Media PC (HTPC)
This was a project I started late last year. The idea was to build a PC specifically for the purpose of watching TV and Movies in our new lounge room (on a 42″ LCD Screen).
Basically it was built to replace a PVR, CD player, DVD player, Blu-ray player (eventually) and a Media Center box.
So, here’s the specs:
- Silverstone LC20B ATX/microATX HTCP Case
- ASUS M4A88T-M | Socket AM3
- AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz 2MB Cache | Socket AM3
- eVGA GT220 1GB | PCIe v2.0
- Kingston DDR3 4GB PC10600/1333
- DViCO FusionHDTV DualExpess4 Dual Digital Tuner | PCI-e
- AVerMedia AVerTV Volar HD Nano | USB 2.0
- Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EARS | SATAII
- Western Digital Green 2TB WD20EARS | SATAII
- Logitech Z5500THX 5.1 Digital
- Sony Media Card Reader + USB Port
- 2 x Antec 80mm TriCool Case Fans (for some reason the case didn’t come with fans)
So that’s the insides, here’s the
So im running Windows 7 Ultimate primarily for it’s Windows Media Center Application (7MC).
Normally I would shut a computer down when I’m done, but being a TV I need it to come on in a few seconds, thus requiring S3 Standby mode aka Suspend-to-RAM.
Ended up also needing a tool called MST (Media Center Standby Tool) which takes care of all the complicated power settings that seem to be required to make it work in Windows 7.
Now tweaking the system was the fun part, and there’s plenty of addons and extensions to polish things off a little.
First I used BSE (Big Screen EPG) to get a more reliable EPG set from the internet (I’ve got it updating 3 times a day). This neat little app also adds a better synopsis for most shows/movies and also adds inline pictures (usually the title poster) to the EPG Guide.
To finish off the EPG guide I got MyChannelLogos to add icons to all of the channels in the guide.
So I realised after that, I realised I needed a way to index and play back my vast collection of DVD and Bluray Rips and also my TV series.
Media Browser accomplishes this very well. Its very themeable, has a nice interface, and even supports auto mounting of ISOs. In addition it also gives detailed info about each show, and it even properly figures out TV Series.
Finally, I used Media Center Studio (not maintained anymore) to rearrange the icons in the 7MC and rearrange them.