Home Theater Computer/Media Center

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This HTPC/Media Center build started in May of 2007 and was finalized by October 2007. It started with my venture to rename all my songs so that VoiceCommand on my phone would recognize them when I told it to play them. For Example "Play Nine Inch Nails" prompting the phone to play all my nine inch nails songs on my phone.

At that point it piqued my interest at what Media Center could really do, so I decided to try a copy of Windows media center out. Since I liked what I saw I decided to further develop my media center into a DVR.

This is when it began to get really expensive. First I had to get a new motherboard, CPU and memory, plus a tuner card that could display the satellite on my TV through the PC. At first I was pretty happy with the entire thing. I was able to schedule 2 programs to record at once through a digital tuner and my satellite as well. I started noticing that the digital channels (local ATSC) were very very shaky, so, then I upgraded to a faster CPU and more memory, it was ok for the time, but I knew that I would have to get more horsepower if I wanted to get the more tuners or a HD-DVD player.

In July I figured that the second tuner and HD-DVD playback was way to sketchy so I decided to upgrade to a Intel 6600 Dual Core CPU, and added a third tuner at that point as well as a Blu-Ray player and RAID. Finally, I had the ultimate DVR and "movie" player. It started to get better after this!

After playing around a lot with Windows Media Center, I decided to see what else was out there as far as plug-in's were concerned. There was this plug-in that I have shyed away from because it was a little too hard for me in the past, finally I got this plug-in installed and I never had to watch another commercial again in recorded TV, not only that, I didn't even have to fast forward the commercials.

I also started to notice a LOT of heat coming from my HTPC because of the fact there were 5 hard drives spinning all the time and the Video card I got puts a lot of heat out. At this point I decided to watercool my PC and found that my temperatures fell roughly 10 degreees Celcius. Since I had the cool "H2O" cooling I had t o get some lights to illuminate the entire thing.

A year and a half later, I am completely happy with the PC. It's one hell of a unit, the only thing I would upgrade to is a quad core processor

Apparently there are no limits to this capability, the Media Center can control some pretty awesome things. Security cameras, lighting, indoor temperature control, cooking ovens, window covering, refrigerators, etc. I have so much excitement about this whole experience, I have decided to sell them.

Here are the specs

Case – CoolerMaster Cosmos II

Motherboard – EVGA 680i A1

CPU – Intel Core 2 Duo e6600 overclocked to 3.33GHz

Memory – OCZ  XTC SLi OCZ2N900SR1G

Cooling (CPU) – Swiftech H20-200 Ultra with Northbridge Block

Power Supply Unit – CoolerMaster 600W SLi Ready


Disk Drives

·         Sony BWU-100A – Blu-Ray player

·         Xbox 360 HD-DVD Add-on

·         2 x 320GB RAID0 allowing 1 disk at formatted 600GB for Recorded TV

·         320GB HD for movie storage

·         80GB HD for Operating System


Video Card – EVGA 8800GTS w/320MB of GDDR3 Memory

Tuner Cards – Hauppauge HVR-1600, HVR-1800, AverTV M780

Sound Card – Auzentech X-Meridian with LM4562NA OpAmps

Other hardware: X10 ActiveHome Pro, Media Center IR Receiver, Harmony 890