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How To: Set Up A Tiny HTPC Anywhere
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With the audio upgraded, it’s time to talk speakers. Klipsch’s ProMedia 2.1 wireless speaker set has its own amplifier as well as two satellite speakers and a subwoofer. There are no wires from the PC to the speakers because it sets up a cable-free link via a USB transmitter.

With the PC still playing the radio station, I put the subwoofer next to my couch, plug it into an AC outlet plug and turn it on. It can go anywhere in the room that’s convenient, but it needs to be within 30 feet of the transmitter.

Next, I connect the wires from the two satellite speakers to the subwoofer. After plugging the included adapter into a free USB port on the PC, I press the adapter’s “V” button. Music comes out immediately and it sounds fantastic: clear, rich and very loud—just the way I like it.

Finally, I spend a few minutes moving the speakers around and adjusting the balance between the subwoofer and the satellites with the knob in front of the satellites. I put them at each end of the couch at about shoulder level and they sounded great, but it is a matter of trial and error. Pick a spot, listen; move them and try again.

 

Finally, I give the system the crank-it-up test by turning the volume to 10; too bad it doesn’t have a setting for 11.

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  • 0 Hide
    pletopia , December 4, 2009 6:31 PM
    interesting setup .. however i have one problem with this setup (as with most htpc-based dvr setups) that i'm trying to solve myself but haven't been able to do so

    i really want to setup a dvr for myself .. but i really want it to be to record hdtv channels also .. currently my setup doesn't have a cable box but i get local HD channels from my cable directly within my tv .. if this is all that i could record .. it would be a start .. but ideally i would also want to be able to record non-premium (TNT, ESPN, etc) cable channels too

    furthermore, if the dvr software could also directly encode to a better codec to optimize space usage .. that would be great too :) 
    i think 2gb for a 720p 1 hour show would be good .. i don't mind getting a "more powerful" cpu to handle this if it could be done on the fly (w/ time-shifting capabilities too)

    as you can see i have LOTS of demands for my htpc dvr solution .. hence why i haven't been able to build one yet
  • 0 Hide
    pletopia , December 4, 2009 6:34 PM
    clarification: i get local HD without a box .. if i need to i would get a box/cablecard from comcast (if needed) to be able to record the non-local HD channels
  • 0 Hide
    thackstonns , December 4, 2009 8:14 PM
    So you took an overly expensive all in one added a bunch of usb crap to it and then used it as a dvr. 900 for the pc plus 500 at least for the crap. I can build a nice system for 1400 bucks and have a bigger monitor to watch it on. plus have hdmi ports to hook up the xbox 360 to. Plus descrete graphics bigger hard drives. Dont care about blue ray burner. Thats what 79 dollar 1tb hard drives are 4. I probably would even have enough left over to throw a decent party.
  • 1 Hide
    touchdowntexas13 , December 4, 2009 8:34 PM
    thackstonnsSo you took an overly expensive all in one added a bunch of usb crap to it and then used it as a dvr. 900 for the pc plus 500 at least for the crap. I can build a nice system for 1400 bucks and have a bigger monitor to watch it on. plus have hdmi ports to hook up the xbox 360 to. Plus descrete graphics bigger hard drives. Dont care about blue ray burner. Thats what 79 dollar 1tb hard drives are 4. I probably would even have enough left over to throw a decent party.


    that's harsh dude :( 

    i do agree that this project seemed to be a bit on the expensive side, but if it works well for you then great. I guess probably the main difference between what you did and what i would do (if i was building an htpc) is that i wouldn't have gone with a prebuilt all-in-one pc to start with. I would have gone with a $500 or $600 homebuilt pc in a small to mid size case. That way you don't have to buy everything in external form.

    Cool project. I just would have done it differently that's all.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , December 4, 2009 9:14 PM
    I liked the article because it was written in plain English that was easy to undertsand. It also gave me some idea of what I could do with my pc to turn it into a home theater pc.
  • -1 Hide
    Tomsguiderachel , December 4, 2009 11:02 PM
    thackstonnsSo you took an overly expensive all in one added a bunch of usb crap to it and then used it as a dvr. 900 for the pc plus 500 at least for the crap. I can build a nice system for 1400 bucks and have a bigger monitor to watch it on. plus have hdmi ports to hook up the xbox 360 to. Plus descrete graphics bigger hard drives. Dont care about blue ray burner. Thats what 79 dollar 1tb hard drives are 4. I probably would even have enough left over to throw a decent party.

