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Poll: Is your PC connected to your entertainment center?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 24, 2008 6:28 AM PDT

Is your computer connected to your home entertainment system?

Yes, to my stereo system only (Please describe it.)
Yes, to my stereo system and TV (Please describe it.)
Yes, to my TV only (Please describe it.)
No, my computer is all by its lonesome (Any future plans to connect it?)
No, and it never will be (Why not?)
No, but I plan to soon. (What are your plans?)

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sort of
by ramarc / July 24, 2008 7:57 AM PDT

i have a PC connected to a 26" LCD in a guest bedroom and guests can surf the web using the PC. we also often plug a laptop into our bedroom's 32" LCD to watch netflix instant content.

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No, my computer is all by its lonesome
by sunwatcher / July 24, 2008 8:57 AM PDT

I don't really have a need to yet. I'm sure in the near future it might be more desireable and maybe even necessary. I've always wanted to be able to play all of the music on my PC through my home system during parties and such, so I'm guessing it won't be too long before I start feeling the need. Happy

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No, my computer is all by its lonesome
by teakilla / July 25, 2008 1:06 PM PDT


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Ways to use your PC in your entertainment Center
by Ralph60 / July 25, 2008 10:06 PM PDT

I don't have my PC in my Entertainment Center and my son a computer programmer used to have his hooked in some how because if he downloaded a program on his harddrive he would simply use his mouse to drag the program from his PC across and onto the Large screen TV. I think he just had the audio Video Card hooked from the PC to the Entertainment Center. This way he was able to drag from one screen to the next much like using several monitors to do high tech work using each for different tasks. I really don't know how he accomplished it but I'm not a programmer. He is and he didn't seem to have any trouble at except lining up the video on the screen of the TV but that was because it was in a different room. We would watch TV from PC long ago well at least two or three years. In computer time its ages. If you have an A/V card you can hook up your PC to it especially for sound effects and Gaming.

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by Pedro G. GOMES / July 26, 2008 1:19 AM PDT

My computer is all by its lonesome, but i admit that in the near future i'l be using it as part of my media system, as far as I get the necessary and convenient information.

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Re: PC connected to an entertainment system
by sntholiday / July 24, 2008 10:19 AM PDT

My PC is connected to both my 32" Panasonic LCD and a Denon AVR 1801 receiver. My XFX MG-630i-7159 has both HDMI and DVI outputs, in addition to the VGA output, and a coax SPDIF output on the rear panel. I use the PC to play music and movies through the system. No Hi-Def yet.

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PC=Entertainment center
by white-bread / July 24, 2008 1:56 PM PDT

It plays CDs and DVDs.

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Is your PC connected to your entertainment center?
by jaytmoon / July 25, 2008 12:42 PM PDT

I currently have an AMD X2-4400 with 4Gb ram,XP Pro, 1 TB of HDD's and a Creative Sound blasster X-Fi with front audio box, crossfire video cards. All connected to a JVC 5.1 surround sound system using fiber optic cable. The tv is a 50" Panasonic connected to the pc with a DVI-I bus cable (no hdmi on the set). I use it more for fraging and video's more than music (which also sounds great). Scare's the bejesus out of the dogs when turned up Silly

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Custom PC and other PC's networked and connected to HT
by drbool / July 25, 2008 1:35 PM PDT

I have 2 custom PCs and 2 media extenders all hooked up to 4 tv's throughout the house. The main PC acts as a server and game machine and is hooked up to my Pre/Pro (Anthem D2) using Windows Vista. I use nVidia 8800GTX's in SLI for gaming, a HT Omega Claro soundcard, Intel 2.6 gHz Duo Core processor, and 3GB RAM. I have 2 Seagate Barracudas for storage (300GB) and a WD Raptor to run the operating system and front end programs.

I do not use any of the computers to watch movies unless they are downloaded as I feel the quality of the picture and sound is not as good as what I get from my Denon 5910 and PS3. The video cards were initially hooked up w/a dvi to HDMI cable, but there were handshake issues that made it necessary to restart the computer to get the video to work. There are some devices that supposedly help eliminate this problem, but I have not tried them yet. In the interim, I use a dvi to component adapter and it works fine (image not as sharp though).

