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Integrating my computer as part of the entertainment center

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 18, 2008 5:27 AM PDT
I have been noticing a lot of people attaching their PC to their television now. Most people that I know are only using it as a monitor for their computer, but I know the technology is farther along than that. Having all my media on the hard drive seems like a great way to clear the shelves of the tacky CD & DVD cases, as well as a way to easily access media files. I would like to know how far along it is. Is using my PC as a component to my media center a viable option? Is it really expensive? What are some of the things that I?m not even aware of? Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

--Submitted by Phil G.

Here are some answers from our members to get you started, but please read through all the submission within this discussion thread for more helpful advice and information.

Media centers of the future... --Submitted by Wolfie2k5

Lots of possibilities --Submitted by bluemist9999

Been using my PC as my "Entertainment Center" since 2004 --Submitted by Bubba_Gump

All-in-one --Submitted by Impreza WRX

If you have any additional advice or recommendations for for Phil, please click the reply link and submit your answer. Please be as detailed as possible when providing a solution or recommendation. Thank you!
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by XSYLUS / July 18, 2008 12:40 PM PDT

Since the introduction of High-Definition televisions, the bridge between the personal computer and the living room entertainment system has been forged. Microsoft released their Media Center edition of XP to help users get the most out of this frontier. Personally I've been watching movies on my computer for a long time since it's relatively cheaper to get a surround sound expansion card than it is to get a surround sound entertainment center. Just recently, since the news about analog television being outmoded broke, I got a usb hdtv tuner for use with either my desktop pc or my laptop. Since I have a 24" widescreen monitor it seems more practical for me to use it to watch hd channels rather than spending money I don't have on a plasma, LCD, or LED television, besides I can pause live TV and record tv shows like a DVR unit straight to my computer.

The PC for the most part has been the pioneer of all technology. High definition has been around for a long time in the world of computers and while the televisions of today can get roughly 1024 to 1280 resolutions at the highest, computer monitors can reach resolutions higher than 1920. Ultimately having your computer and TV combined is a great way to have an all-in-one media entertainment center.

As you mentioned, storing videos on the hard drive does reduce clutter, however, I caution you that having the original movie or music on DVD or CD is less vulnerable. Overtime hard drives wear out and it is possible to loose data that is stored on a hard drive if it is not backed up to another hard drive or to some form of media like DVD-R or Blu-Ray discs or even flash memory drives or memory cards like Secure Digital.

Personally I am expecting the next wave of entertainment medium to be memory cards; little computer chips that store movies at high-definition quality. When this day comes, anyone who has a DVD player or a Blu-Ray player will once again have to fork out more dough on a new player that can support the new medium. Whereas anyone using a computer will either already have the ability to play this media or will be able to support it with a firmware, software, or inexpensive hardware upgrade.

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Quality Issues
by Winchester257 / July 26, 2008 2:24 PM PDT
In reply to: TV & PC

This is what it comes down to.Quality or sacrificing some of it to gain space.

For audio there are quite a few different formats that you can choose from : MP 3 / AAC / WMA / OGG / FLAC / WMA Lossless / WAV. 128 kbps MP 3's are heavily compressed and it would cost you quality versus a CD or lossless formats such as FLAC and WAV.OGG is somewhere in between.The degree to which this will be noticed will depend on the grade of your system > good speakers,bad speakers > high or low or mid-end a/v receiver etc..

For video,you could replace your DVD's with the digital data stored on large hard drives without losing much quality if you don't want to.Again,it depends on how much anf if at all you compress things.

Blu-Rays Discs are not replaceable if you consider the sheer amount of space that you would need to replace them.Also,you can forget digital downloads in the same quality as a 1920 x 1080 Blu-Ray Disc as Japan is just about the only country with enough bandwidth to make that a possibility.It would take you four days in the U.S. to download a two hour movie in that quality.

As far as SD type cards taking over as the physical media for HD movies goes,that is a possibility for 15 to 20 years down the road but don't forget that there are many DVD and Blu-Ray disc players right now with camera card,SD card,and USB slots that can be upgraded with firmware updates.

Also,I'm wary about sending wireless signals all over my house.You might as well stick your head in a microwave.I don't neccessarily want a computer in my living room either.

