston Acoustics will knock pictures off the neighbors' walls, so no dedicated sub.

    I've got a dumb phone and no experience with android. Are you using a smart phone as your remote? Was thinking that a 7" tablet would make an awesome remote. I use wireless mouse & keyboard for everything. I'm typing this on the HTPC. Only use the remote for cablebox and to switch inputs on monitor and AVR & control volume. It's not slick, but it works fairly well. I have full upper body. The advances in controls for high injuries has really taken off.
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 12-13-2012 at 11:18 AM.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  8. #8
    I use my laptop as my theater computer. Using xbmc or mpc-hc with some codecs. Run hdmi to receiver and from there to tv.

    Have some bluray backups and recorded tv shows on external drives.

    I want to build a server but don't want to spend the cash.

  9. #9
    Cablecard technology is one way, downstream only… Meaning it’ll allow you to tune into whatever content your cable TV company makes available (i.e. whatever channels your plan covers, HBO, Showtime, whatever), but is not capable of interacting with any of the premium on demand/movie rental features. So if all you want to use your cable TV for is to view cable TV channels then a Cablecard will work perfectly for that, but if you want to interface with the premium features like movie rentals/on demand, then you’re out of luck.

    You’re right that DVI doesn’t support audio at all; it is by definition a Digital Visual Interface cable, but HDMI not supporting audio very well couldn’t be further from the truth. HDMI is probably the easiest, highest fidelity way to transport multichannel lossless audio. Outside of using separate analog cables per channel it is the only way to send multichannel lossless audio (Dolby True-HD, DTS Master audio) to an audio receiver. Digital Coax/Optical will not support anything better than a compressed 5.1 Dolby Digital/DTS signal. One thing that can be a problem with a home theater PC is getting HDMI audio to work right which sometimes requires the right codec package and settings. If you’re having issues with this I’m more than happy to help.
    I am the Quad in Quadomated. Come read about Life and Technology through the Eyes of a Quad
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chassmain View Post
    Cablecard technology is one way, downstream only… Meaning it’ll allow you to tune into whatever content your cable TV company makes available (i.e. whatever channels your plan covers, HBO, Showtime, whatever), but is not capable of interacting with any of the premium on demand/movie rental features. So if all you want to use your cable TV for is to view cable TV channels then a Cablecard will work perfectly for that, but if you want to interface with the premium features like movie rentals/on demand, then you’re out of luck.

    You’re right that DVI doesn’t support audio at all; it is by definition a Digital Visual Interface cable, but HDMI not supporting audio very well could’t be further from the truth. HDMI is probably the easiest, highest fidelity way to transport multichannel lossless audio. Outside of using separate analog cables per channel it is the only way to send multichannel lossless audio (Dolby True-HD, DTS Master audio) to an audio receiver. Digital Coax/Optical will not support anything better than a compressed 5.1 Dolby Digital/DTS signal. One thing that can be a problem with a home theater PC is getting HDMI audio to work right which sometimes requires the right codec package and settings. If you’re having issues with this I’m more than happy to help.
    What I'm asking is if HDMI can be used for audio ONLY going from the HTPC to the AVR, with HTPC video going to the monitor by VGA? As I said earlier, the cables are a hassle to switch, so I'm trying to eliminate finding out by trial and error. I have neither a dedicated video or audio card, but I'm pleased with the onboard capabilities of the motherboard. There are five audio analog outputs, HDMI and Optical SPDIF. There's a good picture of the board in the link I posted in message #5. The monitor doesn't have a HDMI port. I run the HTPC directly to the monitor by VGA. Everything else goes to the AVR and then to the monitor by component video. It gives me a lot of flexibility since the monitor has its own video switcher and the Denon amp allows any combination of video and audio inputs to be selected. I often watch a ball game while I listen to HTPC music files or listen to cable news while surfing the internet video content. Monitor also allows multiple PIP windows.
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 12-17-2012 at 07:26 PM.
    Foolish

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