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Thread: My first HTPC

  1. #61
    Joined
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    Houston
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    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by dna
    That would be nice. I'd like to see how it would look on a regular TV. The regular desktop is useable on a regular TV, but it's hard to read file names and such. Though I'd suppose that MCE would run all that through an app.
    Question: Does it just look for everything in "My Music" folder? How would it deal with files spread across 3 different HDDs? Can you point it to look at all of them? Does it go through and hunt up all media when you first run it? If so, would you have to manually add new media thereafter?
    I know your question is directed more towards WindowsMCE but I thought I would chime in on this one-
    Keep in mind, I don't use WindowsMCE and this isn't a complete answer to your question.

    I have two hard drives in my system-

    1. 80GB Seagate- 20 GB partitioned C:\ contains my programs only.
    Partition 2 (60GB D:\ ) is dedicated for the recording buffer while watching live TV.

    The buffer is dedicated for the sole purpose of the fact that this drive becomes a partition nightmare. Keeping it separate from everything else makes it easier to manage.

    2. 200GB Seagate (yes another Seagate- they are the most quiet drives in my opinion) is dedicated for NOTHING but all recorded shows and any drivers I download for this system.

    Depending on the program you are using- all recorded shows go to a folder that you specify. In my case, "M:\Shows"... "M" drive to represent "Movies."
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  2. #62
    Joined
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    Blaine, WA
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    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    OK, the svideo cable has an adapter to go to HDTV:
    Quote Originally Posted by Chaintech
    # Dual 400MHz RAMDACs Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh ratesˇVup to 2048x1536@85Hz


    # Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder support resolutions up to 1024x768 without the need for panning with built-in Macrovision copy protection
    # DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
    # Support for single-link DVI for compatibility with next generation flat panel displays with resolutions greater than 1600x1200 without the need for reduced blanking
    # Maximum single-link bandwidth: 165MHz


    This should get me to a larger resolution, right?

    My problems are several:
    I have a DVI input on the Samsung, but I use it for the Comcast cable box for HDTV programming. I get awesome pictures with it. I have a d sub VGA input as well for "PC" which I am using at present. It also has many other inputs:
    http://erms.samsungusa.com/customer/...=41&PROD_ID=-1
    I suppose if I follow those directions I can use the DVI input? I have a full pin (not sure how many, but no pins are missing as with most computer monitor DVI cables) cable. Perhaps I'll try that??????

    This allllll new stuff for me! Thanks so much for the help and, no you are definitely not hijacking anything here. This thread is to help me and others learn!
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  3. #63
    Joined
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    9,314

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenDiego
    I know your question is directed more towards WindowsMCE but I thought I would chime in on this one-
    Keep in mind, I don't use WindowsMCE and this isn't a complete answer to your question.

    I have two hard drives in my system-

    1. 80GB Seagate- 20 GB partitioned C:\ contains my programs only.
    Partition 2 (60GB D:\ ) is dedicated for the recording buffer while watching live TV.

    The buffer is dedicated for the sole purpose of the fact that this drive becomes a partition nightmare. Keeping it separate from everything else makes it easier to manage.

    2. 200GB Seagate (yes another Seagate- they are the most quiet drives in my opinion) is dedicated for NOTHING but all recorded shows and any drivers I download for this system.

    Depending on the program you are using- all recorded shows go to a folder that you specify. In my case, "M:\Shows"... "M" drive to represent "Movies."
    Good tip on the buffer.
    I guess the thing is right now I have 3 different HDDs, (2) 80GB and (1) 120GB. (And I have about 40 GB free between them all.) I'd rather not have to buy a new 300-400 GB HDD just to have all the files in one place, so I was wondering how it would react to the different partitions. The ultimate goal would be to not have to ever load a DVD again, just play the image/file stored on the HDD so you can imagine that storage goes fast.
    On a different tangent, does WIN MCE support touch screens? With dual outputs, that would make a great remote I'm thinking.

  4. #64
    Joined
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    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    Why not encode your DVD's using Nero Recode or even a program like DVD shrink to build an archive. Yes HD space goes quick.
    I record my shows in a full DVD quality- about 2.5GB/hour and that gives me around 50-60 hours of recording time on my 200GB Seagate.

    UPDATED: Current images show playback from an nVidia GeForce 6600GT AGP card.

    These pics show the desktop using just Windows XP Pro w/large icons & fonts. I'll probably update these photos because during the day, I kept getting reflections of my blinds. Night shots would show off the clarity a little better.