I mainly use the computer for music. I use iTunes for organization and am still in the process of ripping my CD collection using the lossless option. Music sounds great for parties, out on the deck, etc. Not as good as using the cd directly or for critical listening, but you can't beat the convienence. Gaming is also a blast in full surround and a 60" screen. Text gets a bit small, but I think that will improve when I switch back to the HDMI cable. The best thing when gaming is instead of everyone crowded around a monitor, we can all sit on the couch or chairs comfortably. Another problem I initially had was finding a mouse and keyboard that would work well consistantly with the PC being located behind a wall. I eneded up going with a bluetooth setup and everthing works great. I went through a couple 2.4 gHz wireless setups and would get keyboard dropouts which was very annoying.

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I am running my PC out to my receiver
by Bat Guano / July 25, 2008 1:34 PM PDT

I'm listening to "Echoes" on my local HD Public Radio station right now. I have a Creative SoundBlaster 24 bit Live card, and I run SPDIF coax out to my Yamaha receiver. The HD stations sound great, but DVDs on Power DVD Deluxe in 5.1 are amazing. This card is 7.1 capable, but this receiver only puts out 5.1. 7.1 with HDMI will probably will my next stereo upgrade. I would like to see wireless speakers become more common -- and affordable -- before I do that.

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No, my computer is all by its lonesome however...
by BobNZ / July 25, 2008 2:08 PM PDT

my computer is a entertainment center i have a 26" lcd monitor and logitech 5.1 speakers and have linuxmce installed. and no mediapc is complete without a remote

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my computer is all by itself but
by starbuddy1995 / July 26, 2008 10:19 PM PDT

i have duel monitors a remote and a DVD drive. my second monitor is positioned where anyone in the room can see. so i don't see the need in hooking it up to the TV especially since i hardly watch movies.(I'm a gamer)

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PC is connected to TV and receiver
by Stanczyk / July 25, 2008 2:17 PM PDT

I used a 50' VGA cable and 50' 3.5mm stereo cable to connect my laptop to my new Samsung 52" 650 which I have integrated into my Marantz receiver and speakers. I use a IO 2.4 wireless long range keyboard and mouse to access the computer while leaving the transmitter near the computer. Works fine except that one has to play around with size just a bit. No problems with hookup.

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Computer not connected to Entertainment Centre
by davidn48 / July 25, 2008 4:40 PM PDT

I built up a good quality sound system over many years. I use it to play music (mostly from CD's, though I can play mp3 files etc through it also). I play the sound from my TV through my HiFi system and I am very satisfied with the quality (even though it's not 'surround sound'). My Computer is in another room quite a long distance from my Entertainment Centre. I sometimes use the Computer to play music when I'm in this other room. I can see no good reason for combining the two.
David N.

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Fully Connected
by AstraPoint / July 25, 2008 6:12 PM PDT

I have my home computer connected to both my home TV and stereo system. I am using an AppleTV unit (with an internal 160GB disk drive) synchronized to iTunes on my computer. It works great!

I have music, photos, and home movies all available on my TV and stereo. The AppleTV also gives you YouTube video on your TV, and AppleTV has a great screensaver that allows you to showcase hundreds of your best home photos.


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My PC is connected to both TV and stereo
by Pennydog2 / July 25, 2008 6:49 PM PDT