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Thank you
by adonnaru / July 27, 2008 5:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Quality Issues

for your suggestions. In my case, I am very clear - Quality. I am not concerned about harddisk space. I am not interested in, nor am I trying to compress things here. I am sure I will use either FLAC or AAC or WAV. Thanks once again. Sri

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Reply/Question to XSYLUS re DVD/CD reliability
by beatem / July 28, 2008 9:42 PM PDT
In reply to: TV & PC

As you mentioned, "... I caution you that having the original movie or music on DVD or CD is less vulnerable. Overtime hard drives wear out and it is possible to loose data that is stored on a hard drive if it is not backed up to another hard drive or to some form of media like DVD-R or Blu-Ray discs or even flash memory drives or memory cards like Secure Digital."

Well, last week I played some older CDs ... and was horrified: sound is altered, bumpy and scratchy, and when looking at the CD against the light, there are actual holes in the silverish coating of the CD.

Now, I wonder what will happen overtime to all my burnt CDs and DVDs of photos and all the films I bought on DVD.

I had just thought it was good to store everything on a hard drive, but your post quite shocked me.
S.O.S. what else can one do to prevent such a desaster???

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PC as media center
by theexbrit / July 18, 2008 12:44 PM PDT

It's a great way to go Phil. I have an old Athlon 4800+ based pc that I use as a media center. It has 2gb's of DDR400 ram, a 7800GTX as the video card & I can connect it to my 42" plasma. I bought 2 Western Digital 750gb sata hard drives for storage & use a 75gb Raptor as the system drive. I transferred all my DVD's (aboput 250 or so) to the hard drives & freed up a lot of space in the room. I also put all my Cd's on the storage drives too & I can stream the video or music to any PC on my home network. The computer desktop doesn't look great on the plasma, but it's ok & I can still navigate around in Windows XP with my wireless keyboard (no mouse as the keyboard has a built in "joystick" instead). I had a few issues getting the resolution set up, I had to buy an adapter from Radioshack to connect the 7800 to the HDMI cable on the tv as the 7800GTX doesn't have an HD output. With a little effort & research a lot of old PC's can be used in this way instead of recycling them. The PC also has an old Audigy 2 sound card connected to my home theater receiver, so everything sounds pretty good too.

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how to transfer dvds
by phillip24fan / July 25, 2008 12:56 PM PDT
In reply to: PC as media center

i was wondering how you transfered the dvds onto the hard drive. i have been wanting to do this but wasn't sure how. do you use a dvd ripper? if its software, is it free or whats the cost. is it easy to use.

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Transfer dvds
by oldstuff / July 25, 2008 2:55 PM PDT
In reply to: how to transfer dvds

If you are using a mac you can transfer dvds to the hard drive, using hand brake or mac the ripper. Easy to use and free on the net.

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thank you
by phillip24fan / July 26, 2008 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Transfer dvds

thanks alot. i am actually going to buy a mac today hahaha so i wil get handbrake and start ripping like crazy! thank you so much

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Tranferring DVDs to harddrive
by Yeoville / July 25, 2008 4:11 PM PDT
In reply to: how to transfer dvds

What I have done is simply copy the files to the hard drive. A DVD contains two folders, AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS. AUDIO_TS appears to be empty. After copying everything to hard drive, I use InterVideo WinDVD 4 (from InterVideo Inc) to run one of the files in VIDEO_TS. Mind you, this does not always work. It has worked with most DVDs, but I have been unable to run one of them from the hard drive, and can't explain why. I resorted to this mainly because my DVD drive makes too much noise. I understand there are other programs available that do it differently and possible better (the Australian PC User magazine has a program that uses ISO files) but I have not had time to experiment. I also copy CDs to my hard drive to listen to them because of the same noisy drive problem.
BTW, InterVideo WinDVD is a great program. It can run videos in 16:9 format as well as 4:3.

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Dvd shrink
by ianmccully / July 25, 2008 9:50 PM PDT

Also you can use dvd shrink which is pretty good for this too as sometimes the dvd is too big but this porgram shrinks it too the size you will need but i second what the other person says i use handbrake to transfer my dvd's onto my archos 605 wifi as i could never find a decent program to do this but handbrake is excellent imho



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DVD Shrink doesn't *require* compression
by SparTodd / July 28, 2008 10:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Dvd shrink

If you're simply wanting to transfer the image from the DVD to a HD there is no requirement for you to compress the file. You can do a full file backup using DVD Shrink. If you do, you will only receive a cautionary warning that the full file will be too large to burn it to a DVD. At that point, who cares, if the goal is to get the DVD's off the shelf and store the program on your hard drive. The big advantage to DVD Shrink in this case is simply the decryption algorithm.