    The Hitachi 65S700 is capable of 1920x1080i resolutions which look good but I think 720p resolutions are sharper. And, since the 65S700 supports native 720p I try to take full advantage of it. I also can't forget that icons and text are fully ledgible in this resolution without any flicker like you get from interlaced resolutions (1080i)







    Last edited by DarrenDiego; 02-09-2005 at 04:22 PM. Reason: newer pictures
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  5. #65
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBob
    OK, the svideo cable has an adapter to go to HDTV:
    This should get me to a larger resolution, right?

    My problems are several:
    I have a DVI input on the Samsung, but I use it for the Comcast cable box for HDTV programming. I get awesome pictures with it. I have a d sub VGA input as well for "PC" which I am using at present. It also has many other inputs:
    http://erms.samsungusa.com/customer/...=41&PROD_ID=-1
    I suppose if I follow those directions I can use the DVI input? I have a full pin (not sure how many, but no pins are missing as with most computer monitor DVI cables) cable. Perhaps I'll try that??????

    This allllll new stuff for me! Thanks so much for the help and, no you are definitely not hijacking anything here. This thread is to help me and others learn!

    Wow...It looks like nVidia changed the S-Video standard which used to be a Max 800x600 resolution.
    If you can get full-screen 1920x720 resolution out of the S-Video connection then go for it!

    I'm not all that familiar with the new nVidia cards but S-video was never as sharp as using the VGA or DVI out but I could be wrong...Otherwise, I was going to suggest a nice transcoder to go from DVI to Component.

    I gotta get me an nVidia card...I want one.
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  6. #66
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    Blaine, WA
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    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    I got the card and the connector certainly isn't a standard Svideo. I'm going to try to get to it later tomorrow.
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  7. #67
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    I don't know much about the newer nVidia cards and their S-Video (TV) outs but I know when I switched out the S-Video connection on my ATI card to the DVI output- the picture clarity was like night and day.

    I know if I were you, with your bad-@$$ setup, I'd be DYING to get my hands on a "YPbPr" capable capture card. (Which are not a mainstream item yet)
    If your digital cable goes into your TV, you must have your HTPC on a separate video input?
    I take it you aren't using your HTPC to record shows? Is that your current delema- integration?

    Funny thing about HTPC's-
    After building my HTPC, I had no use for my DVD player (gave it to the kids) and I was able to scrap a lot of audio cables since the Abit NF-7S motherboard has an optical (SPDIF) output.
    All input goes to the HTPC- Audio goes to the receiver, Video goes to the TV.

    Ultimately, I would like to bring one of my DirecTV tuners in from storage to use as a second receiver so I can record two shows at once if I need to and I wonder if I can use DVI for the main while hooking up the S-Video to use for Picture-In-Picture. (it's a never ending upgrade isn't it?)

    Do keep me posted on your video card- I'm on the verge of picking up a new playback card and the nVidia NVDVD codecs are supposed to be very good!
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  8. #68
    Joined
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    Blaine, WA
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    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    "YPbPr" capable is exactly what the 'dongle is. I has a standard Svideo out as well. I'm getting several other PCs going upstairs atm, tomorrow I'll tackle the HTPC!
    The Samsung TV has many video inputs! I think I'll stick to the "YPbPr" connector for now and leave the digital cable box hooked up via the DVI. The resolution is really asounding!
    I have a Happauge 500 twin tuner PCI card now and it works flawlessly, so now I am able to record 2 shows at the same time.
    I have 2 EWonder PCI cards by ATI that I cannot use now (need one??) but this has been a steep learning curve!
    Previously I had severe stuttering and pixelation on playback from both recorded and live TV through the ATI 9800 XT card as well ass the EHome tuner cards.. I removed either and still got the problem, so they both went. Hence the new motherboard with PCIex video card.

    More tomorrow!
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  9. #69
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    What Chaintech nVidia card did you go with?

    Last I remember you talking about this one http://www.chaintech.com.tw/tw/eng/n...C/SV62TC-E.htm

    But apparently you ended up getting a 6600 one...
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  10. #70
    Joined
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    Location
    Blaine, WA
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    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenDiego
    What Chaintech nVidia card did you go with?

    Last I remember you talking about this one http://www.chaintech.com.tw/tw/eng/n...C/SV62TC-E.htm

    But apparently you ended up getting a 6600 one...
    I have both! I got much better scores woith the 6600 (almost double in Aquamark. I had to be gone this weekend for volunteer training so no time to play!

    More later!
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  11. #71
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBob
    I have both! I got much better scores woith the 6600 (almost double in Aquamark. I had to be gone this weekend for volunteer training so no time to play!

    More later!
    I went ahead and picked up a 6600GT video card w/dual DVI out. Compared to my ATI 9600XT video card- picture quality is not as sharp but far surpasses the ATI in playback watchability. Video is *NOT* choppy and motion panning is nice and smooth. Needless to say, Powerstrip is not really needed with this card and built in features fit the desktop to my TV with ease.

