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help building a htpc

maginoodle

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Hi all, i have bought a dell optiplex 775.
The only info i have now is- 1 X Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E4400 @ 2.00GHz, 2048MB RAM, 250GB SATA HDD, 48 Speed PBDS DVD+/-RW DH-16W1S, 0 KB Device `94c1`, Device `10bd`, HD Audio Controller, Serial KT Controller, HECI Controller, 8 USB Ports, 1 Firewire ports.

Now i know its probably not the best base to start with but its what i have got.

I would like to have twin high def tv tuners, be able to use a remote control to control the tv tuners and my media files and also want a hdmi output to go to my plasma.
Am not sure on what audio i would like but i probably should have 5.1 if not 7.1 surround if possible.

I am happy to buy of ebay or any of the major online stores to get what i need.

As it isnt here yet i am unsure if it has a os or not. I have bought from greys before and the listing has stated no os but everyone i have bought from there has come with a windows product sticker.

I am happy add other stuff if needed.

Any help appreciated

Cheers Shane
 

maginoodle

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maginoodle

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Hi all, i had to move my telly today. I noticed that it has a vga input. Would it work good enough, or would a video card still be needed? (There is an audio input to go with it.)
I actually dropped the hard drive with all my avi files and it wont work any more, so i may try and find and high def avi file and try it sometime naxt week, but if anyone has tried it before it would be good to know if i am wasting my time.

Also if i am not worried about having a remote to use it, is windows media player good enough to play high def files? I will most likely get a wireless keyboard and mouse so i will still have remote type control over the comp.


Cheers Shane
 

50LTRv8

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Hey Maginoodle

First of all that spec is fine for a HTPC, I am running an Athlon 3000 for mine :)

Sorry I missed this thread :( How old is the TV, my TV has a VGA input but only allows 640 * 480 resolution which means that you won't be able to play DVD (DVD player software detects the res is to low and stops the DVD

After reading through your thread and after looking at another one here
http://forums.justcommodores.com.au/lan-lounge/159897-media-centre.html

I would ditch the HTPC all together and get what Hozy has suggested, it will be much less complicated and if I had a high def TV I would ditch my HTPC too for one of these. If you still want to proceed with the pc keep posting and i can fill you in
 

maginoodle

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i tried a standard def avi file, the picture was pixilated. So i bought Manli GF8400GS DDR2 512MB video card PCI-E HDMI (eBay item 320648593033 end time 06-Feb-11 10:29:37 AEDST) : Computers am having trouble swiching to the hdmi output but i tried the same avi through its vga and it showed perfectly. Have tried following the instructions that came with the card but it doesnt do what the instructions say it will.
Today i also worked out why my second sata wouldnt work, i had plugged it into the esata port and not the sata port next to it. It is the hard drive i dropped, i checked a few files they seem to be working ok so i thing the portable media player it was in is broken and not the drive.
I have also bought Internal NTSC PAL TV Tuner MPEG Video Capture PCI Card (eBay item 250773595712 end time 19-Feb-11 18:18:23 AEDST) : Computers and Asus 7131 Hybrid PCI Analogue TV& DVB-T Card (eBay item 220737863227 end time 21-Feb-11 09:29:42 AEDST) : Computers i havent got them yet. I am hopeng that will give me twin tuners. I didnt look to see how many slots(pci i think) are left but i will look at that when i get them.
Am thinking of my internet now. I have a four port modem with wireless. I am currently using all four ports. Am thinking that it is probably best to get a wireless card and put it in the comp that is used the least and then run some cat 5 to this one. That will save a slot in this comp.
Are there any real differences in wireless keyboards and mice? I want to get a quality brand bat i dont know anything about them.

50LTRv8 i cant remember when i bought the tv. Its VIVO International Corporation P/L only a cheapy.


Cheers Shane
 

50LTRv8

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I take it your going ahead with the comp so here goes.

What resolution are you runing on your computer through theVGA port, I would have thaught if you can run the TV res (1024x 768) that would be more than good enough. HDMI does give you the advantage of having the sound through the TV (mine is though a nice set of computer speakers).

When you say the computer is having trouble switching to HDMI, do you have the VGA and the HDMI plugged in at the same time?

The tuners you have got seem o.k. the first one does not say if it is digital though, the second one is fine as it is both analog and digital which is what I have, although it has no remote.

I would have a look at the program I am using as a front end, Mediaportal, google it and see what you think, it works well and alough it seems complex to setup is pretty easy in the end. Also make sure you have somthing like cccp for all the required codecs

Another option for you network is to purchase a small 4 port switch and use a network cable to go between the switches, works well and sames on buying a wireless card.

I am not up to speed on the keyboard/mouse, but for mine I use the remote that came with my TV card and then have a mouse/keyboard on top of the comp hidden away for emergencys.
 

maginoodle

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thanks mate, i didnt even give digital a thought. If it doesnt work with digital i will get one that will. Once i get net access on it i will download mediaportal it looks like it has everything i need.
I started putting all my files on my dropped drive into alphabetical folders. That drive seems slow and it wouldnt read all the files. I have enough room on the primary drive to drag and drop them onto it, so i will do that and get a new secondary drive. Since it will be in a pc and wont be dropped i think i will go a 2 terabyte so that i dont run into any space issues for a fair while. I only have 200 gig of files atm.
That keyboard looks good.
I do have the vga and the hdmi hooked up at the same time. I will try shutting down and removing the vga and see if the hdmi output then works.

Cheers Shane
 
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50LTRv8

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Coolies let me know how ya go
 

maginoodle

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My secondary drive has caused me all sorts of problems, i ended up disconnecting it. The comp the started giving bsod's, so i have had to start again. Formatted the primary and re-loaded xp. Installed sound and ethernet(still waiting on cat 5 to hook it up) drivers. I got the second of the tv tuners and have installed it and loaded its drivers, i have to get an antenna splitter so that i can use it.
I have it working through the hdmi cable now. I cant get the sound to work. I dont know what the cause is. I can get sound through the speaker output from the comps speaker output, but i cant get it through the hdmi. Any ideas what the problem could be? There is a cable that comes from the video card that has one wire marked gnd and the other spdif. From doing a google search that wire is usually hooked to a cd or dvd drive. I have looked over the mobo and cant find anywhere to hook it.There isnt anywhere on my dvd drive either. Would that be the problem?

Cheers Shane
 
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