The Ruffled Crow

Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things

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My Digital Evolution – Killing the Cable – Part 4

[Part 1 – the idea][part 2 – the software][part 3 – the hardware][part 5 – epilogue]

Part 4 – The Build

As builds go it was amazingly easy. I might even say it went swimmingly. Everything slammed in easy (except for the slight confusion when I used the wrong hard drive screws and tore a rubber grommet. fortunately the case came with an extra), powered right up and installed without a hitch. It was kinda creepy, really…

Inescapable Monty Python referenceI’ve built literally thousands of machines; both my own and for a local computer store, and the one thing I’ve never done was take pictures of it. I’d resolved to pictorially document this epic assembly, but when in the throes…. Well… Here is a picture of a Larch:

As noted in my last post (part 3), as HTPCs go it’s pretty standard hardware so if you need a pictorial walk-through on assembly you can find literally hundreds of posts, and even videos, that will help you hobble through the process. Read more of this post

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My Digital Evolution – Killing the Cable – Part 3

[part 1 – the why] [part 2 – the software][part 4 – the build][part 5 – epilogue]

Part 3: The Hardware

After spending the last couple weeks working with the various software I’ll be using on my HTPC (Home Theater PC) I’ve come to the conclusion that there probably isn’t one overarching, integrated package that’ll do everything I want. That said, the WAF (Wife Acceptability Factor) should still be high if I set it up right. More on that when I get everything onto the 10-foot interface.

Perhaps even more important than the software will be the hardware. I could have the most sophisticated and beautious interface that catalogued everything and could even anticipate my next program choice (how did it know I wanted to watch Beach Babe Sumo Wrestling?), but if it stutters, buffers, and has poor quality video and audio then what’s the point?

Fortunately hardware capable of doing high end video is pretty much the norm these days and, as hardware has a tendancy to become, it’s cheap.

As noted in an earlier part to this series, I could go super cheap and get a netbook or the like, but I’ve decided to build my own. Having been a computer builder professionally and built all my systems for 20 years one would think that this was a no-brainer, however I really would’ve preferred to let someone else do the work as I’ve been out of the biz for a few years (an eon in computer time) and it is really kind of a pain in the butt.

Using 6 months of cable tv as a cost benchmark, around $750, let’s look at what we can cobble together.

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