HTPC 7MC Configuration
I’m tracking this primary for my own reference, but it should be helpful to others as well. First, here’s my current Home Theater PC hardware config, rebuilt in May of 2012. (updated 03/02/2013)
- This was originally a Velocity Micro CGT™ but I’ve replaced most the internals
- 550 Watt Antec® TRUEPOWER TRIO Quiet Power Supply with 120mm Smart Fan
- Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD3H
- Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155
- Arctic Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 CPU Cooler
- 2 Samsung Electronics Extreme Low Voltage 30nm UDIMM (8GB total)
- Zotac ZONE (Fanless) GeForce GT430 1 GB 128-Bit DDR3 (700/1800MHz) PCI-Express Video Card – ZT-40601-20L
- Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe – 4-channel Internal Cable TV Tuner
- 1 Comcast CableCards
- Corsair Force Series GT 120 GB SATA 2.5-Inch SATA III Solid State Drive
- 4x Lite-On Blu-ray Burner
- Microsoft USB IR Receiver (disabled built in IRTrans case receiver)
- NETGEAR ReadyNAS Ultra 6 Plus (18TB)
- Hauppauge Colossus
- Pioneer Elite SC-07 Receiver
- Pioneer Elite PRO-141FD 60″ Plasma Monitor
- Cambridge Soundworks Speakers: 2 Henry Kloss Towers, 1 CenterStage, 4 Newton II S205 Surround, BaseCube 12
- Windows 7 Ultimate – courtesy of Microsoft Launch Party
- Windows Security Essentials – free anti-virus
- Silverlight and latest Windows Updates (auto install at 3AM)
- Arcsoft TMT 5.01 for playing Blue Ray Disks (broke down and purchased the upgrade)
- TCP-Z RDP hack to allow admin access without interrupting TV.
- vim – a text editor (showing my age..)
- Hulu Desktop . Replaced this with the AutoHotKey solution described here.
- Media Center Studio this is another must have for editing the MC menu to your liking.
- VirturalCloneDrive from Slysoft. Much nicer than daemontools and no adware to remove…
- Amazon Unbox – Until Comcast On-Demand drops it’s prices, this has become my new movie source. Note that since Comcast HD movies seldom include the DTS soundtrack, you don’t loose anything vs. downloading from Amazon, and we don’t watch enough movies to justify the Netflix monthly fee. Maybe that will change when the kids get older. They are typically $2-3 cheaper for a rental. They do make the PC download difficult to find. Seems they’d rather push the Roku player.
- MediaInfo - For diagnostic information on recordings and what-not. Unfortunately, this program doesn’t seem to handle wtv files very well, but seems to do a bit better if you convert to dvr-ms.
- Finally implemented the Hulu launch and resolution change using AutoHotKey and Media Center Studio. The problem is that the Hulu Flash stream performs much better at 1280×720 (otherwise known as 720p) and my default config is usually 1920×1080 (1080p). It was painfully simple. I hacked the script a little bit to make it work better on Windows 7.
- Installed DVRMS Toolbox 188.8.131.52, along with DTBAdd-in for Windows 7 and ShowAnalyzer for commercial skipping. Followed the directions at EngadgetHD and we are now automatically skipping commercials during playback. Definite bonus points on the Wife approval factor.
- So the upgrade of Arcsoft TMT to 184.108.40.206 completely broke ALL BD playback for me. I opened an issue with their support, but never got anywhere. They admitted there was a problem, but that was 3 months ago, and I still haven’t seen a fix. So I finally broke down and just bought Slysoft AnyDVD. The weak Euro and a 20% discount brought the price for the lifetime subscription down around $110. Now I can play ANY BD disk and I finally have full HD audio through the HDMI interface into the Pioneer receiver. More on this later.
See all the gory details on my Missing Remote Post: 67 Easy Steps to a Windows Media Center re-install.
Full blogger disclaimer: Microsoft gave me a free copy of Windows Ultimate, but did not ask me to blog.