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FITs: realistic HTPC

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Fitseries3, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    using a athlon II x2 240

    i talked to my cable company and it seems i can just swap my box out for a HD one for free :D going to do that tomorrow, cant wait.
  2. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    No HD cable support?? Building an HTPC without HD cable capability is like building a gamer rig without 3D graphics capibility.

    Building an HTPC means you should be ditching your cable box.

    CableCARD tuner:
    http://ati.amd.com/products/tvwonderdigital/index.html
    http://thegreenbutton.com/blogs/win...g/archive/2009/10/02/a-digital-cable-faq.aspx
    Vista machines require an OCUR compliant motherboard for it to work (there is a hack available to make any MB appear OCUR compliant). Windows 7 machines benefit from a new MS update that makes the ATI DCT work on any system that meets the hardware requirements (in other words... Win7 FTW!!)

    Or wait it out and keep an eye on:
    http://cetoncorp.com/ProductsWMC.php
    I'm pretty excited about this little bad boy! I might just have a couple of ATI DCTs going up for sale later next year!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
  3. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    i have 2 tuners. idk which im going to use yet but i will decide once i get it running.

    UPS just showed up with the rest of my stuff. :D

    more pics soon.
  4. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    lol... nice pink box from TD

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  5. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    I have a slight suspicion that you might be unaware of the limitations of most PC cable tuners.

    Getting HD cable on an HTPC is not as simple as one might think. Over the air HD, yes... digital HD from a cable provider... well, that gets hairy.

    Don't be fooled by the words HD Tuner on the box or in the title.
  6. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    well im fine with recording in SD really. i dont think i'll be using it that much to need an expensive tuner.

    is there any that are $120 or so and can be inside the case?
  7. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    It's not just recording. You will not be able to tune HD cable from a provider at all. SD will tune fine, but all HD channels will give you a "Tuner Error" message on your screen. Your other option is to keep the cable box, but then all your HTPC really is is a very expensive DVD/BD player with internets on it.

    You can also climb up on your roof and install an antenna to get over-the-air HD... but :wtf:

    There is an internal version of the ATI DCT, but finding them has been a challenge in the past. Good luck finding either internal or external versions for less than $200. But, with Ceton's product slated to come out within the next few months you can expect to start seeing more ATI DCT pop up on eBay or for sale threads at more reasonable prices. I paid $300 each for my two. If the Ceton product works as claimed then I will be hunting one down ASAP and selling my ATI DCTs shortly afterwards.
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  8. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not internal, but I use a Pinnacle HD Pro USB stick. It's as big as a larger USB flash drive, you can plug it into a USB port in the rear and a coaxial cable hooks right up to it. You can find them for around $50 bucks. I think I got mine at Best Buy.

    *Oh, it comes with it's own software, but it now works with Windows 7 Media Center.
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  9. MK4512

    MK4512 New Member

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    Ouch! 250k! Move to Canada, we'll have a party lol :toast:

    On topic: I personally find Win 7 a great multimedia player, Windows Media Player looks nice now, very polished. Also, as time goes on you want to make sure that you OS is compatible with new releases (e.g. Multi Media Software) and not left behind...
  10. Exeodus

    Exeodus

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    Windows Media Center does not play back Blu-ray disks, and it is very limited on what files types it will play. Vista is a good choice for a HTPC, but keep in mind that is does not have a protected audio path. You will need to use a sound card like the ASUS Xonar and use the included player for that. But this really only effects Blu-ray playback. IF you rip the movies to the hard drive, just use AnyDVD to remove the restriction.

