HTPC Alternative with Blu-Ray

vinegarjoe

Distinguished
May 9, 2007
2
0
18,510
0
Hi all,

I’m looking to replace my HTPC that recently died. It was an old gaming rig built around an intel e8400 cpu.

What I have:
High end gaming desktop that could double as a media server

Leftover HTPC Components
ATX Power Supply
HDDs
Blu-Ray burner (Not a slim drive)
mini tower case
tv tuner card
Pioneer VSX-D510 receiver (5.1 no HDMI support)
720p Epson Projector

What I want to do:
Audio quality is very important to me and I want to be able to maintain at least 5.1 playback on my older system which has no HDMI connectivity. I will probably upgrade the receiver down the road but not anytime soon. I’d also consider getting a highend sound card if it really makes that much difference. My receiver has optical, and analogue 5.1 inputs. I’ve been using the 5.1 analogue which I think is the only hope I have of getting lossless audio (PCM) blu-ray playback. I play a lot of Blu-Rays and DVDs, use Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Pandora, Spotify. I have ripped some of my DVDs but do all of that lossless as I hate compression artifacts.
As for video quality my current projector is a 720p Epson. I don’t care about 3D. But will likely upgrade to a 4k projector when they become affordable in a few years.
If I rebuild the htpc I’ve pretty much decided my best bet is to get an AMD a6-5400k APU. I can get the ram, mobo, and cpu for about $200. If I get fancy I can throw a ssd, and nicer htpc case for another $120 and then can upgrade the sound card later for another $150-200. Price ranging from $200 for the basic to $550 with all the bells and whistles.
Now my question, are there any good alternatives to this? Most Smart Blu-Ray are HDMI only connectors for audio (unless you pay $200) which I might as well rebuild the HTPC for that. Raspberry Pi has the same problem. I hate apple so that’s a no go—bunch of idiots for saying that disc media is dead.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
buying a soundcard and having a receiver is double dipping in the money pot. if you used spdif (or hdmi in the future) the receiver would do the sound processing instead of a sound card. no need to even have a soundcard then. (since onboard spdif optical out works for this). or... if you used hdmi in the future you can output the sound data on the hdmi for the receiver to process (this is what i do).

spdif optical cannot handle uncompressed 5.1 audio (but it can handle 2.1) so there may be a bit of quality lost however it may still be better than having a cheap soundcard and analog (can get noise). honestly the best is perhaps to use hdmi and get a receiver which can handle it however you do not want to go that route quite yet. if however you do use high quality audio cables... analog might be better until you go hdmi. i wouldnt spend $150-200 on a soundcard though. i would put that money towards a receiver which is going to bring you up to date in tech instead of spending $200 now then $200-500 a year down the line.

there are no commercial solutions which can do everything that a htpc can do. something like a roku is great for browsing channels, something like the sony streaming player supports a keyboard but has a more limited channel list. a smart blueray player or even a ps3 adds dvd/br/cd support however is limited when it comes to streaming channels. while using a htpc is not as easy as some of the other devices with nice GUI menus and a remote it allows for the most options.

i use a tower pc for most of my media needs. i have it hooked up to my receiver via a dvi-to-hdmi cable (since my gtx470 doesnt have hdmi) and it works great. i do have onboard sound but it is not used and i do not have a soundcard. i stream netflix, crunchyroll, youtube, tunein radio (3x better than pandora is by the way), play br/dvd/cd, mp3, etcetera. i do have a ps3 which i prefer for dvd/br playback (remote control is nice when sitting back from the keyboard) but it is quite limited when it comes to anything else media related.

oh and ssd is completely unneccessary for the system. it will boot up faster but you dont want to store anything on it besides the os since price per gb ratings are horrible for ssd.
----

so there are my thoughts.

i would use the soundcard money to upgrade your receiver sooner than later and get a video card with sound out via dvi or native hdmi support.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
buying a soundcard and having a receiver is double dipping in the money pot. if you used spdif (or hdmi in the future) the receiver would do the sound processing instead of a sound card. no need to even have a soundcard then. (since onboard spdif optical out works for this). or... if you used hdmi in the future you can output the sound data on the hdmi for the receiver to process (this is what i do).

spdif optical cannot handle uncompressed 5.1 audio (but it can handle 2.1) so there may be a bit of quality lost however it may still be better than having a cheap soundcard and analog (can get noise). honestly the best is perhaps to use hdmi and get a receiver which can handle it however you do not want to go that route quite yet. if however you do use high quality audio cables... analog might be better until you go hdmi. i wouldnt spend $150-200 on a soundcard though. i would put that money towards a receiver which is going to bring you up to date in tech instead of spending $200 now then $200-500 a year down the line.

there are no commercial solutions which can do everything that a htpc can do. something like a roku is great for browsing channels, something like the sony streaming player supports a keyboard but has a more limited channel list. a smart blueray player or even a ps3 adds dvd/br/cd support however is limited when it comes to streaming channels. while using a htpc is not as easy as some of the other devices with nice GUI menus and a remote it allows for the most options.

i use a tower pc for most of my media needs. i have it hooked up to my receiver via a dvi-to-hdmi cable (since my gtx470 doesnt have hdmi) and it works great. i do have onboard sound but it is not used and i do not have a soundcard. i stream netflix, crunchyroll, youtube, tunein radio (3x better than pandora is by the way), play br/dvd/cd, mp3, etcetera. i do have a ps3 which i prefer for dvd/br playback (remote control is nice when sitting back from the keyboard) but it is quite limited when it comes to anything else media related.

oh and ssd is completely unneccessary for the system. it will boot up faster but you dont want to store anything on it besides the os since price per gb ratings are horrible for ssd.
----

so there are my thoughts.

i would use the soundcard money to upgrade your receiver sooner than later and get a video card with sound out via dvi or native hdmi support.
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
I'd have to agree with ssddx in that the HTPC is the most versatile component in a home theater set up. I use mine for watching cable TV (Comcast and Ceton InfiniTV4 PCI-E card), DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, listening to my music collection, etc... I use this Microsoft MCE Remote Control for controlling the system and this Microsoft Wireless MCE Keyboard for logging in, system updates, and screen swaps (between my HDTV and projector).

-Wolf sends
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
W Streaming Video & TVs 5
E Streaming Video & TVs 4
Thines_1 Streaming Video & TVs 4
C Streaming Video & TVs 2
Z Streaming Video & TVs 1
L Streaming Video & TVs 2
C Streaming Video & TVs 3
A Streaming Video & TVs 1
G Streaming Video & TVs 3
A Streaming Video & TVs 1
spirallingspiral Streaming Video & TVs 7
I Streaming Video & TVs 7
ToineF Streaming Video & TVs 2
K Streaming Video & TVs 7
G Streaming Video & TVs 1
G Streaming Video & TVs 1
G Streaming Video & TVs 3
G Streaming Video & TVs 26
G Streaming Video & TVs 6
G Streaming Video & TVs 33

ASK THE COMMUNITY