Should I buy a HTPC? Worth the cash?

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#1
So I upgraded my HDTV last year, before Samsung started to implement the whole internet tv/lan port for viewing online tv shows and movies. Now I'm thinking about buying a HTPC mostly for internet tv.

Is there anything I should look for in an HTPC? Does Best Buy carry any of them? What's a good brand? I'm really starting from the beginning here if you can't tell. :usa2:
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#2
I built a new HTPC. It came in around a grand, but I bought some of my components on ebay and I have a $400 digital cable tuner in it.

Cost breakdown:

Motherboard - $55
RAM - $85
2TB Hard disk - $110
CPU (core i3) - $89
Case - $85
Dual tuner ATSC card - $65
Analog cable tuner card - $25
CableCARD tuner - $400
Windows 7 - $100
BD-ROM drive - $60

Your costs will be different since you aren't probably going to buy the cablecard tuner.

The best way to get a decent HTPC is to roll your own. Otherwise you're going to pay megabucks to some boutique system integrator like niveus or cannon pc.

But tell us a little more about your goals with the HTPC. I will say one thing as well - the Clarkdale CPUs are the best thing since sliced bread for HTPC use. They do full HD and have HDMI passthrough capability for HD audio formats. A core i3 has plenty of horsepower for HTPC use and is less than $100 if you shop around. I bought my CPU from microcenter.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#3
Thanks for the list of components. I'm on a tight budget. Will probably have around $850-$1000 for my build. The main thing I'm looking for is internet connectivity to watch online movies and tv shows. I have my tuner for surround sound so I really won't need a good sound card (I think at least, but I could be wrong?). Do you use your HTPC to output sound?
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#4
You should be fine with a Core i3 and H55/H57 motherboard setup. With the clarkdale Core i3 you won't need a video or sound card. The GPU is built in to the CPU and the sound card is on the motherboard. It works just fine unless you want really high end sound like Creative X-Fi or something. Many motherboards these days have both analog audio and SPDIF digital outputs (fiber or coax).
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#5
I'm wondering if I should just sell my 1 year old TV and buy a new HDTV? I figure I'd be out about $500-$600 after purchasing another TV with the Lan port. I'm just not sure if I'd use a HTPC for purposes other than watching TV shows and movies over the internet.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#7
One more option is the new apple tv which can do netflix and iTunes. $99 from apple. It's not free but it's an option.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#8
I'm using a used dell 2.4 dual core running xp. Nothing fancy, it does fine. 3 GB, USB tuner for ota recording, a 512 video card (dvi out to hdmi at tv w/ a cable) 80 GB Raptor for OS, 1 TB storage drive.

I plan on upgrading to win 7 pro when I can get it for less than a kings ransom(for the media center) and a native HDMI video w/ at least 1 gb.

Total I spent on the computer is about $2-300. Does netflix and hulu great, and HDTV is great live and recorded.
 
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