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[vox-tech] HTPC/Media Center build questions
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[vox-tech] HTPC/Media Center build questions



Hello everyone!

Iím looking to built a HTPC/Media Center PC, whatever you may call it. 
Here is some background.

Iím tired of paying for the poor quality of cable TV.  I live in an area
where I should be able to get both SF bay area and Sacramento OTA TV. 
Iíve done an initial test with old rabbit ears, and it looks promising. 
So Iím in the process of building a DIY antenna that is posted all over
the internet that is supposed to get really good reception.  Iíd also like
the ability to stream Netflix.  Now, I could get a digital converter box
for my Tivo, and buy a Netflix ready device for the TV and have multiple
devices hooked up to my TV, or I can take some time and build an HTPC that
will have a PVR, Blu-Ray/DVD, Netflix streaming, and a variety of forms of
internet TV, etc, in one device. (I should get HD PVR ability with the
HTPC; no HD with Tivo)

I welcome any and all input regarding this build; recommended components,
configurations etc.  Itís been a few years since I last build a computer
from scratch and I need to catch up on some of the tech.

I do, however, have some questions that are important to me, but someone
answering this request may have a solution or work around which may render
said concern moot.

At the moment, I like a simple style case, something like:
http://www.silverstonetek.com/products/p_contents.php?pno=LC13-E&area=usa

I like how everything is covered and hidden until itís needed.  However,
there is no IR.  So, if I plan to use a remote to control the HTPC, Iíll
need an IR dongle.  I donít want dongles.  I want a clean, neat and tidy
finished appearance.  I guess I could go RF, with a hidden USB dongle out
the back USB port (or I may even be able to hide the dongle inside the
case) but then I would need two remotes, an RF one for the HTPC and a IR
for the TV and Audio receiver if I choose to add one in the future (unless
those features can be added to the HTPC) Iím having trouble finding an
affordable universal remote that handles both IR and RF.

Iíve read many different forums and web pages on HTPC builds, and the
thing I read about most is noise.  Most of the noise is generated from
fans cooling the unit, therefore low power/ low heat components are
important such that less fans and lower RPM are needed.  So should I just
be looking at the processor wattage?  Does 32, 45, or 65nm processors make
a difference?  And letís not forget the age old questionÖ Intel or AMD?

Iím not a PC gamer.  Ideally Iíd like a motherboard with integrated video
and sound. (runs cooler?) HDMI and digital Audio out on the MB would be
preferred.  (If someone objects, please tell me why and give
recommendations).

Should I get one really large drive for both the OS and media storage? 
Would two physical drives, one for the OS and one for media, be better? 
(Ideally Iíd like to use Mythbuntu, but I may have to start with Windows
7.  Netflix has yet to support linux.

Any recommendations on a TV card?  Is any one card better than another?  
On a side note, I was looking for a card with dual inputs, one for cable
TV and one for OTA.  Does such a card exist?  From what Iíve seen, itís
either cable or OTA, not both.  Iíve also read that the media center
software (windows) can only handle one TV card at a time. (I know I said I
was dropping cable, but since I will still have internet via cable, I may
still get some ClearQAM)

Thoughts, concerns, ideas, input are welcome.

In advance, thank you very much!

Aaron

PS, I'd like to keep the build affordable, but I'm open to spluge on an
item or two if the reasoning warrants.


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