    Stay away from codec packs, they will cause nothing but problems. All you will need is FFDshow and Haali Media Splitter. You can get them from Free-Codecs.com Also use either Media Player Classic or VLC player for video playback. Windows media player is very limited on what it can play.
  11. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    after some quick research,

    "digital cable tuner's" use QAM tuning.

    both tuners i have are QAM tuners.

    now i know that doesnt mean it will work but it sounds like it would.

    i know the providers often have an encrypted signal and make use of a cablecard but my provider does not use a cable card at all.

    does that mean it may work?
  12. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    So long as your provider pipes its signal to you unencrypted, then yes. The fact that you say they don't use cable cards at all indicates that you might be ok, but do they require a cable box? It is possible that they simply do not support cable card devices and rely on a cable box to do all their descrambling. There are quite a few local providers out there that simply don't do well at keeping up with technology trends.

    If they pipe the full cable spectrum to you in QAM format then you should be fine. Most providers do not do this anymore because it is far too easy to steal cable that way. Local stations (local news channels) are typically QAM and by FCC regulation cannot be encrypted... although some providers still do because they want to protect their HD content. I have heard grumbles of providers getting a security "waiver" to make encrypting local HD channels legal despite brodcast in QAM format.

    I'm not really the expert I am starting to come off as. I just know that I was unable to get HD cable on my computer initially and so I started to do some research as to why. In my case it turned out that "HD Cable Tuner" was more of a buzz word sales gimmick and I fell for it. You'll find out soon enough if you fall into the same limitation. If you use Comcast, Verizon, Cox, RoadRunner, or any other big name cable provider then just be a bit prepared for some hassles. Smaller companies might not be so stringent... or, they may simply be incapable, in which case you may be chained to your cable box.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
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  13. Exeodus

    Exeodus

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    Most cable providers do not use cable cards, and they may never. I believe you should be able to record off one of your outputs from the cable box. I used to do this with Directv, but you most likely lose some quality from the original source.
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  14. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    well i'll give it a try. its all i can do for now.

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  15. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Fit, clean your room man! :laugh:
    Crunching for Team TPU
  16. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    thats my livin room and we are getting ready for the xmas tree. its goin on the right of the tv where the chair is

    once the htpc is done it will replace the dvd/vcr thats under the tv and i am making a riser for the TV to sit on instead of the cablebox/htpc
  17. TeXBill

    TeXBill

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    Best thing in the room is your TV.
    Looks just like mine :toast:
    I got Grande cable here and their Hd cable box works great with my HTPC.
    Haven't recorded anything with it yet, I will try it tonight and see how well it does.
    Let you know................:toast: ;)
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    More than 25k PPD
  18. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    well i got the thing together last night. installed os and all that. got everything running. just havent hooked it to the tv because i got a HD cable box today and had to use the hdmi cable i had for it.

    fuckin sucks.... my ghetto ass cable company only has 7 HD channels. all of which are local. at least the box is free. it does use a cablecard but its some crazy new card and its locked inside the box. cant even take it out to look at it.

    i did found out though... i can purchase another card and use it in the cards/tuners you suggested for only $6. i dont think its worth it though since theres only 7 HD channels.

    i think i may just sell the tv tuners for now.
  19. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Definitely not worth it for 7 channels. No other cable options in your area?
  20. ToTTenTranz

    ToTTenTranz New Member

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    Where is the sound coming from?
    The TV or do you have a speaker setup with an A/V receiver?

    Anyway, I think a Logitech Harmony coupled with a IR receiver is a must for a all-you-can-do HTPC.
  21. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    none.
  22. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

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    Lame. I think I'd have to go with the dish.
  23. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    cant do that either. cable company has contract with my apt. and we cant put up a dish at all. cable or nothing here.
  24. devguy

    devguy

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    Damn, fits with an AMD machine! :laugh:

    Anyway, sounds cool man. Nice TV! I thought about getting in on that deal, but I'm gonna wait until I graduate from UT in May. Hook 'em Horns!

    edit: Man, we need a longhorn emoticon on this forums board ;)
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  25. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    off topic... how hard is it to get into ut austin? i have a 3.9gpa right now and almost 60 hours.

    yeah... im no fanboy on either side of the fence. i favor intel and nvidia but theres nothing wrong with amd and ati.

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