Monday, April 13, 2009

New Toy - HTPC

Spent a good bit of Sunday afternoon hooking up a new home theater PC - so far, so good. Specs are as follows:

- HP Pavilion Slimline s3750t PC
- Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
- Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor E7500 [2.93GHz]
- 4GB DDR2-800MHz SDRAM [2x2048]
- 640GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
- 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4350 & TV Tuner [DVI, HDMI, VGA adapter]
- Blu-ray player & Lightscribe SuperMulti DVD burner
- Wireless-G LAN card
- 15-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB, headphone port
- Integrated 5.1 channel sound with front audio ports
- HP wireless keyboard and HP wireless optical mouse

An 802.11N card would of course have been preferable but it wasn't an option with this build.

The first steps after initial boot were to install Avast! A/V, ZoneAlarm firewall, Irfanview, Winamp, Deepburner and MediaMonkey. Since we're not planning to use this box for general web-surfing, I may not bother with FireFox or another browser but I will want to go ahead and upgrade to IE8 soon. The wireless access point is upstairs in my home office and so far I seem to be getting adequate throughput for Hulu, although Youtube is stopping to buffer a bit. The Iron Man Blu-Ray is working fine with the software provided from H-P but I fully expect to run into disks that won't play so any suggestions on the best Blu-Ray player software would be most appreciated. I've got my MP3 collection on the workstation in the office upstairs shared out to the new box with high-def audio out to the home theater receiver, so we have tuneage. And I've tested out both analog and digital stations from a straight coax cable TV feed from the wall and that looks good as well - haven't tried recording or any other DVR functions yet. I also haven't checked to see what I can get (if anything) coming through the digital cable box - I'll keep you posted as I continue to set things up. There are a bunch of little things I haven't done yet, like setting up the remote control, rewiring other parts of the HT set-up as I've swapped around a couple of other components, etc. The goal is to make this as complete a system as possible while making it relatively straightforward to use.

So my checklist to date is:
o Blu-Ray player - check (need to try more disks)
o Music Jukebox - check
o Internet streaming TV - check (loves me some Hulu!!)
o DVR - in progress (tried recording "Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother" tonight)

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At 4:36 PM, Blogger Lex Alexander said...

Dude. It was Easter, not Christmas!


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