Computer / TV - advise in family room

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  #1  
Old 12-29-08, 10:45 PM
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Question Computer / TV - advise in family room

Any advise on the following appreciated. Would like to maybe build new computer in family room. Have big DLP screen in that room now. One shared computer upstairs (built myself but 5 years old, would like to upgrade whenever not big deal) Would like to integrate a computer in the area between kitchen/family room, overlooking family room on peninsula, not laptop, desktop with only screen/keyboard/mouse out (case in cabinet) Would be nice to have access to 2nd pc in the "busy" area of the house. Would be intersted in building this pc, had thoughts of media center type pc inside the tv cabinet and using dlp for monitor, have gone away from that. I would like separate pc screen. I saw advertising for new HP touch screen, looks interesting , but maybe too new (bugs) and pricey. I have access to hard wire to all upstairs pc components (cable,printer,etc)and family room TV. In building this system, do I want to think about hooking up to the TV for media? Any ideas on what an ultimate tv/pc combo set up would be?
 
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Old 12-29-08, 11:16 PM
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Do you have an Xbox? If one of those is already plugged into the main tv then you can use it as a "media extender" and take care of that aspect easily on the network. I have heard of several people who do this but I haven't done it myself.
 
  #3  
Old 12-30-08, 12:38 AM
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I hooked up a Mac Mini for the living room where you can use it as a computer, music and video media device.

You can hook up blue tooth keyboard and mouse or a usb wireless device (keyboard/mouse) so no wires are necessary. Networking to any PC or Mac is easy as it has WiFi and/or ethernet connector. Use the output of the computer to conect from DVI to hdmi or composite or s-video. All works very nicely and it can sit behind your TV out of the way (small). The audio output simply connects to your stereo system. Another nice feature is that you have the Apple remote which you can use with several programs for your media experience.

If you don't want to use a Mac, then with a PC make sure that you have a video card that supports the various outputs for your T.V. (like an ATI All In Wonder Card).
The audio from your sound card would connect to your stereo. Unless you have a bluetooth device installed, then you would have to use a wired keyboard & mouse.
There you can use your windows media player for music and playback of some videos (wmv). Depending on your hardware, you may get a usb remote.

So there's a couple of suggestions. My first pick would be the Mac as it is small, and quite versitile.
 
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Old 12-30-08, 04:56 AM
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Most new PC's will do

I recommend a PC with Windows Media Center (Vista or XP). If you get a video card with DVI out you can buy a DVI->HDMI cable to hook up to your Hi-Def. Some other alternatives Windows Media Center are:

XBMC Media Center
MEDIAPORTAL - free media center - Home
 
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Old 12-30-08, 10:32 PM
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RBwest, Mac mini? Will look into that. Do you also own a pc? Are they compatable with each other, swapping files, using same printers, ethernet router, and so forth?
 
  #6  
Old 12-31-08, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rainman815 View Post
RBwest, Mac mini? Will look into that. Do you also own a pc? Are they compatable with each other, swapping files, using same printers, ethernet router, and so forth?
Yes I have both the Mac and PC. I am able to network just fine thru my router. The nice thing about the Mac line is that you can have an all in one computer. Using virtual software (Parallels or VMWare), you can also have any other OS like XP running at the same time while you are listening to music on the Mac side (iTunes). Video wise, on the Mac side, programs like Plex, VLC work great for all video formats. You can also use Front Row which is standard on any Mac. That is your media center for viewing as well as listening. There are many programs for free that work great for the applications that you want to do. I would suggest that if you are interested in the Mac line, visit your local Apple store, ask questions, and play around with the various product line.
 
  #7  
Old 12-31-08, 02:29 PM
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Did you want to use your TV as a monitor or just be able to view videos and such that you have on your PC on your tv?

If you are doing the latter, and since you mentioned running hardlines, I use a SageTV media extender and have been very happy with it. Just needs cat5 from pc to extender or extnder to the router, whichever is closer/easier.

Or if you wanted to use the TV as a monitor, you will be happiest with a nicer graphics card to power it all up.
 
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