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Monday January 26, 2009 7:15 pm

HTPC Building Series: Driving multimedia content to the HTPC

Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.

Continuing our quest to build the ultimate, while inexpensive, home theater PC, the one thing you need to consider when talking about media is how you are going to actually get the media to the computer. After covering the main mission, carefully going through our selection of hardware, giving you a first hand look at the MSI motherboard we chose (and explaining exactly why we chose that one,) and then bringing you up to speed on how we are going to drive 7.1 surround sound from this thing, you were probably thinking that the brunt of the thinking was done, right? Well, while that may be the case, there are still some important considerations that need to be taken into account.

Now, I am positive that we are going to be storing at least some content on the HTPC itself - after all, with Windows Media Center built in to Windows Vista (our operating system of choice, for this project only,) it would only make sense that we would use the capabilities of Media Center to use the HTPC as a DVR. Even that sounds easy when spoken, but really, it means we need another part for the computer. A simple high definition TV tuner will suffice, and we are big fans of ATI tuners because you can get good quality as a decent price. With that, you just plug in your coaxial cable signal into the card, and you’ve got cable TV piping into your HTPC. Cool.

Now, what about other content? If you are anything like me, you have multiple computers. The HTPC is definitely not going to be your main PC, and you probably have music downloads, movies, and other media on your other computers that you would like to be able to view from your couch, via the HTPC. Well, the motherboard we chose has Gigabit Ethernet integrated into it, which means we have a fast connection to the network - and THAT means that we can stream content from the other computers that are on the network, directly to the HTPC - all we need to do is set up and allow sharing on the computers where the files are housed!

Read More | Series: Building an HTPC on a Budget

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