In relation to this topic, yes my PC is connected to both TV and stereo.
The PC I build up back in 2004, it has a Celeron 2.0 Ghz processor, 512Mb RAM, NVidea Gforce graphics card with 256 Mb RAM with SVHS output, Much TV fusion Video Capture card, Soundblaster Livewire 5.1 surround card with 16 Mb RAM, 250MB Maxtor Hard Drive, SONY DVD burner and XP Professional operating system. The total cost at the time was just under $1200.
The TV I use is a ROWA (TEAC clone) 26 inch CRT, the stereo is an old Phillips 393 35W for front and a GENEXXA STA-825 50W for the main speakers. It is a bit of a mixed hybrid system but it works.
Back in 2004 programs were limited to the likes of Media player 9, Nero and VDub just to name a few, but I have noticed a whole range of programs becoming available for entertainment PC systems such as Aimersoft and Prism Video conveter by NCH for DVD and other formats to PC conversion, then there is Tube Hunter Ultra by Neoretix, which great for grabbing those flash videos from Utube and others and converting them to AVI files. However I still use Windows media player now version 11 to do my final output.
Despite the fact I originally set up my system as a prototype and back in 2004 I was probably one of the "first kids in the neighborhood" well at least my neighborhood to have such a system. The system has so far proven itself many times over, despite the usual cantankerous PC problems.
The best part I like about this system is having all your CD and DVD in the PC, where there less likely to get damaged, scratched and stolen. It is also easier to share your files to friends by downloading the files into a memory stick, which is a lot easier than waiting by some tape recording device to finish its job.
Can there be any improvements to what I have got, yes most definatly.
I am sizing up for my next generation system and looking at something close to a gaming PC although I don't see the need for over clocking however I do like the idea of a water cooled system (or rather ethylene glycol(the green stuff used as radiator coolant in cars)), but mainly for quietness as the fan noise can be noticeable in quiet scenes.
So I would be looking at something with either an AMD 64 or Dual core processor 2GB of RAM, HDTV capture card, I think I will keep the Soundblaster Live wire card, I might give the NVIDEA 9600 a try, dual hard drive 200GB for the operating system and programs, 1TB for my media storage, Blue Ray DVD burner, I will probably keep the XP operating system (still not too sure about Vista)and all housed in a nice 19 inch 3U rack mount case, if I can get one.
As for my Audio system I am considering a nice Valve (Hollow state) job probably custom made, I like the valve amp because it makes a good compliment to the CD player or rather digital media player, as they tend to remove that "digital edge" that seem to make digital recordings sound a bit harsh. A 42 inch LCD TV or a Panasonic 3 LCD video projector.
The most important item to remember when building up an entertainment PC is RAM size, I would not go any lower than 1GB, I know my system has 512MB and on fast action scenes frame jitter is apparent, where as systems with 1 GB RAM fast action scenes run quite smoothly. As with processor speeds I have run DVD files on a PENTIUM 2, 450MHz machine with XP and 126MB RAM where I would say that would be the lowest limit before image and sound breakup occurs. Again that only happens on fast action scenes.
The PC is not the only weapon of choice for entertainment systems, the laptop is also making it onto the scene as well as I have seen quite a few known brands such as Toshiba an Dell produce versions with the SVHS TV output and Acer have made a stand alone entertainment PC, but you don't have to rely on PC's and laptops with SVHS or HDMI output plugs either a lot of large screen LCD and Plasma as well as video projectors also have VGA inputs therefore making any PC able to be an entertainment PC.
Having to turn all you equipment individually can also be eliminated by utilizing USB mains controllers or windows home automation systems. For these systems you will have to hunt around for them, but thats what the internet is for.
PC entertainment systems are the way of the future there is no doubt about it, at the moment the technology and systems are still in its infancy, but will rapidly improve over the coming years, as more of us pioneers work out which is the best combination to use.

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Yep TV and PC
by pookiedacat / July 25, 2008 8:13 PM PDT

I kind of rely on PC's as file servers and transducers. I use Nvidia graphics cards to drive through HDMI or svideo depending on which room. I use soundblaster X-Fi sound cards and creative digital IO modules to connect my pc's to home theatre receivers via spdif cable. On the speaker end I use Klipsch LaScala II's and Heresy III's to make things really entertaining.

I have one Linux machine with a bit over 1TB of storage, broadcasting SMB so the windows machines can mount it as a share and grab clips and movies.

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Connected HD-HTPC and What It Entails....

