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Thread: HTPC's

  1. #1

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    Default HTPC's

    I've been using an HTPC for media playback since the late 90's. Most of my experiences were fairly negative, as most of my HTPCs had many problems, but recently all that changed when I got the HP Digital Entertainment Center z560. I have to say that it is the best HTPC I have come across overall.

    My first few HTPCs were custom built, and I had many driver issues (especially with the ATI All-In-Wonder cards) so I decided to go with a prebuilt unit. Things I liked on the HP are the following:
    1. XP MCE is extremely reliable
    2. I didn't have any problems with the HP drivers
    3. No bloatware
    4. Great for multitasking, i.e. you can burn a CD, download pictures from a camera, and play a video at the same time without any problems
    5. Connectivity such as HDMI, multichannel audio out, optical, and coax integrate very well in a HT environment

    So - I guess I've found my first "good" HTPC and I'm very happy with it. Now how many people have HTPC's on this forum?
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  2. #2

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    I 'had' one. POS emachines w/ amd processor. Had trouble with the thing right out of the box- usb ports/ driver issue? then the video card drivers, thing lasted 13 months and died. I'll be building one HOPEFULLY in the next 60 days.
    It's funny you like the store bought pc after having a lot of customs- I'm exactly the opposite. 3 store bought's and all sucked. 1 custom ruled!
    Congrats on your find.
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  3. #3

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    IMO, the HP Digital Entertainment Center series is much like a custom PC, everything seems custom-built and nowhere like an ordinary PC...

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    Front projection, 2 channel, car audio... life is good!

  4. #4

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    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  5. #5

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    I've built quite a few before. My main complaints were with the ATI All-In-Wonder series of video cards, and the Creative sound card drivers (horrible).

    The nifty thing about the HP is that it has IR control capability, so it can change the channels on your VCR for timer recording.
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  6. #6

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    I've installed a few creative cards in the last two years, never had a problem.

    Who still uses a VCR? :D
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  7. #7

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    Well, it can also control your cable box if you want to.

    As per the creative cards, they seemed to be picky and wouldn't cooperate with certain motherboards like my Asus.
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  8. #8

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    I've had two Creative cards on this pc(ASUS), no problems.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Well, I guess you're lucky then.

    The other thing (which I've never been able to figure out) is that my other PCs would slow down tremendously when you load too many programs or do multiple things at the same time. But with the HP, for some reason you can have Media Center open with some 20 other programs open, and it will not hiccup during video playback. Maybe it has something to do with the Intel Viiv or dual-core CPU?
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  10. #10

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    Please pardon my earlier rant on store bought. I've been frustrated for the past 3 years waiting for the components market to level off- PARTICULARLY, tuner cards, because they haven't been getting good reviews(any of them) on newegg. So, I've been holding off on building one. I've given up. WHEN I actually start building this thing, the tuner card won't be included. Music & video library, and gaming.
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    I've been using a Mac Mini as a HTPC. Front Row makes it easy to find movies and songs. The IR functions, although limited, are reliable, and it is much more stable than any of the Windows media editions I've used. It makes a great web browser on an lcd as well. I don't have a surround setup in the living room, so I don't need digital out, but it is available with a separte box. Video resolution from the DVI out-HDMi adapter-TV looks very good. I keep the Mini's resolution at 768, as the text of the web browser is just too small at the display's native resolution of 1920x1080.
    Tschüss
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    I'm glad you like the HP, but I'm a fan of custom built PCs as well - IF you you what you're doing and pick the right components, you tend to get the most for your money. The HP is nice though because you don't have to jack with a bunch of settings to get things to work.

    If you're a tweaker, and I am, then custom built is the way to go.

    The multi-tasking capabilities you're seeing is a result of how far technology has come in even the last couple of years. It's not specific to HP or any vendor, though I imagine some vendors do implement it better than others.

    I also like the way the HP looks.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  13. #13

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    I was a tweaker, and still am, but unless you pick the right components (and that means matching components, not necessarily the most expensive) and set it up right, you might run into problems. I've had enough with finicky RAM, BSOD's, tuner cards that would freeze up the PC, and poor drivers.

    Back then when the HP was released, it could be had for less cost compared to a custom-built HTPC, especially when you factor in the cost of the OS, software, included keyboard and remote, IR capability, etc.
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  14. #14

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    I'm waiting on good support for BlueRay in a PC before I reactivate my HTPC.

  15. #15

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    I think that will be in the near future...
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  16. #16

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    LG BluRay ROM/ DVD burner $300.00. 5 eggs w/ 112 reviews on Newegg? I don't know if it makes a difference?
    I refuse to argue with idiots, because people can't tell the DIFFERENCE!

  17. #17

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    I still think it's too early to go Blu-ray in a PC.
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  18. #18

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    I like the HP slimline series as an HTPC.



    Replaced the DVD drive with an LG HD DVD/Blu Ray/DVD burner combo drive. Only bad thing is that you can hear either the CPU fan or the PSU fan (not sure which one is more audible) when the room is silent. Since it's small though, I've been thinking of sticking it in a TV stand cabinet and adding some of that soundproofing foam to the sides of the cabinet walls.

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