Build your own home theater system (HTPC)

What is HTPC?

A Home Theater PC (HTPC) or media PC is a convergence device that combines the functions of a personal computer and a media center software which feature video and music playback, and usually but not always also digital video recorder functionality. It usually has a 10-foot user interface and is connected to a television or a television-sized computer display, and is often used as a digital photo, music, video player, TV receiver and digital video recorder, and normally controlled with a remote control.

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Pros & Cons of building a custom HTPC

HTPCS are much more flexible and provide much more features than regular DVRs. There is also another advantage which is extensibility. You can upgrade the software to add more options without even touching the hardware or only swap the old hardwares with new ones not the whole things, it's also cheaper specially in long run. The disadvantage is setting up a perfect HTPC is not easy, there are many different parts and components and sometimes finding the right software or hardware is difficult. If you don't have time or the require technical background you might want to consider buying pre built solutions. In that case you can choose home theater systems of high quality to complete your home entertainment set-up.

Components

CPU

In my experience HTPC's CPU does not need to be fast (Unless you want to play games!), specially if power usage is important to you. But i strongly recommend low speed Multi-Core CPUs, currently AMD Dual Core (X2) is the best choice.

Softwares

Windows
Media Center Softwares
Multi Monitor :

Nvidia desktop manager is a very cools software but ultramon is also useful

HD Video/Clips/Movies Source

Audio Calibration

Today Speakers may have even more that 5 parts. Therefore it's very important to calibrate them (Adjust each part's volume) according to to your sitting position to get the best result.

Speaker

Case

Review : Missing Remote

htpc case, Computing, Consumer Electronics, New items at low prices on eBay.co.uk

Kustom PCs HTPC Cases

LCD TV

Remote

Note : I couldn't build a custom one for myself because i couldn't find the parts which was required on local stores, so decided to buy a pre build one which was cheaper. I bought a USB-UIRT

Remote Wonder : all you need for your remote control (Special drivers for ATI remote wonder)

Remote control softwares

The are currently several application available for control your computer using input devices (Remote Control, Network, etc) , here is a short list of this applications :

Headset

Motherboard

Small LCD

Harddisk

Wiring

 

Resources / Guids

Suggestions

  • Memory : 1 GIG DDR
  • Power : Green 600W
  • Motherboard : ASUS A8N-Sli
  • CPU : AMD Athlon X2 3800
  • VGA : 
  • Harddisk : Maxtor 40GIG IDE
  • Case :
  • DVD/CD ROM : Sony
  • Ethernet : On Board
  • Modem : CXT
  • DVB : SKYSTAR HD 2
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