Gateway 3Gbs Vista PC w/2Gb,1Tb(2x500)HD, E-Mu 1212m/0404 soundcards, Realtec 5.1 on-board; Blue-Ray Burner; Firewire; Blue-Tooth; Wi-Fi; w/
Gateway 24" HDMI/DVI/VGA/S-Video/Component/Composite inputs, 1920 X 1200 Pixels Per Inch/3ms response , Ultra Color Gamut Pivot Display;
Gateway 17" 1.6 Gbs XP Laptop w/2 Gb, 250 Gb HD+160 Gb ext HD, CD/DVD Burner, Wi-Fi, Verizon Wireless;
These are connected to:
Mackie 32.8 main mixer (64 channel w/8 sub-mix sends + monitor outs)&
Mackie 1202 send/receive mixer (12 ins/6 outs + monitor outs);
(2)Yamaha 5.1 up-processors > combined up-mix up to 10.2;
Sony 5.1 down-processor;(+ 2 un-processed channels = 7.1)
DBX & Beringer Compressor/Expander/Limiters;
Denon, Phonic, Yamaha Equalizers,
Yamaha Power Amps (8 channels w/total of 3000 watts+);
Technics 52-Band(sweepable Q)Electronic Equalizer/Real Time Analyzer;
JVC CD Recorder,JVC Super-Audio CD Player,Apex DVD Player(All Region),
(2) Samsung DVD Recorders(8 hours per DVD); Samsung VCR/DVD recorder;
(2) Technics DAT Mastering Decks;
Furman & Isobar Surge protectors;
Mixdown Main Monitors: (2)Yamaha NS10M Near-Field Monitors,
(2) Yamaha NS 1000M Mid-Field Monitors, (2) DCM TimeWindows,
(2) Auratone Cubes, Velodyne 12"/1000w sub;
Mixdown Monitor Center/Surrounds: choice of Klipsch,Infinity,DCM,EV or JBL, Mixdown Monitor Surround Sub: Klipsch 12"/180 watt;
Mains: (2)JBL M16s(tops) & (2)Eminence 12" w/4X6 Horns in Cerwin-Vega custom cabs(midbass) & (2)Mackie SWA 1801 18"/1000watt subs
FujiFilm 7.1 MegaPixel still/30Fps Video Camera;
Shure SM-57, SM-58 & Audio Technica AT-3031, AT-2020 microphones;
Sony M-D Recorder/Player(for the road);
(2) Sony 32" WEGA Video Monitors; TWCable/Roadrunner 10+Mbs;
The system is wired mostly w/ Mogami and Audio Quest Jade/Sapphire.
I guess you could say it is connected. This Is My HD HTPC Set-up!
And that does'nt include the Guitars & Basses and their rigs, Keyboards, Drum Machines, Percussion, Harmonicas, Juice Harps, Horns,
Wash boards etc...
Next up on the shopping list is a couple of Flat Screens & a Projector, along with a video switcher/mixer and some software.
Master of the Entertainment Center says: "We could use a little more tallent in the monitors, please." the unknownsoundman

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PC connected to home entertaintement system
by valerie1 / July 25, 2008 8:35 PM PDT

Yes, my PC is connected to both via Apple TV. I listen music with AirTunes (ITunes), see photos, videos, ect and, even rent movies thanks to Apple TV wirelessly connected to my Airport Extreme.

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Is your computer connected to your entertainment center
by cbglover / July 25, 2008 9:54 PM PDT

Yes, I have 2 computers, I.P. duel core and AMD duel core attached to a 42 in Samsung plasma along with a PS3 this is also attached to a 5.1
sourround sound audio system. My Dish HD allows HD/tv to play with the same system to the tv. Im very impressed with the Blue-ray movies on the PS3. The scaler on the playstation 3 does a great job on regular dvds. My main interest is gaming. I have all the Rainbow six and Ghost Recon games, as well as the delta forces games by Novalogic.
Ghost Recon 2 [pc] looks as good as the HD games on playstation. My graphics card is a Nvidia 8500. 3 gigs ram. You cant have to much ram when playing games...

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Yes it is!!
by La Loca Sonia / July 26, 2008 1:28 AM PDT

When my file server crashed last year, I decided to build a Media Center PC instead of a new file server. One of the best decisions I ever made. So I have a PC hooked up to my 46" HD DLP TV in the living room and connected to my surround sound receiver with an optical cable. The PC is also hooked up to my gigabyte network, so streaming movies from Netflix or my main PC is no problem at all. There are tons of legal (and let's face it not so legal)HD content on the Web now, and find myself watching more of that then I do regular TV.

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2 HTPC's each connect to an HDTV and stero receiver
by t4103gf / July 26, 2008 1:36 AM PDT

In the past year, I have built two HTPC's. Each HTPC is connected to an HDTV via HDMI and to a receiver using 5.1 analog RCA cables. If you are building one of these, I highly recommend a sound card (e.g. X-Plosion or X-FI-Prelude) and receiver setup which uses 5.1 analog (PCM) instead of a digital connection (coaxial or optical). Each HTPC is equipped with the LG GGC-H20L Blu-Ray HD DVD Combo Drive, 4 x 500 GB SATA 3G/s hard drives, an Intel Q6600 chip, ASUS MB and 2 GB RAM. They each have an ATI video card. I recommend video cards that are passively cooled (e.g. ATI 3400). One of my cards, the ATI 2600, is far too noisy for a home entertainment environment. As for streaming high-def video accross your home network, I recommend a wired gigabit router. I tried wireless N draft, but playing a high-def movie with a wireless connection left the playback choppy. As for software, I am running Vista Ultimate. I highly recommend using My Movies to manage you video collection. It has a Windows Media Centre plug-in and interacts well with PowerDVD and Daemon tools. I use PowerDVD 8 to play my movies.