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you can connect your PC to latest LCD tv directly.. if your tv is CRT, then you must add some extra hardware to your CPU which gives out VIDEO O/P AUDIO O/P through which you can connect your CPU to TV. and coming to hard disk, just buy EXT HDD of high definition with maximum space you required like 500gb 800gb..etc. which you can connect to your PC using USB and you can store as much data in its limit. expensive means, i dont think so.. if you are rich then cool.. else buy according to your budget.. i think i solved your doubts. if have any keep asking..

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apple tv
by puma / July 25, 2008 4:26 PM PDT
In reply to: Hi...

a sweet solution is apple tv. its a networked digital media receiver thats designed to play digital content originating from any mac os x or windows pc device onto an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen television. apple tv can also function as either a home theater-connected ipod or other digital media receiver. worth checking it out for the newbie or hardcore digital enthusiast

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Use PS3 as a network Media Player - with WMP11 on Vista
by klugey1 / August 5, 2008 7:08 AM PDT
In reply to: apple tv

Just started using WMP11 which is integrated into Vista as a Media Server & my PS3 (hooked up to a 63 inch plasma) will play almost all the movies, show all the pics & play all the songs that I throw into the Windows Media Player 11 Library. It will play all AVI's (RAW & DIVX)& MPEGs natively, but you have to add a couple of video codecs (FFDSHOW & Haali Media Splitter) to get it to see and play standard MP4 movies.

Both HandBrake and Nero Recode both have an MP4 - PS3 output template making it a snap to rip your collection to your hard drive.

--The only issue--
I also have a number of videos that we are able to play using the AppleTV box, and even though the video file extension is MP4, it looks like they use an almost proprietary codec called 3IVX which I guess QuickTime uses. The PS3 simply does not play these video files.

Transcoding solution-- There are two Vista-based Media Servers that will actually take any video and "transcode" it on the fly while streaming to a PS3 playable format: TVersity & FUPPES

problems setting up the transcoding of these MP4 - 3IVX in FUPPES and TVersity - If anyone has step by step instructions on this - I would really appreciate it.

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TVersity Media Server Transcoding ALL- 3IVX MP4 problems
by klugey1 / August 6, 2008 6:16 AM PDT

On my Vista Box - WMP11 works fine for any AVI, MPG and most MP4's ripped from personal DVD collection using PS3 template (using HandBrake or Nero Recode). It will play all AVI's (RAW & DIVX)& MPEGs natively, but you have to add a couple of video codecs (FFDSHOW & Haali Media Splitter) to get it to see and play standard MP4 movies.

Both HandBrake and Nero Recode both have an MP4 - PS3 output template making it a snap to rip your collection to your hard drive.

--The Problem--

I also have a bunch of videos that we viewed with AppleTV, but since I found out about the PS3's media playing capability - the Apple TV is going elsewhere. These MP4's are somehow different than the Handbrake and Nero Recode made MP4's. it looks like they use another codec called 3IVX which I guess QuickTime uses. The PS3 simply does not play these video files natively.

-I set up TVersity on an XP box so it didn't mess up my WMP on Vista (Quicktime not loaded on this XP box if that makes a difference). They seem to play fine using Nero Showtime on this XP PC, but when I configured TVersity to transcode everything and stream it to the PS3 the Aspect Ratio is slightly off (for these 3IVX files only - all other MP4's aspect is fine). It is not unbearable, but highly annoying.

I have Configured the FFDSHOW Video sizing to a 16x9 aspect, and I have played around with several of the sizing settings, but none of my changes make any difference. I delete all the Temp files and restart TVersity before trying again, but the skewed aspect remains exactly the same no matter how I change it.

Also, one of the MP4 3IVX videos that is about 2.3 GB has a completely messed up picture, but the sounds seems ok.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Tried it for music - don't go there
by bigfix007 / July 18, 2008 1:26 PM PDT

Hello Phil
I have a collection of 800+ CDs and like you thought it would be great to rip them all to my pc and then be able to play anything randomly. Which I did, but was not satisfied with using a pc for many reasons. Basically it is just not convenient.

The brief story...
After ripping my collection several times onto various systems, which is a big job, I found the best solution was a SONOS music system with a NAS (Networked Hard Drive). It is expensive but works extremely well. So forget the price because it is so great to use.
I've had the SONOS system for a year and it is still a delight to use and have recently purchased more units to extend it to other rooms in my house. It is truly brilliant and believe me I am difficult to impress.

