Uk Newbie questions (longish post) (1 Viewer)

Jowl

New Member
August 23, 2005
2
0
Englishland
Hi all.

I'm building a media centre PC from some bits I had lying around (I'm a self employed IT bod) - but I now need to purchase some bits - and as I'm buying my first house, I'm now on a tiny budget!!

So media centre stage 1 has to:

Display digital TV preferably with timeshifting etc
Record TV to HDD
Play DVD Video's
play Internet radio / 'freeview' radio stations
Play all my cd / mp3 collection/

My Specs (and currently owned components) are
Athlon Xp2700 (with cheapish heatsink / fan)
Abit Socket A motherboard - inc Audio and SATA
512mb DDR400 Curical RAM
160gb Seagate SATA HDD
CDRW/DVD combo drive
Windows XP Pro

I intend to run Mediaportal and purchase a Viewsonic 30" LCD TV (N3000W)

So I need recommendations for:
A digital TV card - needs BDA drivers to work with mediaportal / MS MCE

A decentish Grafix card - looking at geforce 6200/6600. Doesn't have to be brilliant as it won't be used much as a games machine. It does have to support a 30" LCD TV using DVI though. Oh and passivly cooled.

A Case (with PSU) - at the moment I have a cheaper silver tower and a smaller but higher quality black case with window. Ideally I'd like a small (but full height) desktop-type case but I might not be able to stretch to this straight away.

Finally, any advice on running a media centre through a CRT TV. I've already saved/allocated funds for a LCD TV with DVI/VGA inputs. But if I can get a decent picture though a normal TV this would obviously save money!

Oh, and any decent 5.1 PC speaker systems about - more of a Christmas pressie this one though!
 

vbap

Portal Pro
February 15, 2005
131
1
Melbourne, Australia
Jowl said:
My Specs (and currently owned components) are
Athlon Xp2700 (with cheapish heatsink / fan)
Abit Socket A motherboard - inc Audio and SATA
512mb DDR400 Curical RAM
160gb Seagate SATA HDD
CDRW/DVD combo drive
Windows XP Pro
This all looks fine. Make sure you update XP Pro to SP2 with all latest updates. Sometimes, handy to have a small second HDD to install the OS/programs on, leaving the large HDD for TV recordings & other Media files.

A digital TV card - needs BDA drivers to work with mediaportal / MS MCE
I'm not from the UK, so can't really comment about which specific cards work best with the various DVB offerings available. DMAN (forum mod) is UK-based, so check his signature for what he uses :)

A decentish Grafix card - looking at geforce 6200/6600. Doesn't have to be brilliant as it won't be used much as a games machine. It does have to support a 30" LCD TV using DVI though. Oh and passivly cooled.
Passive 6600 & 6800 available (from Gigabyte I think).

A Case (with PSU) - at the moment I have a cheaper silver tower and a smaller but higher quality black case with window. Ideally I'd like a small (but full height) desktop-type case but I might not be able to stretch to this straight away.
Check out the fancy Silverstones / Accent cases. Quite popular (but also expensive!). However, cases are a very personal choice...!

Finally, any advice on running a media centre through a CRT TV.
Well, I would say a mojority of users here output through CRT. If you get a good picture from your TV without MP, then you should be able to get just as good a picture with MP. Most issues tend to be related to tweaking your graphics card with your particular TV.

Oh, and any decent 5.1 PC speaker systems about - more of a Christmas pressie this one though!
Well, I'm just using the built-in stereo speakers of my LCD TV, so can't help much here! :lol:
 

Jowl

New Member
August 23, 2005
2
0
Englishland
Thanks for the response.

I tried output from my main PC to VRY TV using a Radeon 9200 VIVO - and wasn't impressed with the results.

But with a dedicated machine, I could try a lot more changes in settings etc. Still fancy a LCD TV though!

I'll have a look at DMAn's sig!

Thanks again,

J
 

elliottmc

Retired Team Member
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  • August 7, 2005
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    Jowl said:
    Finally, any advice on running a media centre through a CRT TV. I've already saved/allocated funds for a LCD TV with DVI/VGA inputs. But if I can get a decent picture though a normal TV this would obviously save money!

    Yes. Don't! CRT TVs were never intended to display a computer picture, and my experience with them is that no matter what you do, it will look terrible outside of dedicated HTPC software which is designed for a TV.

    LCD TVs are expensive, but coming down in price all the time. Great picture quality and save space. You can't go wrong.

    As for a TV tuner card, I use an old Hauppauge WinTV Nova-t PCI with the TechnoTrend drivers for BDA. I think that the newer Nova-t already has BDA drivers, so it will just work out of the box.

    Mark
     

    arnonm

    Portal Member
    February 23, 2005
    34
    0
    Hauppauge Nova-t

    The most popular Freeview seems to be the Hauppauge Nova-T. The newer model has two arial sockets (in and out) and has BDA drivers from Hauppauge. 2.1 or 2.2 last I checked.
     

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