Rob's HTPC Setup (CableCard, Touchscreen LCD, etc..) PICS!

Rob Black

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Last month I purchased a m9300t desktop with Digital Cable Support from HP & 1 ATI Digital Cable Tuner. First thing I did was remove the internals of the PC and transferred them to a Ahanix MCE701 HTPC case (http://www.ahanix.com/products/mce/mce_701.php) a series of upgrades then followed.

- Upgraded PSU to PC Power & Cooling 750 watts
- Added 2 320GB Hard drives for recordings
- Upgraded the memory to 4GB of ram (2GB x 2) from 2GB

Last week I added the Sony CT100 for sound. Anyway, here are a few pictures (I suck at photography)


TV is a 50" 1080i TV made by Hitachi



The CableCard allows me to get premium HD channels in Windows Vista (HBO HD, TNT HD, Spike Tv etc..)



The sound bar fits perfectly on the entertainment stand.






ATI Tuner










Im still trying to get the damn touch screen to work, It works when the PC is hooked up to a DVI monitor but it wont work when out putting via HDMI..:confused: I'll figure it out eventually. :rolleyes:

I really haven't had issues with using CableCard, everything has been running smooth so far. Im pretty happy :D

TO DO LIST:
1. Organize the wires
2. Buy 1 Internal CableCard Tuner & another USB one (3 tuners total!)
3. Install Plugins (EmuCenter, MCE Weather, Outlook Email etc...)
4. Set up webguide (allows you to remotely view live and recorded TV, http://www.asciiexpress.com/webguide/)
5. Purchase IP Security Cameras and integrate them into Media Center (mControl)
6. Replaced the 2 320GB HDD's with 3 1TB HDD's
7. Build Rackmount Storage Server (so I can store all my recordings on a server running windows home server)
8. Buy 3 xbox360's and use them has extenders (So I can share content throughout my house)


Stay tune for updates ;)
 

timme

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TO DO LIST:
1. Organize the wires
2. Buy 1 Internal CableCard Tuner & another USB one (3 tuners total!)
3. Install Plugins (EmuCenter, MCE Weather, Outlook Email etc...)
4. Set up webguide (allows you to remotely view live and recorded TV, http://www.asciiexpress.com/webguide/)
5. Purchase IP Security Cameras and integrate them into Media Center (mControl)
6. Replaced the 2 320GB HDD's with 3 1TB HDD's
7. Build Rackmount Storage Server (so I can store all my recordings on a server running windows home server)
8. Buy 3 xbox360's and use them has extenders (So I can share content throughout my house)

9. Get some deco ;) Show the room some love to compliment that great setup!
 
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Very nice job.
This is what is holding me back from really using my TV Tuner card, no premium channels :-(
I need the modded BIOS, modded OS and an internal TV Tuner to get that unfortunately.

P.S.- Where are you buying that internal TV Tuner from? HP?
 

Rob Black

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Rob Black

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Very nice job.
I need the modded BIOS, modded OS and an internal TV Tuner to get that unfortunately.


Unfortunately, there is no "modded" bios. CableCard has not been hacked. I dont think it will ever be (Unless your talking about something else)
 
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Thanks for the feedback Rob!

Do you think if I get that internal CableCard tuner I will be able to configure it and get it to work on my PC?

P.S. Please post some pics of the rear and inside of your case :)
 

Morppheu

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Very nice setup Rob, congrats! :D
Would be nice to se some pics inside of your case.
Keep the good job.
 

n64man120

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How does the Sony soundbar setup work? Sound?

I have the same soundbar, it works and sounds fantastic. Picked it up several months ago after raves for it on AVSForums. It does 3:1 HDMI switching, along with pulling audio from HDMI/Digital Coax/Toslink, all controllable from the remote. Works great, sounds great, superb subwoofer for the price as well. Can handle 5.1 sources, emulates then in it's 3.1 array.
 

Rob Black

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Alright, so pretty much I been lagging on my "To do" list. I work with computers for a living, last thing I want to do is come home and mess around with computers some more :rolleyes:

Last week I received another MCE 701 Touch screen case from Mr. Heatware (Shout out to Karaktu ;)) and I decided to build another HTPC with some spare parts.