I do not have much interest in DVDs so am unable to comment on it much. However I did try an Mvix device and for music it was terrible so I can only guess video would not have been much better. Devices of this type seem to be underdeveloped and must be avoided for now. I sent my Mvix back and got a refund. It was truly awful.

So I think you are best to use one system for music and another for video because a device designed for both is compromised.

Tips: if you do get a SONOS, get a big NAS; rip at highest MP3 or high FLAC. If you are an audiophile and have a good sound system then rip at the highest quality you can.
Sound levelling - this is very important and must be considered before you commence ripping. If using MP3 then I suggest ripping with Windows Media Player and DO NOT use its normalizing setting. Instead download MP3Gain for free and use it to normalize the tracks after ripping. This ensures that if you use the music on any other systems or personal MP3 players, all the tracks will be of a similar volume. Nothing is more annoying than needing to constantly adjust the volume for each track.
Good luck!
Jeff C.

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Music center, PC & TV-DVD
by Gerard5819 / July 26, 2008 8:17 AM PDT

In theory, it is a grate idea but in practices, I have had a few problems. Windows are always updating there code system to stop multi copies of the music you take from a CD. I am not sure about DVD. The latest version is Windows Media Player Ver:11.0.5. I find backup can be a problem if you require them after a crash, which can be cause by a list of things. You are required with this new player to have all your music on one PC and use this PC to play the music from only. I have found it will not play music that has been ripped from the same CD on another PC. In some ways, it is a good idea, as it stops five or six copies of the same tracks, which can happen with a large collection or multi PC on a network. However, if you want to make a few copies over time on CD, SD or USB, it will not allow you after a certain number. That can be a problem if you lose them, which happens in any house that has kids. Music is one of those thing we listen to time and time again, but Film I think not. Therefore, I would not waste hard disk space on them. Nevertheless, that up to you and it can be done. One of the grate pluses having your CD on your PC is the content is label and update for you automatically if your PC is link to the internet. That to me is worth the afforded. However, on the down side, PC are still to complicated and still on occasionally will locks up which I have never had with a simple CD player.

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Not a good idea.
by SultanEmerr / July 18, 2008 1:40 PM PDT

The TV will not give you a clear and sharp image as you get from a monitor.

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How about this setup?
by chairman_&_president / July 18, 2008 3:07 PM PDT
In reply to: Not a good idea.

I am looking at doing the same thing with the following config:

Sony VAIO TP - essentially a sleek PC with Bluray Player and 500GB Storage
Sony or Samsung 1080p LCD

Does anyone have had any experience on this setup?

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by Commandoclone87 / July 18, 2008 3:15 PM PDT
In reply to: How about this setup?

I am currently using a similar setup. Depending on which GPU your computer uses, you should be able to connect to your HD Tv with an HDMi or DVI to HDMI cable (I'm not sure about Nvidia's graphics cards, but ATI's HD Series does allow for audio output when using a DVI to HDMI connection)

This will provided you with picture and audio equivalent to that of a PC monitor.

If you are going to be ripping your Blu-ray movies to your pc, I suggest a program called "My Movies" which integrates the Windows Media Center and your Blu-Ray software as well as an upgrade to a TB hard disk space.

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I think you better understand the question
by greepit / July 26, 2008 4:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Not a good idea.

Not sure what the value of this suggestion is. The person is asking about integration of pc's into home entertainment. Are you saying not to do it because a monitor is better for watching television or movies on? Are you suggesting his entire family sit in front of a desk to watch The Biggest Loser or he has 20 friends over for the super bowl and they gather around the 19 inch samsung?

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Not expensive at all...

With the software and hardware available today, hooking up your pc to tv has never been more user friendly.

Your best option if you are new to a digital theatre setup is to buy a Media Center PC, which is just a computer with extra hard drive space andsometimes extra features such as a wireless keyboard and or mouse, universal remote control and Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate.

Now a PC like that (HP sells some nice ones for under $800) is already mostly configured when you buy it and all you have to do is plug it in and setup the Media Center software included with windows and encode your movies to the hard drive.

If you don't like the options available on an off-the shelf model, your other choice is to buy a cheap machine and perform the upgrades yourself to increase hard drive capacity and other features such as a mid-range graphics card, extra memory, tv tuner and a Blu-Ray drive to turn just about any budget pc into the ultmate media hub.

