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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.

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Read More | Series: Building an HTPC on a Budget

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HTPC Building Series: Achieving great 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound

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

In previous posts, while talking about building up our Home Theater PC, from the ground up, and on a budget, we’ve focused on a few goals. Things like what we want to see the system, as a whole, do for our home entertainment experience. We’ve talked, in general, about some of the hardware we plan on ordering to put into this bad boy. We’ve even gone into detail on the one essential piece that is going to drive everything - that being the motherboard. Today we want to focus on how we are going to get amazing sound out of this system.

Click to continue reading HTPC Building Series: Achieving great 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound

Read More | Series: Building an HTPC on a Budget

HTPC Building Series: Choosing the MSI 7411 motherboard

MSI 7411

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

In this installment of the Home Theater PC building log, we wanted to focus on the core of our system. Previously, we took a look at the process of selecting hardware along with a look at the overall mission to build the best HTPC we can, on a budget. To understand what we are aiming to do, though, I thought it would be best if we were able to take a look at what’s going to be at the center of everything: the MSI MS-7411 Media Live DIVA 7.1 motherboard.

That’s a mouthful, we know - but it’s also an amazing centerpiece for our system. The foundation is MSI’s MS-7411 micro-ATX motherboard featuring AMD’s 780M chipset with UVD support and side-port memory for smooth 1080p playback. This motherboard can be ordered with either pre-amp or amp audio card solutions (one purchase package) directly from your distributor of choice. Note that this motherboard uses the mobile variant of the 780 for additional power savings features that are useful in a home theater environment. It pulls less power, and it doesn’t get as hot, which means much less fan noise. Nothing kills a movie experience like fan noise, seriously.

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HTPC Building Series: Selecting our hardware

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

In our quest to build a great HTPC on a budget, one thing we need to think about is the hardware and software we are going to use to build and run everything. We are going to be really ambitious here, scouring deal and coupon sites to find great hardware and software at even greater prices. If you come across anything, feel free to leave a comment and let us know.

The first piece of hardware we are focusing on is a motherboard from MSI that integrates the “Maui” platform - the MSI K912GM-FIH. This is one of the biggest leaps forward in HTPC technology, and as such, we are going to build this machine around this board. In case we need to prove our case further, check out this video we did on the motherboard before its release:

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HTPC Series: Let’s build a budget HTPC

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

Over the next few weeks, we are gonna be working on a special project that we hope you guys will get a kick out of. You see, as gadget enthusiasts, we know that we all love when technology can make our lives easier, or when it is just downright cool. However, recent developments in the economy are going to lead to a tightening of the budget (if it hasn’t already), and we thought we’d try and see if we can build something awesome at a reasonable price. The task? We want to build a great home theater PC (HTPC), made with great parts, for under $1000 USD. You can follow our progress at our page. Or, if you’re too lazy to hit that link, here’s a list of topics:

So, what are the goals of our HTPC project? Well, besides the aforementioned $1,000 limit, we have a few other things we want out of it. First, we want it to remain fairly quiet. After all, this thing is going to be use to watch movies and television. We don’t need any extra fan noise coming from it. Secondly, we want it to put out a high definition signal, with connections that use today’s technology. Ideally, that means it will have an HDMI out port, so we can get both high definition and surround sound out of this thing.

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How to upgrade your iTunes purchases to DRM-free iTunes Plus

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Features, Music, Software

Earlier today during the keynote, Apple announced that the Store was on the way to completely dropping DRM. As of today, 8,000,000 of the 10,000,000 tracks are now available as DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks, and that even includes music videos. We figured we’d give you a quick look at how you go about upgrading your library of purchased content.

iTunes Plus upgrade

So the first thing you want to do is go to the iTunes Store, and look on the right-hand side. You’ll see “iTunes Plus” as one of the links, with a number next to it. That number represents the number of pieces of content that you have available that can be upgraded. Click on that.

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Bleeding Edge TV 297: Unibody MacBook Pro RAM upgrade tutorial

Last month, released their long-awaited and redesigned notebook, which spurred a bunch of excitement for all gadget lovers out there. The new unibody enclosure is sleek, and Apple even went out of their way to make it easy to upgrade the critical components that live inside the notebook yourself. Behind one door lies the hard drive and battery, both user-replaceable. Remove a few more screws, and you have direct access to your RAM.

Of course, these things are better explained in video than they are in text, which is why we’re here. In this episode of Bleeding Edge TV, we give you a full tutorial on what you need to do to upgrade the RAM in your new MacBook or MacBook Pro. If you are wondering why you’d want to do this, well, just compare the cost of what Apple charges you for 4GB of RAM versus the cost of buying the RAM yourself from a place like Newegg. You’ll save yourself a couple hundred bucks if you have a few minutes to spare.

Check out the tutorial, and let us know how it goes for you if you end up giving it a try.


Bleeding Edge TV 264: Install a hard drive in a Mac Pro

A quick and simple way to set up fast backups on your Mac Pro, or more storage for all those Bleeding Edge episodes you’ve been downloading, is to add in more hard drives. Thankfully, has made the upgrade path to accomplishing this super simple. In this episode, we show you the step-by-step process that is takes to install a new hard drive in your Mac Pro in under 5 minutes. All you need is a Mac Pro, a Philips screwdriver, and a SATA hard drive. Oh, and of course a few minutes of spare time. It really is that easy. Hit up the video for the proof, and let us know what you think.

A big thank you goes out to HP for sponsoring this episode.


Bleeding Edge TV 263: MacBook Pro RAM upgrade tutorial

In this episode, we show you how to install and upgrade the RAM in your MacBook Pro, in less than five minutes. In case you weren’t aware, the last couple generations of the notebook actually support up to 4GB of RAM. We are still trying to wrap our head around that number, because for a portable, that is insane. Even better, though, is the fact that this is such a cheap upgrade when you look at the very nice boost in performance it’ll net you in return. You can buy 2 2GB RAM chips for your MacBook Pro for just over $100 USD. Again, an easy way to get more performance out of your notebook at an inexpensive price.

Check out the video for the full tutorial. If you need to buy RAM for your MacBook Pro, hit up Crucial for a great deal.

A big thank you goes out to HP for sponsoring this episode.


Bleeding Edge TV 245: iPhone 1.1.3 Jailbreak OS X video tutorial

Now that we know that the iPhone 1.1.3 jailbreak method has been released, we figured it would be good of us to give you a video tutorial showing you how to get it done. After all, you all enjoyed our old-school 1.1.1 jailbreak video, right?

In this video, we provide step-by-step instructions that will help anyone upgrade their iPhone to a jailbreaked version of the 1.1.3 firmware. This should keep you tided over until that pesky SDK is released, right?

By the way, if you are looking for an excellent program to create custom ringtones for your iPhone, check out iPhone RingToneMaker, who sponsored this episode.


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