Building a Home Theater PC (HTPC) or NAS

Posted on 2011-10-11
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi Folks,
I'm considering a HTPC or just going with a NAS instead.  Basically we have a bunch of old CD's that we are converting to MP3.  Then I have loads of pictures scattered around and want to get all of it on a NAS or HTPC that we can access from a central location.  That in and of itself would be fine on just a NAS.  But I was thinking about replacing the receiver and current dvd player and using an HTPC with a blu-ray as the DVD player, music player (replacing the cd player) and radio.  I was thinking maybe pandora or some of the other online sources for radio.  Most stations now have streaming so that would be fine.  

I have been doing some reasearch and it seems that the volume of info is a bit nuts.  I was leanign towards linux but now it seems Windows 7 maybe a better choice.  I was leaning towards 64 bit windows but it seems 32 bit in many instances may be better, at least that is some of the information on the video side of things.  

Are there any good internet TV sites?  Would it be worth the added expense and trouble to build the HTPC?  What about a remote, the information I have found on remotes so far has all been using windows.  Are any that would allow me to run the DVD, MP3 and maybe the radio sites using a remote from Linux?  What about the blu-ray player playing blu-ray disks from linux?

Is linux a usable option for HTPC?  All the articles I can find are old, some using Vista.  

Thanks folks, budget would be about 1000.00, as I have done some research and can build a system that seems to fit the bill for about that.  I will not go into detail on the specs so I do not skew anyones thoughts on this.
Question by:mcioffi209
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Well ...  first you have to get a good handle on just what you want the system to do.    But a nice HTPC could provide ~ 6TB of storage that could easily be shared throughout your network.    From what you've described, this would be a very good choice.

    $1000 is on the low side for a good HTPC, but you can come reasonably close (you could skip the SSD and use 2TB instead of 3TB drives and shave 2-3 hundred off of the following list):

    This is a good case ($200):

    A high-quality power supply with modular cables to minimize internal clutter ($110:

    A good micro-ATX motherboard (the case will accomodate full size, but has much more "working room" with a micro-ATX board)  ($115):

    A good 65w CPU with HD3000 graphics ($200):

    8GB RAM ($52):

    A high-qualtiy SSD for the main system drive ($200):

    A couple of high-capacity A/V drives for primary storage (310):

    An optical drive with BluRay playback ($110):

    ... a total of ~ $1300, not counting an OS

    Author Comment

    thanks for the parts suggestions.  

    Just a couple of questions.  Does anyone have any OS recommendations?  What about remotes?  Do you think a 10k drive would be ok for the main system drive?  

    Big outstanding question is the OS though.
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    Windows 7 works fine for the OS for an HTPC.    If you want it to be able to record TV (i.e. act as a DVR), you can add a Hauppauge 2250 dual-tuner card (or several), and '7 Media Center lets you record programs from the card.

    Any drive -- SSD, 10K, 7200rpm, 5400rpm, etc. works fine as the main drive -- I just like very fast boots and program loads, so I only use SSDs these days.    The actual recording, movie storage, music storage, etc. will be on the slower A/V drives anyway (they're still plenty fast for this application).

    Personally, I've got both a good HTPC (somewhat more than what I listed above) and a dedicated storage server (w/24TB of storage) in a LInux box.    But that's perhaps a bit of overkill for what you asked for :-)
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

    This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Based on the OP's feedback in #36954856 I think he felt that my comment #36952431 answered his question;  and my follow-up #36957480 responded to his follow-up questions as well.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    ... Meant to post the last comment as an objection to stop the auto-closing process.

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