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I need a Windows Media Center PC. It should have:

  • HDMI output
  • small form factor
  • Be able to handle a TV tuner that can decode clear QAM (i get basic cable w/o a decoder box and i get all the local channels in HD for free)
  • It will be in the living room, so it should be small, quiet and power efficient
  • shouldn't cost more than a HD Tivo box.

Any suggestions for vendors, sites I should look at?

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closed as off-topic by Olli, Tog, Heptite, random Feb 12 at 21:46

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking for hardware shopping recommendations are off-topic because they are often relevant only to the question author at the time the question was asked and tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead of asking what to buy, try asking how to find out what suits your needs." – Tog, Heptite, random
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
This is similar question: superuser.com/questions/4497/quiet-media-center-pc –  Troggy Sep 25 '09 at 17:58
    
@Troggy Agreed. –  alex Sep 25 '09 at 18:00
    
And this should be CW. –  alex Sep 25 '09 at 18:20
    
It's close. This one is a little more specific (HDMI, TV tuner) so I'm leaning towards keep. –  hyperslug Sep 25 '09 at 18:20
    
Then this should just be made a CW. It's clearly subjective. –  alex Sep 25 '09 at 18:27

5 Answers 5

Build one. Use Newegg to price it out. You'll need (roughly):

  • Case (Micro ATX)
  • CPU
  • RAM
  • Micro ATX Motherboard (with onboard HDMI or a video card with HDMI)
  • Tuner card with QAM
  • DVD ROM/Blu Ray ROM (if you indend to use it for movies)
  • Any other accessories that you want

Feel free to ask about specific parts in the comments of this answer, I'm happy to assist more.

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Thanks for the info. I'm a bit intimidated by assembling my own PC. Not sure what specific components to get and I'll probably assemble them incorrectly and blow up the thing. :-) –  Sajee Sep 25 '09 at 18:41
    
I see what you mean. But to get the price down, building is the way to go. Consult the net, or a friend for hands on help. It's a great learning experience to build a PC. –  th3dude Sep 25 '09 at 18:56
    
Don't forget to buy a legal license of Windows :P –  Ben S Sep 25 '09 at 19:26
    
@Ben - I was going to mention this, but I figured one could also go the Linux route, but I'm not sure about Linux as a media center, I'm sure it's fine though. –  th3dude Sep 25 '09 at 19:44
    
@thedude19: mythtv works pretty well from what i hear. there's even a mythtv+ubuntu distro (mythbuntu): mythbuntu.org –  quack quixote Oct 17 '09 at 2:00

this one looks like its going to be a pretty strong contender:

The ASRock ION 330 BD Nettop PC combines a low power dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor with NVIDIA’s ION GPU with boast of 1080p HD video served up via HDMI. The 1.6GHz dual cores don’t consume a lot of power, and yet are beefy enough to deliver 1080p video, from digital files or via Bluray. 1080P high definition video along with 7.1 surround sound and support for DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.2 – small and mighty indeed.

it's lacking the TV tuner but than can be helped with a USB Tuner.

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Nicely balanced spec, I'd be very tempted by this if I was replacing my current media center (a big old box of a thing). –  Lunatik Dec 11 '09 at 8:22

The Acer Revo does the job for me. It does not have a TV tuner, but if you are okay with Windows Media Center and acquire all your videos through other means, this is perfect. It is small and fast (not to mention really quiet). You'll need something like CoreAVC to decode 1080p h.264 video, otherwise it would lag.

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The ASRock suggestion (above) kills this suggestion... –  djangofan Dec 2 '09 at 1:50
    
@MTSoul, the link you've posted is actually for the Asus EeeBOX. @djangofan the Revo and ASRock ION are actually very similar, see this comparison for details: home4film.com/questions/738 –  Rich Seller Jan 14 '10 at 13:44

I just got a Lenovo Q700. HDMI, built in tuner (clear qam), 600gb drive, 4gb ram. pretty nice. Lower end video card (intel), so I dont think it can do 1080p, but for $450-$500, not a bad deal at all.

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Dell Zino ($250-$350)+ HDHomeRun from Silicon Dust ($150?)

Should handle 1080p (no one broadcasts in 1080p so definately it will handel 1080i)

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The Dell Zino ( dellzinohd.com ) , costing about $1100 for a media center configuration, is the way to go. It can have a internal BlueRay, radeon hd 4330 512mb, AMD dual core X26850e 1.8ghz, 6gb ram, 1TB drive, internal Wifi-N, and also –  djangofan Dec 2 '09 at 2:10

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