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Build the Ultimate Home Theater PC [Paperback]

Ed Tittel , Mike Chin
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Dec 12 2005 ExtremeTech (Book 26)
The best of both worlds-now THIS is entertainment

You love tinkering with technology. The digital lifestyle is your lifestyle. So building your own Home Theater PC just might be as entertaining as using it. In these pages, a couple of fellow tinkerers explain the components and subsystems of a Home Theater PC and help you choose and pur- chase parts, assemble and test the PC, install Windows(r) Media Center Edition, and get the whole thing up and running. Then, invite your friends over and watch 'em turn green.

All you need to know

Clear, step-by-step instructions, complete with parts lists, pictures, and diagrams
* What makes it an HTPC
* Choosing the CPU and memory
* Graphics, video, and HTPC audio
* Monitors and displays
* Networking your HTPC
* Remotes-and how many you can lose
* Installing MCE 2005
* Your choice-P4, Pentium M, or Athlon 64
* Maximizing your multimedia experience
* . . . and more!

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From the Back Cover

The best of both worlds—now THIS is entertainment

You love tinkering with technology. The digital lifestyle is your lifestyle. So building your own Home Theater PC just might be as entertaining as using it. In these pages, a couple of fellow tinkerers explain the components and subsystems of a Home Theater PC and help you choose and pur- chase parts, assemble and test the PC, install Windows® Media Center Edition, and get the whole thing up and running. Then, invite your friends over and watch 'em turn green.

All you need to know

Clear, step-by-step instructions, complete with parts lists, pictures, and diagrams

  • What makes it an HTPC
  • Choosing the CPU and memory
  • Graphics, video, and HTPC audio
  • Monitors and displays
  • Networking your HTPC
  • Remotes—and how many you can lose
  • Installing MCE 2005
  • Your choice—P4, Pentium M, or Athlon 64
  • Maximizing your multimedia experience
  • . . . and more!

About the Author

Ed Tittel has been involved with computers for nearly 25 years. Since 1994 he's been a full-time writer and tech editor. Among his many book credits is PC Magazine: Fighting Spyware, Viruses, and Malware, also published by Wiley.

Mike Chin has been a gadget geek since before he learned to read. After dabbling in business journalism and home audio, he settled into technical writing and consulting. He created www.silentpcreview.com, the leading online authority on computer acoustics.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Before you can build a PC properly, it's important to understand the pieces and parts that go into creating a working personal computer. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book starts in earnest from Chapter 15 (more than half way through the book) where the reader is offered to plan out and budget a prospective Home Theatre PC. Instead of reading the official intro, get to a bookstore if you can and read 5 pages starting from page 254. This will get you a clear idea if this book is for you, i.e. if your wallet can bear the 'average' budget suggested by the authors, and if, perhaps, you are better off with buying an 'underpowered' or semi-assembled (aka 'barebone') commercial offering and upgrading it piecewise. IMHO, the book is too dilute with irrelevant info and countless repetitions of the same set of ideas instead of trying to present more examples of alternative PC builds (as Chapter 15 onwards actually does with just 3 examples). The first 14 chapters are clearly intended for those who enjoy a quiet reading more than browsing through numerous ad-littered web sites, of which a lot of references are made in the text. While the authors can be praised for taking on an arduous task of writing a cover-all book that is bound to become obsolete even before going to press, they could do better by including the hyperlinked material on a companion CD, so that the info about vendors and hardware could be used right away.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh....... April 14 2006
By ZippyFuzzy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I had high expectations for this book but I guess I should have researched it more. As it turns out this book is really two books in one. The first describes how to build your own PC. The second describes how to use Windows MCE.

The only difference between an HTPC and a regular PC hardware is the form factor and the inclusion of a capture card. Essentially any decent book on building your own PC can help you out on the hardware side. It looks like this book did a decent job with it, even though I simply went to newegg and picked out my pieces since I had built a PC before.

What I was hoping for was coverage of all HTPC software out there today and a comparison of options. This book unfortunately only covers MCE. BeyondTV, MythTV(and Linux), Meedio and Mediaplay are all ignored. This is a huge oversite on the part of the author. Hence my 3 stars.

In summary if you are new to building a PC and intend on using MCE this is the book for you. Experienced PC builders and those that wish to use other software options should avoid it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Build the Ultimate Home Theater PC Jan. 24 2006
By David G. Crandell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book in December. I have wanted to build my own computer for some time. I never had a reason for one until I read about Microsoft's Media Center Edition. This prompted me to hit the Internet for info. I came across 5 or 6 sites with good info, but they were outdated. I came upon this book on ExtremeTech.com. The book is "hot off the presses." It give 3 great examples from start to finish, which include 3 different platforms. Each one of the components are assigned a chapter which included recommendations.

If you are able to partition a hard drive and use hand tools you will be able to build your own HTPC. The process is very rewarding. By the way I am 55 years old and this is my first computer.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone planning on building or customizing their Home Theater PC Feb. 24 2006
By Andy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I uncovered this book just after I finished building my own HTPC (Media Center). In process, I did extensive online research, leveraging ExtremeTech.com, AVSforum.com, TheGreenButton.com and other resources. Finding simple answers was such a tedious task, that I decided to create my own knowldege base online at BuildMediaCenter.com to help others. If I had had this book earlier I would have saved a lot of time in finding those answers and money on buying uncompatible parts. This book is simply an enciclopedia for all Media Center technology enthusiasts and PC builders!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference Book Aug. 17 2006
By O. Pankiewicz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is great reference material for any HTPC newbie. It has clear directions and setup diagrams. If your not planning on using MCE, then this book will only be useful to you on the hardware side. Also, technology changes so quickly that you need to compliment this book with websites such as [...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview Jan. 10 2007
By Brooks D. Swift - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are new to building a high performance computer or want more information on the home theater applications then is the book for you. Be aware that this book does not give in depth coverage of media center software.
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