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PC as home entertainment !Grrrr
by raymondo31 / July 18, 2008 4:32 PM PDT

Hi Phil , I would not trust my Hard drive as I have lost about a thousand or more of my fotos!!! GRRRrrrr! NEVER to be seen ever again ? Regards (Raymondo across the sea)

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Can you say "backup?"
by 8014fr / July 26, 2008 2:22 PM PDT

Where was your backup solution? Every hard drive will fail. The only question is when.

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its somehow expensive too much problems.
by ikp4success / July 18, 2008 5:20 PM PDT

well to me the cost of getting large memory hard disk to save all those media files is too much and u will need to upgrade ur pc to be able to run large hard disk .The only way to save your cash is to delete any media files u do not need again,and i can't use my television for monitor it just don't make sense ,every gadget has its function and its purpose , and u will realize later, faults ,because of incorect factory or model accessories.

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pc as part of home theatre.
by jaywindy / July 18, 2008 6:13 PM PDT

Hi Phil.

In short , a pc is the ideal home theatre/ media solution.
However you need to have Xp media centre 2005 or vista premium as a operating system. These both have "media centre" as a software package installed which provides a very user friendly interface to watch all your photos, home videos, music, tv shows, dvd,s. It also has live tv and tv scheduling to record and watch your favourite shows. You can even schedule the pc to turn itself on, record your show and turn itself off again, but that is done via 3rd party software that accompanies your tuner card.

So basically you have a dvd player, dvd hard drive recorder for tv, cd player and photo albulm, all one one interface which you use and access by remote control as you would with seperate stand alone devices.

There isnt actually a lot of difference between a media centre pc and a normal pc. Hardware wise the differences you would be looking at are: A media type pc case ( for looks only) , at tv capture card, media centre remote control and extra hard drives for storage.

You can also increase its userability by installing a blu ray drive to watch blu ray movies. Coming in the next month will be new sound cards ,that will increase the flexibility of sound output from blu ray via a single HDMI cable so that the blu ray audio tracks such a Dolby master audio can be utilised.

So the use and flexibility of a pc as a home theatre component is always getting better, currently i have such a setup and would never go back to seperate devices. Is is simply Brilliant.

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Media Centers of the Future...
by Wolfie2k5 / July 18, 2008 6:33 PM PDT


Actually, it's not nearly as complicated as it might seem. The key to this lies mostly in the video card included in the computer in question. Most of the better video cards (the ones that aren't bottom of the line, bottom of the barrel) will have at least two, possibly three options for output. Many video cards offer a standard 15 pin VGA connection, an HD DVI (Digital Video Interface) port and possibly an S-VIDEO output port. Some of the higher end cards have eliminated the old standby VGA port and include multiple DVI ports.

The trick to connecting a TV to your video card is to know what both devices are capable of. Most TVs - especially the modern HD sets - have multiple ports - some have VGA, S-Video, Composite, DVI, HDMI, Cable coax, etc... Many older sets have fewer ports - maybe only a coax port for cable, a composite RCA port set for a DVD player and maybe an S-Video port for whatever. You'll need to figure out exactly what you're TV's got and has available. From there, you can work backwards to figure out what kind of video card your PC is going to need.

Setting it all up...

You can actually buy an off the shelf Media Center PC that comes with Vista Home Premium or Ultimate - you'll need one of these two versions if you're buying a new computer as they are the only ones that come with the modern version of Windows Media Center for Vista. Most of these computers also come with a remote control - so you can access the box from the comfort of your couch.

If you've already got a computer collecting dust, you could also buy a few upgrade components (like a video card, a remote control interface, etc...) as needed to make your own. You can simply use PowerDVD, WinDVD, Windows Media Player or other programs that can access files on your hard drive OR, if you really want to get deep into it, you can get a tuner card such as a Hauppauge WinTV card and a copy of BeyondTV (or something similar) and turn the media center computer into a DVR as well. Hauppauge offers both Standard Def and High Def models with single or dual tuners.

And, of course, you'll need at least one, if not two LARGE hard drives - preferably 1 Terabyte or larger (each). That way, you're not likely to run out of room unless you've got a HUGE collection. Remember, standard DVDs in their native format take up anywhere from 4 GB to 8 GB in size. If you want to keep ALL of the stuff on the DVD - i.e. the menus and bonus features, etc... you'll probably want to keep the DVD in it's native format instead of reducing it to some other format. Bear in mind that converting to other formats may reduce the quality of the video and audio noticably.

So... In short, it IS possible, and it IS easy enough to do with the right components and software.

Now comes the sticky wicket... You mentioned you would like to put all your media on your hard drive and make the DVD cases vanish from your shelves...

