Posts Categorised: Media PC Hardware

0True home cinema for a grand

I’ve long had a “home cinema” setup with a fairly budget HTPC, a 50″ plasma TV, and a 4.1 sur­round sys­tem, but when I moved house a year ago I found I no longer had a place in the main fam­ily room to fit the 50″ TV, so had to revert back to the old Sam­sung 32″ 720p CRT that I bought in around 2006. The room has a large bay win­dow with a little recess per­fect for fit­ting a screen, so a plan was born for true home cinema
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2Blackgold BGT3630 LogoProblem with BlackGold 36xx TV Cards

I’ve been hav­ing on-off issues for a while with my TV-Serv­er.  I run DVBLink on top of Win­dows Serv­er which allows me to share my TV sig­nals to all my PCs, Android phones, PS3, Xbox and oth­er DLNA devices.  How­ever, I’ve had an issue where seem­ingly at ran­dom I’ve lost the abil­ity to tune some chan­nels.  Ini­tially I put this down to DVBLink, but after extens­ive test­ing it appears the prob­lem is with the TV cards.  Once the cards have lost tune this seems to last for a while in DVBLink, maybe it wouldn’t have the same effect in a straight Win­dows Media Cen­ter setup.

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0BlackGold BGT3600 DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 tunerBlackgold 3600: The new ultimate TV Card

I’ve recently moved house, but now that I’ve restored inter­net access (always the first pri­or­ity) I’ve been tasked with fully sort­ing out TV in the house.  The pre­vi­ous setup isn’t bad — with a Media Serv­er (includ­ing TV cards) tucked away, and a HTPC in the lounge.  These both run Media Cen­ter and DVBLink.  This way I can also get TV on my desktop PC and laptop.  In the near future I’ll be build­ing anoth­er HTPC for the bed­room TV so we can watch recor­ded pro­grammes in bed.  All these poten­tial record­ings and watch­ing are bey­ond the cap­ab­il­ity of my cur­rent tuner setup — a Black­Gold BGT3620 and a Compro S350.  … Read Full Art­icle

0AMD Vision Fusion Premium LogoBrazosTweaker: AMD Brazos E350 tweaker

As reg­u­lar read­ers will know, my main HTPC is cur­rently based on an AMD Brazos E350.  I’d like to say a quick thanks to Semi­Ac­cur­ate for their recent art­icle high­light­ing the excel­lent BrazosTweak­er by Sven Wit­tek.  This tool (and its sib­ling FusionT­weak­er) enable the tweak­ing of P-States (the voltage in low power mode) of Brazos and Llano chips, just like K10Stat, Phe­nomMs­rTweak­er, RMC­lock, Crys­talCPUID and oth­ers have done in the past.  To quote Semi­Ac­cur­ate, “the main pur­pose of both these tools is to modi­fy the voltages and clock dividers of the built-in P-States on these chips.”

The FusionT­weak­er util­ity is still some­what buggy by all reports, but BrazosTweak­er seems reli­able to me.  I highly recom­mend read­ing the Semi­Ac­cur­ate art­icle and then grabbing the tool if you have a Brazos HTPC, or laptop.

0Motorola NYXBoard QWERTY RemoteLooking beyond the boxee remote-keyboard

For a long time I’ve been search­ing for the ideal HTPC remote con­trol.  I want a fairly stand­ard remote, but with a QWERTY key­board on the back, or inside a flip/slide out part.  I’ve been track­ing the options in an art­icle from Jan-2010, and even­tu­ally ordered myself a Boxee remote a few months back.  The boxee is an excel­lent wire­less key­board, but unfor­tu­nately, boxee have opted to go the “Apple route” (aka dumbed down) on the non-qwerty side.  There are a total of 7 but­tons, non of which is a power but­ton.  There is also no “back up” type but­ton.  This makes the boxee pretty use­less for Media Cen­ter 7.… Read Full Art­icle

0DVB LogicPlanning a new networked home media setup

In the com­ing months I will be buy­ing a new prop­erty, and to go with my new home, I’ve been read­ing up lots on how I might integ­rate a new home media setup.  In recent months sev­er­al excit­ing new options have become avail­able, which finally makes the sort of setup I have always desired a real pos­sib­il­ity.… Read Full Art­icle

0Antec Fusion Remote HTPC Case LogoComparison of HTPC GPU’s

Anandtech has an excel­lent art­icle com­par­ing 4 bot­tom end GPU’s for HTPC’s.  The art­icle is extens­ive and does a good job of explain­ing issues of fram­er­ate tim­ing, cadence detec­tion, tele­cin­ing and pull­down as well as com­par­ing the 4 GPU’s.  As we don’t believe in rein­vent­ing the wheel — we recom­mend any­one build­ing a HTPC setup read the art­icle before set­ting out.