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PC hooked up to your entertainment system?
by sis61 / July 26, 2008 2:42 AM PDT

Currently, no.
Back in the old days, in this case 1997, yes. When wireless networks needed to be manually configured and most people didn't have them.
Big tall tower, room for 4 harddrives, CD player, DVD players for PC's were just becoming available so were expensive. The cabling from some of the entertainment system components had to go directly to the sound card or video card. Upgraded it a couple of times, CD-RW, DVD player, larger drives. But it very awesome to be sitting in front of a 37" Sony TV switching between the internet, the cd player, and a movie or TV.
Highly recommend hooking the pc, internet access, and entertainment center together.

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How common is this?
by tsellick / July 26, 2008 3:57 AM PDT

I have my desktop PC connected to my TV video and I also have a spare output on the sound card connected to a mixer/PA system which is under the TV. I have about 50,000 MIDI and karaoke tracks on a spare drive on the PC and I use Winamp with a plug in to play karaoke tracks on the TV plugging a couple of mikes into the PA along with the output from the PC. Result - a great karaoke system which uses very low cost, easily available karaoke tracks. As an additional feature I can control my desktop PC from my laptop using logmein from which means I can sit on the settee with other people selecting the songs they want to sing in comfort:-)

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Yes, to my stereo system only (looking for good video device
by amarsd / July 26, 2008 4:10 AM PDT

I have been using an Turtle Beach Audiotron to play all my music files which I moved from the original CDs years ago. A great setup with the only possible minus being the Audiotron's rather small display. It is connected via ethernet to my computer running WinXP Pro in another room and then connected via RCA stereo audio cables to my tuner/amplifier. I originally tried using an HPNA (Home Phone Network) to connect to my computer but that didn't work well.

I'm still looking for a good component to attach to my tuner/amplifier and TV so that I can play video files from my computer. I tried a Buffalo LinkTheater but it doesn't work well - sometimes hard to access the files and sometimes it hangs while playing the file.


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Mine as well is all by its lonesome...
by freqdwnldr / July 26, 2008 4:38 AM PDT

I'd love to connect my computer to my entertainment center but getting my hands on the remote is enough trouble, THANK you very much!

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better audio quality with computer
by alaskagram / July 26, 2008 5:10 AM PDT

I come from the age of separates.Now days it seems there is no middle ground in the traditional audio component world.When it comes to surround sound it seems I have two choices for under $1000.00, tiny pathetic distortion generators,(miniature speakers with class 'T' amplifiers) or multiple $1000.00 processors.Whereas ASUS, for example, has a 7.1 card with extremely good specs,on paper, for under $300.00,this also applies to blue ray with Pioner and LG offering offering not just playback but recording as well for well under $500.00.Let's not forget HD web sites such as VIEMO which have a wide variety of stuff in 720p.These sites represent the future of HD and could spell doom for medium(DVD's) based distribution just as the net and mp3 is changing music distribution.

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Count me in the "sort of" category.
by rells / July 26, 2008 6:11 AM PDT

I have 3 computer systems and all have tuners and media center installed, including the 17" laptop. My main system is in the den, where I use a 24" LCD monitor as a TV after the days PC work is done.

In the back bedroom resides the old desktop and the old 21" CRT monitor. When the grand kids visit it gets heavier use (TV, computer, games) than my main, which is off limits to the kids.

When I travel I take the laptop, which has off-air recorded HiDef programming on the hard drive. If there is a on-air program I want recorded when on the road it goes on the laptop hard drive. HiDef looks really good on it.

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Everything is connected
by hondaclf / July 26, 2008 6:30 AM PDT

I used my laptop hooked up to my tv and stereo to catch up on shows I missed last year and it worked well. I recently picked up a new PC with a nice fast DualCore processor, plenty of RAM, a combo HD-DVD/BluRay drive, wireless card and a nice size hard drive. I will still probably use the individual components but if I decide to, I can do anything with the PC. It is hooked up with 5.1 channel analog out to my stereo and by VGA to my 42" Toshiba 1080p LCD. I may upgrade the graphics card but the picture is perfect as is. I have all my music on the computer and am working on ripping my DVD's as well but it takes time and I am the kind of person who likes to have the disc(CD or DVD) instead of just buying the music or movie online.

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computer hooked up to home entertainment system
by goodboy1947 / July 26, 2008 8:19 AM PDT

No, it has all the bells and whistles it takes just haven't taken the time to do it.

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