While you CAN, IN THEORY, do all of this, it isn't legal if you purchase (or rent) a copy of a movie, rip the contents of the DVD onto your hard drive and then dispose of/return it. The MPAA frowns heavily on the practice and should they come across your monster system, fully loaded with movies, CDs and the like, they would quite literally soil their shorts - that is, before they sent in their crack legal team to sue you into oblivion.

Note: SOME people claim that as part of "fair use", you have a right to back up a copy of your media, in case some disaster should happen... Of course, you still need a copy of the original media. Obviously, the MPAA and the RIAA would tend to vehemently disagree with this point of view. You would likely still get sued, but, you'd stand a better chance of having the case thrown out if you have the original media in it's original packaging. So much for clearing the shelves...

On a more positive note... I've found that BeyondTV and a tuner card makes for a pretty darn good DVR.. Better, in many ways, than TIVO or some of the other DVRs on the market. BeyondTV ( offers up a free programming guide in addition to the software you get to record your shows and skip the gawd awful commercials. And the best part of it all - it does NOT automatically delete content, unless you're running out of room and you've flagged a show as disposable in a low free space situation. You can record an entire season of a given show and have your own commercial free full season marathon at your leisure with the ability to pause, rewind and stop should you get an overdose of that show.

There is one important consideration as far as tuner cards are concerned. Most of your older stock tuners will connect to standard cable and will function without a cable box. This will generally give you channels 2 - 125 (or channel 99 on many cable systems). To get higher channels - especially HD channels, you'll need a tuner card that can handle the job AND you will probably require a "CableCard" from your provider. You'll want to check out the availability with your cable provider before you invest in the tuner card. Without a CableCard, you will require an actual cable box and be limited to only recording ONE program on ONE channel at a given time.

The bottom line: Yes, a PC can make a very potent component for your entertainment center. But keep in mind, there are still some legal issues that haven't been 100% resolved as yet.

As long as your media center box is NOT connected to the Internet and you're NOT sharing any media, and you're not bragging about the awesome new system you've put together in public, you should be fine.

Your mileage will likely vary...

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No way to MP3's
by CRod67 / July 25, 2008 3:56 PM PDT

I've never gotten good quality music from my cd's to hard drive's or MP3 players. The reason is your music has to be compressed which really compromises the quality of your music. While MP3 players are ok for people out there working out or whatnot, for true audiophiles like myself, I'd rather not. Your best bet is to purchase a large capicity CD player. They have them now that hold up to 500 CD's. Load all your cds and you'll be set with all your music right at your fingertips and you won't have no degredation in sound quality.
I'm also not happy with my pc desktop on my 42" plasma. The picture quality isn't that great and it's just not very convienent in my opinion. I don't surf the net that much to want to sit on my couch and surf on my tv. I use my pc for PC stuff and I use my 300 disc CD player, PS3, Plasma HDTV and Surround Sound set up for music and movies. Everything works perfectly with no problems.
That's your best bet.

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The Human Ear
by peacemarauder / July 25, 2008 10:19 PM PDT
In reply to: No way to MP3's

The human ear cannot hear the difference between wav and mp3. What you are hearing is the difference in the sound engineering, some are better than others. It has nothing to do with the format. Other issues could be with the hardware or software itself, it could be a poor design.

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mP3 quality
by alaskagram / July 26, 2008 5:55 AM PDT
In reply to: The Human Ear

If you are a musician, or other audio professional, or the type of person who cares about the difference between vinyl and CD's, there is as much of a difference, as between cassettes and cd's.MP3 is a lossy compression,i.e. data is actually lost.It ignores 10 db or greater differences in information.This results in the lost of harmonic information which is clearly audible down to 5% with many being able to hear 1%.Compounding this is the fact that the average consumer doesn't understand bit rate vs. quality and goes for maximum storage at minimum quality.It may be capable of a higher quality but the manufactures nor the consumer seem to care.This is the crux of the matter.I have demonstrated to people many times that they can clearly hear differences between a $500.00 sound system and ones in the thousands of dollars.However many of them didn't care, which is a valid attitude.As a matter of fact many audio profeesionals(studio pro's)bemoan this lack of quality as a general attitude.This has resulted in a horrible abuse of compression(audio not data)to increase the apparent volume of a disc or file to the point of becoming unlistenable.Lossy formats,with the attitudes that come with it, are destroying the quality of the music being produced which in turn is destroying the whole music industry regardless the distribution technique.i.e. mindless music for mindless people.

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