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  • Media Center PC?

    So I am toying with getting a new reciever, and wondered if a media center pc could function as a reciever. Right now my set up is a reciever with dvd player and cable box hooked to it. The problem is the reciever does not upconvert, the dvd player does not have built in codecs for all the media I play (via its thumb drive) and I am wanting to upgrade to a blu ray. My thoughts/goals if I go with media center:

    Know I can do
    -Wireless network connection
    -Codecs for all media
    -Install a bluray drive
    -upconvert media to 1080i (maybe even 1080p)

    Would love it to do, but dunno-
    -serve as the switch to the cable box (feed in from box to media center pc and output to tv and stereo)
    -eliminate the need for a reciever

    Is a media center the way to go or am I better off getting a reciever and ditching the dvd player replaced with this media center? Right now I use the existing reciever to switch between cable and dvd, and the ipod, if I use ipod video, needs to be plugged into the tv rca input because the reciever will not upconvert so I have just one input into the tv (I hate switching tv inputs as a matter of convenience). I could drop 400 bucks on a decent reciever that will take any input and upconvert it to one output to the tv, or I could drop a little more on a media center pc and eliminate a few pieces of equipment, so long as it does the one output upconversion thing.
    sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Media Center PC?

    You'd probably be better off with a media center-ish box. You can either do HTPC or something like Boxee. If you decide on a HTPC, you'll have to get a internal BD drive and for the most part, it'll play anything you throw at it. As for upconversion, it won't do that as far as I know, but if you play it fullscreen, it won't matter much anyways.

    You could use it as a receiver but it would require a add-on card as you'd need to hook your cable box's outputs to the card's inputs (would also serve as the card to help you record shows from your cable box).
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    • #3
      Re: Media Center PC?

      These days Receivers are great at combining multiple inputs and upconverting them to a single HDMI output to the TV. I'm not sure how capable HTPC's are at performing this task. Also, are you currently using the receiver to power discrete speakers or are you using the TV's built in speakers? Overall I think of an HTPC as a device that compliments a receiver very well, but doesn't necessarily replace one.
      "Looking for brahs to come fight crime with me" - Unload



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      • #4
        Re: Media Center PC?

        Surround sound speakers powered by the receiver. No audio through tv unless I hook my ipod to it for video. When I say upconversion I probably should clarify that I don't mind if it does not upconvert so long as I just need one output to the tv/speakers. It would be ideal to upconvert, but honestly, I don't imagine a significant improvement in picture quality from an avi, and the ability to browse the videos of the kids on a media center is far more appealing than the basic thumb drive menu on my dvd player.

        I know a new reciever will work to meet my basic needs, but the idea of consolidating two items (receiver/bluray) into a media center is appealing. Plus, there is no need for the ipod hookup with a media center.
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        • #5
          Re: Media Center PC?

          You might be better off adding an HTPC and pairing it with your current receiver then. HTPC's are awesome if you have a lot of .avi's or mp3's to play. Having everything stored digitally and not having to swap out physical discs is a huge bonus. I just don't know if you'll be able to completely replace your receiver because you might not be able to power your surround sound speakers with just the HTPC.
          "Looking for brahs to come fight crime with me" - Unload



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          • #6
            Re: Media Center PC?

            I'm not sure a HTPC can replace a receiver. Receivers are designed to amplify signals and convert digital signals to analog now. You'll not be able to use a HTPC to push any serious speakers.

            If you're looking for a decent and yet inexpensive receiver, check out the Onkyo TX-SR308 for $199 at Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882120164

            Then consider the tiny Acer Revo to use as a HTPC for $329 (able to handle 1080p video out via HDMI!) : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16883103266

            I run XBMC on my Acer Revo and everyone wants to know how much it cost to set up. Installers charge thousands of dollars to rig devices that don't perform a tenth as well as my Revo with XBMC.
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            • #7
              Re: Media Center PC?

              I would go with an HTPC if i was you, and use that for dvd's and blu-rays's. It plays everything and can be upgraded/tweaked later. Stick with your cable box or upgrade it with a PVR if you need recording.

              I run Win7 Media Center and if you set it up it plays everything. Dvds, blu-ray (need to buy that software though), mkvs and everything else you can think of. Here's the guide that helped me:

              http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1250607

              Good luck!



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