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DO I need both a video and TV Card for a media Center PC


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#1 marcscott

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 08:25 PM

I am trying to build a Media Center PC from my existing desktop. would I need a Video and TV/Tuner card or just the Tuner card? And any suggestions on which I should get. I was told I would need at least a 512.

Here is a list of what I was told I would need
Video card 512 at least
preferably 2 GB Ram (max my comp can take)
Windows 2005 or Vista Biz
large HD (Have 250 internal and 500 external)


I have a surround sound system I plan on hooking into this as well a a cable box (HDTV)

any and all suggestions greatly appreciated...I just want to do this right

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#2 fairjoeblue

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:23 PM

If you want to watch TV on your computer you need a video card & TV tuner card or a video card with a TV tuner built on [Like a ATI "All In Wonder" .

I have a media center I built.
I used a Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB video card & a cheap TV Tuner [with remote] I got off of ebay.
2GB memory, 250GB hard drive.
XP Pro with Intervideo WinDVD to play DVD's .

I have the computer hooked to a TV cable & it works rather well .

When I first set out to build a media center , just to see how it would work, I used a old Compaq with a P4 1.7GHz CPU, 512MB PC133 SDRAM , & a [old] Radeon 9200 video card.
The TV Tuner I mentioned & a 80GB hard drive.

To be honest, the clunker I threw together played TV & movies just as well as the newer unit I built ! :thumbsup:
OCZ StealthXstream 700W,Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R , E8500, Arctic Freezer Pro 7, 3GB G.Skill PC8500,Gigabyte Radeon HD 4850 OC [1GB ], Seagate 250GB SATA II X2 in RAID 0, Samsung SATA DVD burner.

#3 hamluis

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:33 PM

Well...I guess that my first question would be...what do you consider to be a "media center PC"?

If it's a PC that uses XP Media Center as the O/S...bear in mind that the same effects can be achieved without any version of MS MCE.

Many of us have had ATI or other tuner cards (which give us the capability of watching/recording/editing TV) for several years now.

These have been available long enough for ATI to discontinue its All-In-Wonder line of video cards and be bought out by AMD...and then reinstitute a new series of A-I-W products.

From what I see...a "media center PC" is something that manufacturers and Microsoft dreamed up to take advantage of the fact that many new PC buyers...had no clue that any PC could easily be transformed into a multimedia center.

FWIW: This is what Wiki says, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_center

Marketing, marketing, marketing...IMO.

What is it that you want your "media center PC" to do?

My last question...is where did you get these component minimums from? About the only things you listed that I can categorically agree with are the RAM and the hard drive.

Rendering video on a computer benefits from as much RAM as possible, while watching video requires a negligible amount of video RAM (certainly not 512MB). Rendering video has nothing to do with video RAM.

A large hard drive is a good thing, due to the size of video files (when saved). If you don't intend to save them, there's no reason for a drive larger than 120GB or so, IMO. (Today, there is little point in buying a hard drive that small, 1TB drives are available for approximately $100).

Best thing I can suggest...plenty of reading before deciding what you want. In computerdom, there are several ways to achieve the same ends...often.

I may not be understanding the capabilities of what is marketed today as a "media center PC" and I apologize if there really is something other than marketing behind that tag.

Louis

#4 marcscott

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:07 PM

what I am looking to do is hook the PC to my HDTV and record shows like I am currently doing with my cable box ($10 a month), listen to my cd collection which I have on my computer in MP3's and be able to watch and listen to my movies and music on other PC's in the house as well ( I have a wireless network already set up).

If I do not need Media Center 2005 that would be great and save me $150 dollars

#5 hamluis

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 02:41 PM

I know nothing about wireless anything :thumbsup:...and as far as networking to other PCs is concerned, that's taken care of if the network is properly setup.

I'm very nearsighted :flowers:...but I see no reason to purchase any version of MCE. I don't use my two PCs in the manner that you propose, but I'm sure that someone here can give you tips/clues as to what I just might be missing.

Louis

#6 fairjoeblue

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 03:18 PM

Windows MCE is nothing but XP with the "media center" applications cobbled in.

If you have XP any TV Tuner card you buy should come with a remote & the proper software to watch/record TV.

If you want a free program to watch movies VLC Media Player will play about anything,

http://www.download.com/VLC-Media-Player/3...4-10267151.html

With a TV tuner card, VLC, & Windows Media Player you should be able to do all you want .

I personally don't like Windows "MCE" .
Maybe it's just my misfortune but I have never actually seen it work 100% right on any computer.
OCZ StealthXstream 700W,Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R , E8500, Arctic Freezer Pro 7, 3GB G.Skill PC8500,Gigabyte Radeon HD 4850 OC [1GB ], Seagate 250GB SATA II X2 in RAID 0, Samsung SATA DVD burner.




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