geek(n): An intelligent, eccentric person with an interest in the perceptibly useless and esoteric.
asylum(n): 1) A place offering protection and safety; a shelter.
2) An institution for the care of those requiring organized supervision.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Home Theatre PC Project (HTPC)

Recently I started on my Home Theatre PC project. This is something I have wanted to do for a while, but didnt really have the money for. Well, I still dont really have the money, but I have started on it anyway.

I started by browsing the web looking for a decent case, since not having much money means that the project will probably be sitting around for several months while Im saving up to buy the next piece, and I figured it was a good idea to have a box to keep all the pieces in. After searching for a few days and comparing several different cases, I decided on the Silverstone LC20M (pictured).

I read several reviews, and they all looked pretty good, so I headed over to CX Computer in the city to pick one up. I know I could have gotten one cheaper if I looked around, but they are close and had a black one in stock.

Now, here is the tricky part. The box that these come in is used for both the LC20 and the LC20M, and it has pictures of both models on the outside. I was specifcally after the LC20M, which includes the Multimedia pack (remote control, VFD and Software). I saw the remote control on the box along side the LC20M model number so I made sure the case inside was black, picked it up and headed to the register.

When I got home and opened the box, there was no remote control or software CD, and presumably no VFD (Its hard to see without pulling the whole thing apart). It took me a few minutes to double check, and thats when I realised that both models are shown on the box, and to make sure that you have the right one, you have to check the tiny shipping label on the side to see what model the box contains.

The guys at CX were great. I called the next day and they ordered the LC20M in for me. I returned the LC20 the following week, paid the difference, and I now have the LC20M here waiting for a few more pieces to be added to it.

The next components to be obtained will be the motherboard, CPU, and memory. At this stage Im thinking AMD64 dual 2.4Ghz CPU, Gigabyte board, and 1Mb of generic memory. When finished, it will be running MythTV on Gentoo Linux, with an EPG provided by these guys, and at least two Digital TV cards - possibly Haupage-350 if I can afford them. The box will have at least one hardware MPEG encoder, and a hardware decoder on each card.

I'll update the progress of this project as I go.

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