    The card is a little on the noisy side but once placed inside my case- it got much quieter. I have not installed Service Pack 2 yet because everything is playing and working NICELY and at this point I do not want to have to perform an install of DirectX 9.0 "quartz.dll" in safe mode to fix the DirectX 9.0c VMR9 bug.

    I went to nVidia's website to download their DVD Decoder- HIGHLY recommended. Video looks crisp using it compared to other decoders I've compared it to. I just hope I can keep this decoder for free after spending money on a new nVidia card but that's a feat in itself.

    It's been a while since I've been completely happy with the quality of playback on my HTPC other than when I pop a DVD into my system...In fact, I have yet to try a DVD. That's how new this card is.

    Installation of this card was definintely without a hitch...I couldn't be happier.

    I'll post more on this later...Right now, I'm enjoying some glitch free TV watching!
    Last edited by DarrenDiego; 01-31-2005 at 10:40 PM.
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  12. #72
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    An update on the nVidia GeForce 6600GT AGP card-

    After some tweaking of color settings and other parameters I have come to the conclusion that this video card is the best thing to happen to my HTPC since I built it. Colors are vibrant (they were too vibrant at first- had to turn down the saturation levels) and the picture is VERY crisp. I'm not using a HDTV signal from my direcTV box although it looks like it is.
    Before, with my ATI and Matrox cards- I got good picture but any camera pans or high motion scenes such as quick camera movements would give me a headache. The motion was blurry and tickers such as stock quotes were not very readable due to poor de-interlacing of signal.

    The 6600GT card de-interlaces VERY well and DVD's have never looked better. This video card paired up with nVidia's SoundStorm audio chip gives me a home theater experience like no other.

    My *ONLY* gripe is the noise produced by the 6600's fan. I'm using an Antec Overture case which was designed to cut down on noise but it's still audible from across the room and if it wasn't for a good sound system, it just might be a nuisance. Other than that, I give nVidia's new GeForce 6 series cards for home theater a THUMBS UP!
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  13. #73
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Blaine, WA
    Age
    66
    Posts
    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    Great news! I still haven't gotten a chance to get to it man! My main PC died suddenly and I've been busy with other honey dooos.
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  14. #74
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    303

    Re: My first HTPC

    UncleBob,

    I figured you can assist me in this area- My 6600GT card works great, BUT!...

    The fan noise is quite loud. Not loud enough to overpower when watching/recording TV but loud enough to hear from across the room when TV is not being watched.
    Are you experiencing this same issue with your 6600GT?

    This may or may not be a solution (30dB fan) but it's one thing I have considered for now-
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...110-107&depa=0
    http://www.newegg.com/app/Showimage.asp?style=album

    You have more experience than I do in building computers- looking for some advice.

    Thanks!

    P.S. If you are using the nVidia DVD Decoder (if not- GET IT!!) and you would rather use something *OTHER* than Windows Media Player to watch DVD's, someone turned me on to a program called Theater Tek DVD.

    http://www.theatertek.com

    It takes advantage of the nVidia decoder, was built to work with nVidia based cards, uses keyboard commands to control it, has an excellent GUI, and can be programmed to work in conjuntion with your remote control.
    This DVD player also allows you to route out via S/PDIF instead of using L/R RCA audio jacks.
    From the looks of your HTPC setup and the motherboard you currently have, if your Receiver has an optical in- You should use your motherboard's S/PDIF for your audio output if you aren't already!
    Last edited by DarrenDiego; 02-09-2005 at 03:57 PM. Reason: forgot to add something
    Darren E
    HTPC
    Athlon XP3000+ | 1GB PC3200 | Abit NF7-S 2.0 | 80GB Seagate | 200GB Seagate | Antec Overature Silent Case | PNY 6600GT DVI | Lite-On SK7551 IR Keyboard w/Pointing Device | Sony RM-AV2500 Remote | 2 Hauppauge PVR-150 | 2 DirecTV D10 | Hitachi 65S700 | Beyond TV 4.0
    Notebook
    Sager 4750- AMD64 3200 | 80GB HDD | 17"WSXGA | 1GB Ram
    A/V Authoring
    Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus | Lite-On DVD | Antec 900 Case | Delta 66 Audio Card | Intel E6600 | 2 GB G-Skill RAM | eVGA 8800GTS 320MB | Seagate 500/500/400 GB HDD | ViewSonic 20" Q20wb

  15. #75
    Joined
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Cape Cod, MA
    Age
    62
    Posts
    11,621

    Re: My first HTPC

    I have used Theatertek for quite awhile now, the best DVD software out there IMHO. They also upgrade it often, and come out with bug fixes, etc as neccesary.

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