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Posted: 1/30/2011 1:45:03 PM EDT
Alright, here's the setup. Our house has a network, but the router and the modem are in the master bedroom. I have my TV and computer in my room (one location).

I'd like to get a miniPC (like this Zotac Zbox) and connect to the HDTV with an HDMI. This part I understand clearly. This neat little toy does not have sufficient room for the 4x 2TB HDD setup I'd like (note: this is not over kill), so I'm looking into NAS'. I've never really done networking, so I'm not sure how this works. I suppose a switch connecting the miniPC, the NAS and the computer would work? Or can I wire the computer directly to the miniPC with an ethernet cord? I don't want any of the data available on the network, only my PC and the HTPC.

Also, what is the best program to run a HTPC with? I'd like to use Win7, so no MythTV.

Oh, feel free to post your setups if you want.
Link Posted: 1/30/2011 2:09:34 PM EDT
I've been using an HTPC for about 6 years. I tested all the different software programs before settling on one. For me Sage TV was the best. I recommend you try it out.

One thing to consider is if you will be using the HTPC to record TV or if you are just interested in using the HTPC to playback media. If your interested in recording TV then Sage TV hands down is the best PVR software. Since your looking at the Zotac and it doesn't have a TV tuner I assume your not interested in recording TV.

Assuming that you're just interested in playback I would stay away from those Zotac Ion setups. I've read that they might not have the horse power to run buttery smooth if you don't have the proper codec. Not all videos are encoded properly so if someone else fucks up you want to make sure that you have enough raw computer power to playback 1080p using software rendering.

One of the neat things about Sage is that you can setup a server anywhere in your house and just use extenders to playback in any room. It also has a nice clean interface that looks really professional.

Check out the screenshots

Here are their awesome extenders HD Theater. Keep in mind you can just buy the extender and plug it into your network to get all your media.

I personally use this case which can support full size PC cards. Antec Case. I got mine for $40 in silver. Then I use this turner to capture HDTV from my cable provider.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll try to help.

Link Posted: 1/30/2011 2:11:40 PM EDT
I have a 6 bay NAS (Netgear ReadyNAS) currently with 4 2TB drives connected directly to the gigabit router in my basement. In my living room I have a HTPC running windows 7, for software I just use windows media center (comes with windows 7), the HTPC records standard definition programs from cable tv to the NAS and I have a ceton infinitv cablecard tuner on order which will allow 4 HD streams of encrypted channels to be viewed/recorded. For other TVs in the house I have media center extenders that allow me to watch any programs/photos/music on the NAS.

I don't understand why you would want to connect the NAS directly to the HTPC instead of just having both on your home network (so the media can be viewed by any PC on the network and the NAS can be used as a backup device for your main PC.)
Link Posted: 1/30/2011 2:16:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MarkNH:
I have a 6 bay NAS (Netgear ReadyNAS) currently with 4 2TB drives connected directly to the gigabit router in my basement. In my living room I have a HTPC running windows 7, for software I just use windows media center (comes with windows 7), the HTPC records standard definition programs from cable tv to the NAS and I have a ceton infinitv cablecard tuner on order which will allow 4 HD streams of encrypted channels to be viewed/recorded. For other TVs in the house I have media center extenders that allow me to watch any programs/photos/music on the NAS.

I don't understand why you would want to connect the NAS directly to the HTPC instead of just having both on your home network (so the media can be viewed by any PC on the network and the NAS can be used as a backup device for your main PC.)


I don't much care for anyone else having access to my data. Which is why up until this point, I've just ran a DVI to HDMI cord from my PC to my TV. I finally ran out of space, now I must expand.

Is WMC really clean and streamlined enough for sitting on a couch/bed and just looking through selections to watch? I've never really bothered to inspect it.

ETA: Do not care for watching normal TV.
Link Posted: 1/30/2011 3:13:37 PM EDT
I've used WMC with an XBOX360 running as an extender in the other room and it really is smooth enough to just sit on the couch and surf netflix or watch your movies on your HDD from it.
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