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Old 01-06-2008, 01:27 PM   #21
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I want simplicity.
That's the reason lots of people run XBMC on Xbox. Very simple, no worries about Windows, etc. Turning on/off, browsing files, etc. you can do all from your couch with the remote control in your hand.
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:40 PM   #22
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I've used a full atx board, athlon 2500, radeon 9600xt agp via dvi-to-hdmi to a 55" sony lcd rptv, 1 gb ram, ATI theatrix 550, Diamond pci SPDIF out audio card, 500gb SATA, 250gb IDE, DVD r/rw for a couple years w/o issue. Software I use is from Snapstream - BeyondTV for tv and BeyondMedia for everything else. I rip dvds to the HD as ISOs and a plug-in for Bmedia downloads the info and cover image. You just click the play button and daemon tools auto mounts the ISO and plays it. The quality for the dvds is awesome.

The radeon just started crapping out on me, so I'm upgrading the architecture for pciE and dual core cpu for $250. It will have enough oompf to manage Hidef pvr duties. And I'm considering moving to SageTV since the Snapstream stuff is moving enterprise - less focus on consumer end and integration. Sage will do QAM hidef (unencrypted digital over cable) too.

IMO it's like anything pc/windows - ONCE you get it sorted out and everything working together AND leave it alone, it will run dependably. A lot like a turbo miata. My system runs just like the Xbox media setup- from the couch with the remote.
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:01 PM   #23
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I've built a couple of these. One car PC and now one home PC. You dont need a lot of processor or memory. What you do want is a Nice video card with whatever outputs that your TV accepts, a BIG *** hard drive... stock/onboard sound is OK for me anyway, if you have a pimp sound system you can get a 5.1 sound card with optical out.

I use onboard video on mine, with VGA inputs on my DLP 1080p TV, looks good but it just cant handle some of the HD stuff, it gets all blocky so a video card will probably be my next upgrade.
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:58 PM   #24
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Stealth, can you tell me more about what you built for your home PC.

J man, how much internal memmory do the xbox's have. I will need something that can hold alot of movies.

My biggest goal is to have something with alot of storage, kick *** video and sound cards. I have DVD's coming out of my ears and I dont want to buy anymore, especially when you can download everything.
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Old 01-06-2008, 04:42 PM   #25
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XBMC will play just about any file you can throw at it (I don't believe I've ever come across something it won't play). Here's a list of codecs/containers XBMC plays: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/info.html

Given that a used Xbox is $60 from Gamestop now (and you can get a two-year warranty for $5-10), you could pick up one of those, softmod it for XBMC, buy a NAS like this for $85: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...4036&Tpk=nslu2 , and an external drive or two (I'm running two 400GB drives on my NSLU2), and you'll have quite the media extender/center.

A lot of people scoff when I tell them I use a six-year-old video game system as a media center, until they see it in action The interface is so mature and slick, and the media players, music database-handling so good...throw in the fact that I also run NES, SMS, SNES, Genesis, SNK/Capcom emulators on it with about 4,000 games that all work perfectly (for when you wanna throw down some late-night 4-player NBA Jam or Street Fighter Alpha 12 with your buds), and it's pretty much a no-brainer.

The software media player will also upscale DVDs to 720P and apply some nice post-processing filters, making it look as good to my eye as the best progressive-scan, upscaling stand-alone players, however, it doesn't quite have the horsepower to run high-def (1280x720 res) content...it does, however, have enough juice to decode and play h.264 std. def. content, though, which is nice.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:29 PM   #26
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I think anyone who as actually used an X-box with XBMC will understand, for simplicity like the OP wanted, it cannot be beat. No need to screw with installing software on a PC, running scripts to make it run just right, no need for an expensive video card or sound card, etc. The X-box can output Dolby Digital along with DTS, so its fine for DVD's with a surround sound setup. As people have said, the interface is extremely easy to use, very mature looking, and extremely capable.

Just checkout www.xboxmediacenter.com and poke around there. Checkout the screenshots and read about the capability of the software. Now, if you're nervous about having to actually mod the X-box, its really quite simple, but I'm sure there are members on the board who would be happy to do it for you.

