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i know this isn't really the place --(or is it ?) for a HTPC thread, but I think everyone here should know that even a fairly basic PC can outperform a DVD player, especially with a projectionpanel. I finally broke down and moved my main pc into the living room, using an older one for internet use. the difference in dvd playback is astonishing! this was somethind i wanted to do anyhow, but i did't really think it would be this good. i'm going to load my cd collection in and get a smaller case and superquiet power supply and start looking into tv tuners. anyone know of a tv tuner card that can get digital cable channels?
Hey, if you're looking for a smaller computer case, a company called Shuttle has recently been making very small barebones systems. Have a look at the ones for sale here.

You have to put the computer together yourself, but if you can build a projector, I'm sure you can build a computer :)
I just got a dead P3-650 system from a client. It seems to be the motherboard, so I was planning on building a new one around that Shuttle SV24. Also, the Savage 4 chipset in there is supposed to be really good for DVD's even though it's not a good gaming chipset, so it'd be the perfect player. It's got only one PCI, but I plan on putting a SB 5.1 OEM in there (about $30).
Yup. I've bought tons of stuff for myself, clients, relatives, etc... from Newegg. They're great. The only downside is if need something right away (like next day), I'll order from Mwave because Newegg sometimes takes a day or two to ship.

I'll probably buy the SV24, Logitech Z560, & SB Live 5.1 from them.

Yes, my P3 is a socket.
My results...

I wanted to see the difference with a htpc compared to my panasonic rv32 dvd (non progressive) player. I went out bought dvd player for my 1.33 amd thunder bird 256 mg ram 32 mg nvidia card (agp)...hooked up dvd player installed windvd 3.0 and I had some problems (I downloaded the newest directx 8.1b drivers and then windvd worked fine) Picture quality was awsome and I was very impressed. Then for the sound I also bought a sound card (turtle beach 5.1)...could not get it to work on my windows 2000 machine...driver issues keep erroring out. 4 hours later I returned to circuit city and traded in for creative external audio thru usb looked as if it would be a good choice to run into my turner from my pc since it could play 5.1 digital...well 5 hours later the sound quality was ok but only simulated dolby...not dts or 5.1 so I was unhappy. I'm really into the sound of a movie so I scrapped my plan for now on using my pc with my new diy projector...and I have gone back to the dvd setup. I have just ordered a converter/line doubler (s-video/rca to vga converter) to see if I can fix my macrovsion issues with my n view spectra c.

My summary....HTPC Great video...I question the sound capabilities compared to fiber optic from dvd to decorder (turner)...
I'm sure it can be as good but I do not have the answer?
htpc forum


PLEASE don't give up on htpc yet! Have a look at the Home Theater Computers section. There's a wealth of information there and plenty of knowledgable people to get you through setup. I would suggest going with an M-audio soundcard to begin with (I'm happy with my Delta 410). You can get true DTS/DD playback through WinDVD and look into dscaler ( for a line doubler/scaler that supposedly better than a Faroudja stand-alone. Also, you might want to look into powerstrip ( I think) for custom timings and resolutions for your pj.

Use Windows 98 or Windows ME. Manufactures has problems with their drivers on both Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Memory Zipper Plus from SysTweak is a good program to decrease any memory leaks within windows.

Haugpauge's WinTV from Haugpauge is a good TV tuner add on for a HTPC. There are other TV tuner cards that can recieve HD channels too. Haugpauge uses some code from

Cyberlink is great on extracting audio from video files (vob, mpeg, avi,etc.) but the video is not as good as WinDVD.

TIP: Insert cards in this order 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.. In this order it seems to increase system performance.
Definitly shy away from the NT based operating systems. The driver support isnt all that. But one thing to consider is that most people on avs forum reccommend the intel based systems because of the chipset reliability. the via/sis/amd chipsets aren't tested as much as intel's and the amount of data bandwidth we put throughout the system sometimes causes the AMD boards to flake out when different components are used. Whereas the intel chipsets really work with any hardware you have

the pc i'm currently using as DVD player is a simple Duron 800 with onboaord SIS graphics. i use Power DVD software -got it free with drive) sound is lacking so far--only stereo, but for now i'm looking more into getting the projector itself done. picture quality is great.
icculus, under PowerDVD there are audio settings to choose from two channels, four channels, six channels, and SPDIF. If you bought or have PowerDVD XP 4 with the dolby digital package, then you should play DVD movies in full 5.1 dolby digital sound with out any problems. Most sound cards can not output more than four analog channels. Other sound cards use Direct Sound to handle the rear channels. Try buying either Audigy or LIVE! 5.1 from creative labs. Audigy sound cards has some problems.

I have used a AMD 800 MHz (Slot A) on a ABIT KA7-100 with PowerDVD XP 4 and I had no problems. The only problem that I had is ATI's drivers. Their drivers kept on halting while starting Windows 98. I had no problems using LINUX radeon drivers from X86free. Since my motherboard quit working from the lack of filtering, I had to get another motherboard. Yes, capacitors leaked orange oze (paste).

To make using an AMD based computer easier to setup. Many motherboard manufactures are including Winbond (system diagnostic chip). If a part has a conflict, the Winbond will show a BIOS code. Then the user looks up the code in the motherboard manual to see whats the problem. The only motherboard manufacture that I know that has winbond on an AMD board is EPOX. Many other manufactures are following EPOX.

BTW, computers that come with DVD software players does not always have the latest version. I suggest you upgrade to PowerDVD XP 4 with Dolby Digital package.

somehow, I forgot about all the games i had on my machine. today it dawned on me that i have over 700 classic games using MAME, pj64, snes, and genesis emulators. they are amazing on the big screen. i'll post some pics when i get my new pc up and running.
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