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building computer for tv

by towbar15 / January 13, 2009 11:39 PM PST


I don't know if this is the right place for this question but here goes. I'm thinking of building a computer to use as a harddrive to put movies, tv shows on. So i can watch them on the tv. What components do I need and what are the best ones to get for this?

Thank you,

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Re: pc for tv
by Kees Bakker / January 13, 2009 11:44 PM PST

Any PC would do if it has:
- a TV-card to connect it to your cable or whatever way your signals arrive
- a video card with TV-out possibility.
- the right software (but you're not asking about that)
- a not too small hard disk

You might have some requirements about the quality (analog SD or 1020p HD definition) for both incoming and outgoing connections, but you don't specify them.

In stead of building your own mediacenter, consider buying a hard disk recorder. Much easier, and probably much cheaper also.


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pc for tv versus "buying a hard disk recorder"
by rammaster / January 20, 2009 7:46 AM PST
In reply to: Re: pc for tv

PLEASE !!! tell me where and what brands of hard disk recorders you know that are for SALE ! (Not cable/sat providers).
The thing is ...I don't even need it to be HD or digital !


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DVR Leader is Tivo
by mbednarz / January 20, 2009 11:23 AM PST

Tivo is the Coca-Cola of the PVR industry. I buy things like this from and they have the entry Tivo for about $250, but you might check Best Buy or Walmart or any other similar local retailer if you don't want to wait, or want to get more detailed sales help pertaining to your situation/application/ and desired use.

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On my list is the Apple TV.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 14, 2009 12:05 AM PST

No issues with noise. Easy to use, HD and more.

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It's getting harder to make a true HTPC...
by mbednarz / January 16, 2009 1:46 PM PST

Using the Computer for Media center is fine, but I don't recommend using it as a PVR or DVR. The tuners don't work for HDTV signals via Cable or Satellite, just Over the Air. I built my own HTPC with parts and pieces laying around about 2 years ago and when I went HDTV and 5.1 dolby sound, I had to get a Home Theater Sound system to really utilize the HiDef sound and Picture together.

The DVR/Receiver I have from DirecTV is excellent. Easy to use and they don't talk about it much, but they are perfectly OK with you to plug in your own External Hard Drive in an ext. enclosure via the E-Sata Connection on the back of the DVR. It disables the internal 300GB drive but I more than doubled my capacity. It works just fine. I still have my Media Center PC hooked in, with a wireless network card it makes a great second computer and has an incredible 46" screen. Games, Internet and music all get used here. Also, if you haven't checked out you should.... you can watch streamed tv etc. on your computer while working etc. Pretty cool, I watched 24 the other nite in a pop-out screen on the corner of my desktop while I was catching up on some work.

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Use the 'latest" tuner cards.
by EscapePod / January 16, 2009 11:15 PM PST

Nearly all of the latest tuner adapters, both interna and external (USB), have the ability to capture/display Clear QAM high definition signals from most cable providers. Those are select stations, often the major networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox. Not all cable providers will have those channels in HD without charge (which requires set top box or cable card, but lately, more and more do have them.

In my area, both Brighthouse (Time-Warner) and Comcast have the major stations in HD via Clear QAM. These are clearer than over the air, and don't require fiddling with rabbit ear antennae.

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building computer for tv
by finfancy / January 16, 2009 11:11 PM PST

I think the best thing you could do is buy or borrow from a library the following book: "Building the Perfect PC" Robert Bruce Thompson & Barbara Fritchman Thompson) an O'Reilly book, 2nd edition. The one you want is Building the perfect media center PC. I am considering building a new PC and this book gives you reasons "why" they recommend a path and some books do not. Enjoy.

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by EscapePod / January 16, 2009 11:24 PM PST

Things to consider when gathering the components -- go for "QUIET". Try to use a processor that is rated low power. Look at the wattage rating -- AMD makes one that is rated only 45 Watts. This means you can use low speed, quiet processor and case fans. Some of the latest hard drives, in the 500GB - 1TB range are called "green" and are low power rated and quieter than others.

The key is low power, which translates to less heat, which translates to a quiet system when viewing on TV.

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