Regardless, if you have a tight budget(or even if you don't), and you want simplicity, this is by far the easiest way to go.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:44 PM   #27
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hmm i might have to try this myself the xbox deal sounds cool. Just to clarify with this and the mods, will i be able to transfer streamed TV onto my PC for later use?
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:57 PM   #28
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The modded xbox is great especially when you add in the disk space. If you do decide to go the pc route then definitely look into knoppmyth. It is linux but will do so much more that the time and money invested is so worth it. Good support in the forums too. Does everything including dvr functions and you can access your media from anywhere much like a slingbox.
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Old 01-06-2008, 07:02 PM   #29
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now all i need to do is find a good site about converting FTA satelite recievers and i will be set.
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Old 01-06-2008, 07:45 PM   #30
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The Xbox looks like the way to go, especially since I have no idea on how to build a pc myself. So what exactly do I need-

An xbox, some chip (can someone clarify what this chip is for), external hard drives for storage and xbmc. Is there anything else? What outputs do the xbox's use? Is there a way to put a DVI connection to it.
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Old 01-06-2008, 08:27 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tremiata View Post
The modded xbox is great especially when you add in the disk space. If you do decide to go the pc route then definitely look into knoppmyth. It is linux but will do so much more that the time and money invested is so worth it. Good support in the forums too. Does everything including dvr functions and you can access your media from anywhere much like a slingbox.
sheez I got to check that out.

levnubhin, my home PC is not really that special... I say "built" but it's a compaq I bought from a guy at work for $50, its a AMD 1800+ with 256 ram, and I put in a CD burner and a 120 gig hard drive. It's hardly super fast but for movies and music it does the job fine.. save for the video card I mentioned earlier.

I've got another 120gb drive and a stick of 512mb ram sitting on the shelf to waiting for me to stick in.. aside from that and the video card it will do whatever I need. If you have cable a Video card with a tuner and a cable connection would be a big plus for DVR stuff, but I have a seperate box for that.

biulding a PC is not that big a deal. If you want to try it shoot me some PM I can "spec" out a few things that work together.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:39 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tremiata View Post
The modded xbox is great especially when you add in the disk space. If you do decide to go the pc route then definitely look into knoppmyth. It is linux but will do so much more that the time and money invested is so worth it. Good support in the forums too. Does everything including dvr functions and you can access your media from anywhere much like a slingbox.


Speaking of slingbox. I installed one in my dads house in NY over the holiday. That thing is cool. However the image quality is subpar. Its best on my laptop but I think it could be better. Does the image quality depend on my video card? How can i tell what kind of video card I have?
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:23 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levnubhin View Post
The Xbox looks like the way to go, especially since I have no idea on how to build a pc myself. So what exactly do I need-

An xbox, some chip (can someone clarify what this chip is for), external hard drives for storage and xbmc. Is there anything else? What outputs do the xbox's use? Is there a way to put a DVI connection to it.
If you go the route of modding the hardware, yes, you have to get some kind of alternate BIOS chip and solder it to the board.

If you want to softmod, all you need is a hacked saved game for an original copy of Splinter Cell, MechAssault or some 007 Bond game. I already had Splinter Cell, so that's what I used. The softmod is great because it's easily reversible, and you can knock out an softmod and XBMC install on someone's box pretty quickly (~30-45min.). I've probably done 7-8 boxes.
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:13 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by levnubhin View Post
J man, how much internal memmory do the xbox's have. I will need something that can hold alot of movies.
The Xbox has 65MB of shared RAM What you're asking about it hard drive capacity, and they came with 8GB and 10GB drives (WD and Seagate, later on).

I wouldn't even bother upgrading the hdd of the Xbox, but instead, go network-attached-storage, as you then won't be tied to the Xbox as a media extender or have to pull the drive if you change media server/extenders in the future.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:03 AM   #35
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I just purchased a refurbed HP s3120n for $350. Great PC just what your looking for and more.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:09 AM   #36
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And the xbox has a drive size limit anyway- right? or is there away around that?

The big diff IMO between the Xbox and the htpc is the video quality of the dvds. My xbox's component out can't match what I see from the dvi on my htpc. It me also be the decoders, but there are some movies where darker detail is just lost on the xbox and there's no way to tweak that (or easy way to tweak it).
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:28 PM   #37
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Geesh, lol my head is spinning. Is the pic quality really that bad with the xbox? Id hate to short change myself.
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:41 PM   #38
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I have another PC here. Its an emachines desktop with a 60 gig hd and 512md ddr sdram. What if I put a better video card (it currently has an Intel extreme graphics 3D card, sound right? , maybe better sound card, more memory and use an external hd for memory. Would it be worth it?
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:56 PM   #39
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Thats what I would do. Either way your buying a HD. Just do the HD you'd be surprised how minimal the computer needs to be. I think i have a fanless $50 video card and it works
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:55 PM   #40
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The diff between the two really depends on what your standards are. I can see the difference between my xbox and my htpc. Whether it's the graphics or the decoders, I don't know, but I can tweak that stuff on my pc and that's the difference I need. No doubt the xbox is the simple choice. If you're running the video to something low rez (like composite or svideo) then there's no point in investing in the pc since you're "bottleneck" is the display device.

You can get a good graphics card graphics card for $50 no doubt. My current setup was using an agp 9600xt 128mb w/o any issues upsampling dvds to 1080p.
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