the "ultimate" htpc ;)


Nov 27, 2003
ok, my pops and i have been working on making the "ultimate" htpc...this doesnt mean the FASTEST, but it means, the ast, easily workable, nicelayout etc. now, to do this we had to look around. first, you want a HDTV, not a standard one...we got one that has a vga monitor port in the back for old satalites. so we got a vga wire and plugged it into the computer. then you need a program to change the resolution and refresh rate appropriately, or this you'll want power strip. that will take you alotta time, and alotta messing around...when you choose a bad one, you will have to go to Svideo or reboot to undo it. once you get your hdtv hooked up, so it looks VERY clear(can read email on it with no difuculties..keep in mind this is a 27" tv too) you will need to get a program to organize/do eventually you should be able to buy microsofts program which should be great, but in the mean time we are using ShowShifter... its a british program, and abasolutely kicks ass! you can watch movies, watch tv shows, play music, view pictures, etc. all in one easy to use program that is designed for TV viewing!( HIGHLY RECOMENDED!!! can get a 15 day trial on their website!!)once you sort out all the bugs and get show shifter working right, you gotta move onto keyboard/mouse/remote problems....we had problems with people blocking IR keyboards, but RF keyboards were to expensive, or wouldnt shoot far enough...and the ATI remote was a POS! so we went looking....we found a IR keyboard with 3 ports it shoots from, so if one is blocked, no worries! we then used GIRDER to program the keys to pause, play, go ot TV go to music etc. in show shifter....then lastly, we bought a sony VL-700 mouse, had it "learn" the keyboards keys that were needed so that you could just use that! so now we have a hi res TV with one program for everything( exept surf the web:() and a keyboard(built in wheel mouse)/remote, and it will do anything we want!!! im happy : here are the specs for a pretty slow htpc :D

2200+ thorton(was a 1700+ pali before)www
512 ddr 2100 ram
160gb seagate with a 160gb maxtor as back up...
antecoverture case, stock fans and psu
zalman 7000a-cu
ATI 7500 AIW
sony 510 dvd burner
programs: girder, power strip,show shifter
TV/monitor: some kickass zeinith one :)
(this has lasted us 3 years with minimal upgrades(case, Vcard and cpu were upgraded, cpu was an RMA, and everythin else was CHEAP!))
now, from 1 foot away, you can hear a woosh of the fans...from 3 feet its DEAD SILENT with no outside noise, abasolutely wounderful!!!

just thought i should share how to make a good, cheap HTPC!
better with a pvr-250 and a stronger app like Sage or BeyondTV, Sage currently will let you listen to music and look at pictures, and BeyondMedia will let you do that as well.
u use show shifter? it literally does everything, in one simple thing...all the other ones dont do it all, or are more advanced( keep in mind, we have many guests over, and all of them should be able to use this htpc with ease..) yea, im tryin to get him to get a nicer tv tuner, but for now it works :)
I have been running a Mythtv box for 4 months now and I have to say I don't think there is anything in the windows world that can even compare to it.

With my remote I have access to:

Live TV with Pause/Rewind
Recorded TV
Videos (.avi, .vob, quicktime, realvideo all on one player)
My local Weather report complete with satellite weather map.

I can also access my Mythbox from anywhere in the world through the internet and schedule shows I wish to record.

All for the great price of $0.00

Hooked it up to my Projector (10ft screen) and 5.1 surround system. Pretty nice setup.

Here is another link to a really easy to install Mythtv distro. It is based off the Knoppix CD.

I don't really know much about Linux but I got this going really easy and really fast. Now that I know what I am doing I can get a box up and installed with Mythtv in 15 minutes with this.

:( linux=no no... my pops used to work for MS so he aint goin with linux(although i do all the time :))
boardsportsrule said:
:( linux=no no... my pops used to work for MS so he aint goin with linux(although i do all the time :))

Well then make sure your "pops" never uses a Tivo or many other devices based on Linux, and while he is at it should avoid all OSS, since it is ALL bad for the M$.

Sorry, ignore the troll ;)

Seriously tell your Dad to evaluate ALL options and use the one best for you. Great thing about the OSS is you can use it for free, not sure if some of the other ones like SageTV have trials or not. Bottom line try it all, use what is best for you.
Well, my mother is against live television, so for us a modded Xbox is the ultimate media center. I Torrent uber-HQ DVD rips of the TV shows I like and stream them to the Xbox.

The HD spins down after a minute, and you can replace the fan with a much quieter one, so it's practically noiseless and very cheap in terms of hardware.
But can you use it record TV? ;) I've never got the whole "use an Xbox for HTPC" because I've mostly just used one for ripping my games (makes XBox gaming easier) since you only get like half a HTPC.
Well, no, you can't. But like I said, my mother refuses to get any kind of live TV (cable, antenna, etc). Frankly, I don't feel I'm losing anything. TechTV was the last thing I actually watched, but now it's going to suck. All the shows I like are available ad-free in DVD quality on BitTorren anyway (Star Trek, Babylon 5, etc).

The idea is that it's cheap. Refurb Xbox $99, mod chip $35, and you get the cheapest media center I've ever built. It's also a pretty impressive gaming machine, but my mother also has a vendetta against first person shooters. Oh well, you make do.