Buy or build PC media centre

  mr. h 20:02 17 Sep 2006

looking for some help to replace all of the old kit in the lounge, surround sound, dvd tele etc and would either like to buy or build a media centre box of tricks and a large screen. At present I have NTL broadband with digital television comming into my house with a small home network to several rooms already installed. I would also like to be able to watch various television channels in different rooms.

any sugestions

  ArrGee 11:06 18 Sep 2006

Quite an expansive request for advice! There are a good number of factors that need to be taken into consideration before an apt answer can be provided.

First of all, what kind of budget are you running on?

Personally, I'd opt for kit which is off the shelf, unless there are specific technical requirements that you may have.

To watch different channels in different rooms is another thread altogether. This depends on the feeds you have to each room (ariel or Sky boxes).

My current setup works very well for me. A permanently situated laptop with XP Media sat on a hifi stack (and connected to the amp), with a S-Video out going to a large plasma. The plasma is also connected to a Sky+ Box, which in turn is connected via RF1 to the laptop (to record Sky programmes) and RF2 to one of the bedrooms (via a Magic Eye).

The only setback is that the plasma and the bedroom tv have to be on the same channel, as I don't have a second Sky box and there is no ariel at this property.

For the best response, I would advise breaking down your request into separate threads. If it helps, I can send you the full schematics of my setup, from which you can decide what aspects suit you and those that don't.

Hope this is of some help.

  mr. h 07:18 21 Sep 2006


thanks for getting back my budget is around 6-700 for the box.

if you can send me some info this would be appreciated

  ArrGee 08:33 21 Sep 2006

You'll need to verify this budget a bit. 6-700 for 'the box'...are you talking about the Sky+ box?

  StainlessStan 10:39 28 Sep 2006

I've just built my own media centre pc to take the place of all those 'boxes'. It's straight forward enough, but, I am having trouble sharing recorded tv via my network. I have to say that my other half is yet to be convinced although she is impressed with the neat layout.

  ArrGee 10:51 28 Sep 2006

Assuming that the shared tv files are all in one folder, have you set the folder as shared on the network?

  mr. h 14:09 28 Sep 2006


what is the spec of the box you built and is it very noisy

  StainlessStan 12:40 29 Sep 2006

Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard
AMD Athlon X2 4200
Corsair DDR2 1GB (2x512mb)
Nmedia HTPC200 case (from usa)
Enermax liberty 400 psu
Coolermaster Susurro cpu cooler
Terratec 2400i dual tuner

Using onboard graphics with a view to upgrading later on. Can only hear from a few inches away.
Only problem is with Tuner card which stutters slightly but I think that's more to do with my signal.

  StainlessStan 08:49 30 Sep 2006

Sorry, forgot the following:

Samsung Spinpoint 250GB HD
Pioneer 111 DVD RW

Both are extremely quiet.

Also solved my Recorded TV problem. Fix described here. click here

  roy 17:16 03 Oct 2006

Bookmarked, thanks!

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