Pictures (Yes, these are crappy, I know)







I placed a hard drive in the media card area.(Under the DVD-ROM)




Specs for HTPC

Generic LGA775 Motherboard
E6600 Core 2 Duo
2GB Ram
ATI 3450
Earthwatts 430 PSU
Samsung DVD-Rom
3 x 500GB SATA HDD
1 x 320GB SATA HDD (OS Drive)


I dont even know what to do with this one, In other related news....

I bought a Optoma HD70 (Dont know why, Impulse buy :rolleyes: ) I guess im building a home theater now.




And, I received my motherboard for my "Digital Media Server"




I got this board for pretty cheap (Thank you Craigslist) I dont know the model number but this board is pulled from a HP server, it runs on Intel's 5000X Chipset

I got the following installed so far.

Single XEON CPU 5150 (2.66GHZ)
4GB of FB-DIMM Memory (Hynix Brand)

Still need:

Rackmount Case
PSU
HDD's (Duh)
Blu-ray drive (For ripping movies)
Raid Card
 

Adidas4275

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looks cool man.....

check out WHS for that build for a media server... the my movies addin is very nice for automated backups of DVDs
 

mryerse

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Last month I purchased a m9300t desktop with Digital Cable Support from HP & 1 ATI Digital Cable Tuner. First thing I did was remove the internals of the PC and transferred them to a Ahanix MCE701 HTPC case (http://www.ahanix.com/products/mce/mce_701.php) a series of upgrades then followed.

Very nice.

Just curious about that CableCard tuner card. As I understand, you can only buy them from oem's. However, I saw that link to one by itself. So I am wondering about it's compatibility. It says to check with your manufacturer, but I'm wondering if they just say that because they are required to, and i can just buy one and put it in any PC? Looking at the picture it doesn't have PCI-E connectors, so I'm assuming it's internal USB. Is this correct?

Edit - I'm also wondering if you used the mb that came with the hp.
 

Rob Black

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Very nice.

Just curious about that CableCard tuner card. As I understand, you can only buy them from oem's. However, I saw that link to one by itself. So I am wondering about it's compatibility. It says to check with your manufacturer, but I'm wondering if they just say that because they are required to, and i can just buy one and put it in any PC? Looking at the picture it doesn't have PCI-E connectors, so I'm assuming it's internal USB. Is this correct?

Edit - I'm also wondering if you used the mb that came with the hp.

Yes, The CableCard tuner only works with a certified CableCard PC. Check out this FAQ

http://msmvps.com/blogs/chrisl/archive/2007/06/10/954764.aspx

Im not sure of the type of motherboard, all I know its made by ASUS, I have to open it to see the model number.
 

mryerse

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Thanks. Since that post I've learned that a Microsoft activation is required. So it sounds like you'd have to use the MB and hard drive and tuner that it came with. I wonder if you could switch any of the other hardware like the video card or the hard drive. Seems like these OEM systems are way overpriced. I like your idea though.
 

Rob Black

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Thanks. Since that post I've learned that a Microsoft activation is required. So it sounds like you'd have to use the MB and hard drive and tuner that it came with. I wonder if you could switch any of the other hardware like the video card or the hard drive. Seems like these OEM systems are way overpriced. I like your idea though.

Yes. You can switch out everything (Video card, HDD's ETC..) but you cant change the motherboard, supposedly the motherboard is flashed with a speical bios. on top of that you need a speical cd key also (for Digital cable)
 

Rob Black

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Here are some updates...

My Media Center PC kept on blue screening, it was determined that the heat messed up the memory, the case doesn't have very good cooling, I replaced the ram with some I had laying around. The computer hasn't crashed since then. (Its been 2 weeks)

I decided im going to rackmount my media center and use extenders throughout the house. Here are my reasons why.

- Consolidate all my servers, htpcs, etc... into one nice 42U rack..for better management
- Improve cooling
- Reduce noise
- I like to rackmount things :p

So with that said, here's what the UPS man brought me.

Lian Li PC-C32B (http://lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=263&cl_index=1&sc_index=26&ss_index=68)





3 Linksys wireless N media center extenders & a Wireless N Router




I am just waiting for the rails for the case to come.