    Let me guess--you like to build your own PCs. Obviously this article was targeted towards people who don't build their own. Naturally it costs more money to get an all-in-one solution, but as we mentioned in the beginning of the article, a cheaper PC-with-monitor system would work equally well (as long as it had all the USB ports) and we recommended that you shop around for an alternative. We used the Acer because that's what we had on hand.
  • 0 Hide
    Tomsguiderachel , December 4, 2009 11:04 PM
    JohnnyLuckyI liked the article because it was written in plain English that was easy to undertsand. It also gave me some idea of what I could do with my pc to turn it into a home theater pc.

    Exactly. The idea here is use what you have and add-on to it without opening up the box.
  • 0 Hide
    Tomsguiderachel , December 4, 2009 11:06 PM
    touchdowntexas13that's harsh dude i do agree that this project seemed to be a bit on the expensive side, but if it works well for you then great. I guess probably the main difference between what you did and what i would do (if i was building an htpc) is that i wouldn't have gone with a prebuilt all-in-one pc to start with. I would have gone with a $500 or $600 homebuilt pc in a small to mid size case. That way you don't have to buy everything in external form.Cool project. I just would have done it differently that's all.

    Thanks--we definitely understand what you are saying. You won't find "build your own" projects on Tom's Guide very often (That's what Tom's Hardware is for!). But just because someone can't/won't build their own doesn't mean they can't modify systems externally.
  • 0 Hide
    rean24 , December 7, 2009 12:29 PM
    Just a Question , the Screen is touch , and i think win7 has support or it...But you still said touch as no advantage...i disagree...its a nice feature and would work great..
  • 0 Hide
    touchdowntexas13 , December 7, 2009 1:27 PM
    rean24Just a Question , the Screen is touch , and i think win7 has support or it...But you still said touch as no advantage...i disagree...its a nice feature and would work great..


    I think it would work great if it wasn't for the fact that he uses it from his couch. I'm guessing he doesn't use that dresser as a desk. I've yet to try out touch and windows 7, but i think it would be cool.
  • 0 Hide
    thackstonns , December 7, 2009 7:54 PM
    all I am saying is for that price you could do the same thing -blu ray burning which isnt an advantage. (hard drive space is cheaper) with stand alone equipment for just as much and still have enough money to buy a bigger tv. Tivo 200, ps2 300. 5.1 cheap surround sound 250. leaves enough for a 32inch lcd screen.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2009 1:02 PM
    This system seems ideal for WebTaps (www.webtaps.com). Its an HDTV web browser designed to let you browse from across the room while minimizing text entry through its integrated virtual keyboard. Its also designed to work well with touch-screens, so its perfect for your setup.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2009 1:12 PM
    To the author: Could you clear something up for me - what are you using the M-Audio for?

    I understand what the device does - it provides digital audio or high quality analog audio via USB (simply put, it is a sound card upgrade). But you are using wireless speakers connected directly to the computer via USB, which means the M-Audio doesn't come into play. You don't appear to have any analog inputs (that you mention anyway) and you are not using a receiver, so what is it for?
  • 0 Hide
    niz , December 8, 2009 2:31 PM
    Very naive of you to not consider Linux. For example, Mythbox is free to download and has way more features than Windows MediaCenter (such as being able to record HDTV) and is also DRM-free. Because its linux it is way more robust and can be used as a decent media server too.

    It is a pain to get configured but you only need to do that once. I suggest downloaing a myth-based distro such as MythBuntu rather than going totally DIY, as a lot is already done for you.


  • 1 Hide
    erikstarcher , December 8, 2009 4:02 PM
    nizVery naive of you to not consider Linux. For example, Mythbox is free to download and has way more features than Windows MediaCenter (such as being able to record HDTV) and is also DRM-free. Because its linux it is way more robust and can be used as a decent media server too.It is a pain to get configured but you only need to do that once. I suggest downloaing a myth-based distro such as MythBuntu rather than going totally DIY, as a lot is already done for you.

    I have run both mythTV and Windows MCE and I can say without a doubt that MCE is the better choice (at least for me and most other people). Plus, this article is for people that don't even know how to build a pc, let alone install and configure Linux (no mater how easy you may think it is to install).
  • 0 Hide
    gilbertfh , December 22, 2009 7:04 AM
    Building your own PC is only as difficult as you make it and if you can hook up external devices and install drivers then you can do internal devices too. Get a buddy to help you build a PC and have fun you may actually learn something in the process.

    Oh and IMO touch screens are great and a lot of fun but for a HTPC it would not be worthwhile since you will be sitting back and enjoying the movie/tv you are watching. You would be better off using the extra money from a touch and getting a larger screen or better hardware.
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