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Part II: Home Entertainment > Build a Windows-Based Home Theater PC

Chapter 7. Build a Windows-Based Home Theater PC

What You Need
  • A PC with an available PCI slot (a complete list of the components I used is available in Exhibit A)

  • A TV tuner card

  • Windows XP CDs

  • An Internet connection (note that downloading the components will take a very long time if your connection is provided by a telephone modem)

For a list of specific parts used in this project, refer to Exhibit A at the end of this chapter.

In 1997, Mike Ramsey and Jim Barton came up with a concept that would forever change the way people interacted with their televisions. The product of their vision, TiVo, created an entirely new category of electronic appliances called personal video recorders, or PVRs. These devices allow you to automatically record your favorite television shows without having to program the exact time and date and without using videotapes. You can even pause live TV if you get a phone call during you favorite show, or rewind if you missed something.

But why stop there? TiVo was built using standard computer hardware, so it stands to reason that you could build your own from scratch. If you did build your own PVR, you could use it for things that computers are meant to do, such as playing music and games. It would also be nice to load video from your camera and view your digital pictures. Add these features to your PVR and you've got a home theater PC, or HTPC. This project, conceptualized in Figure 7-1, will show you how to create your own HTPC with some special features that are not even available from TiVo, ReplayTV, or Microsoft.

Figure 7-1. Conceptual diagram of the main HTPC components.



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