More pics to come... stay tuned
 

spectrumbx

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Nice. :)

I am getting one of those Linksys extenders too.
I was thinking about virtualizing my HTPC and only use extenders, but there are certain things extenders cannot do.
I am going to reserve the extenders for other rooms only.

Does wireless N make a big difference in streaming the contents?
 

Rob Black

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Ok here's a updated shot of the rack.




I put my old touch screen HTPC in the rack, it will act has a "dvd ripping server" and its secondary use will be render pc (using the network render feature in Sony Vegas)

I also put my Onkyo receiver in the rack, this will be used for my theater (Coming soon)

And lastly are the Filler panels, they make the rake look more full (and gives it a "cleaner" look)


emaxsaun: dude ur name is rob black lolololol
 

mryerse

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I have heard that the PS3 has problems with some audio on blu ray such as TrueHD. Have you heard of that?
 

Adidas4275

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the rack looks cool.... i have use one of the linksys extenders and they suck... whats your plan to get your info from your WHS to the extender, i think PP3 will help with some of the issues
 

Rob Black

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the rack looks cool.... i have use one of the linksys extenders and they suck... whats your plan to get your info from your WHS to the extender, i think PP3 will help with some of the issues

I am converting all my movies to DVR-MS format. So they can be played on my XBOX360
 

Rob Black

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Haven't updated this thread in a while. Within the last 8 months I

• Completed my Living room home theater

- Samsung AS720 5.1 Home Theater System
- HD70 720p Projector
- 100” Projector Screen
- New Furniture


• Purchased a secondary CableCard System, Russound SMC-30. Reason for this is for I can stream Blu-Ray & HD-DVD + Watch premium TV Content (This is a work in progress still)

• Purchased 2 Rackmount UPS

• Purchased 3 32" 720p LCD's (One for Kitchen, Guest Room, Outdoor Patio)

• Sold my external Digital Cable Tuners for 4 Internal ones

• Got 2 All-in-One PC's (LCD's with a PC built in)

• Completed my Media Storage Server (4TB currently)


I will post pictures hopefully this weekend.
 

thelead

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looking forward to it. I will try to make a new thread on my setup sometime this month. How are those internal Digital Cable Tuners working out for you? Do you have oem compliant hardware or did you use the hack?

I wish the all companies involved would just let us do all of this without all of the fuss. I would love to turn on my htpc for everything (movies, premium hdtv, games).
 

Rob Black

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How are those internal Digital Cable Tuners working out for you? Do you have oem compliant hardware or did you use the hack?

So far so good, I put 4 of them in my HP system using a registry hack.

YES, I am using legit OEM hardware.

I am aware of the hack but MS could disable that with a simple windows update if they wanted to. I don't want any problems in the future. I know I wont be able to share recorded TV content with the 2 Media Centers but I will able to stream blu-ray, watch netflix, etc.. worth it for me
 

Zachstar

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A little off topic rant but I can hardly believe how much lack of support the cable companies have given to cablecard. Just barely following the law in my view.

In my view they truly hate the system. So I look forward to a dish network solution to ruin their monopoly.
 

nite0

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A little off topic rant but I can hardly believe how much lack of support the cable companies have given to cablecard. Just barely following the law in my view.

In my view they truly hate the system. So I look forward to a dish network solution to ruin their monopoly.

It really is a support nightmare though, having to diagnose computer problems + cable problems would result in a LOT of angry customers. Most cable companies are inept as it is when it comes to supporting their own cable boxes.

But, a PC CableCARD setup when running smoothly easily provides the slickest TV setup possible.
 

Rob Black

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So I had this crazy idea of having a external cable card chassis for my media center. So after googling I found this website: http://www.magma.com and I ended up getting a 13 Slot PCI Expansion System. I though it would be cool to fill this sucker up with 8 cablecards, but after thinking about it, do I really need 8 cable cards? 8 CableCards x $200 a pop....hmm $1600......No thanks.

I only ended up getting 4


Pics!






My Media Center next to the expansion box

 

thelead

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What OS are you running in that box? Are you using it as a media server?
 
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