After posting a few days ago about how to put together the perfect HTPC, I did some more investigating and chatted with a few of you to come up with the perfect solution, for the time being. First, I needed to get a new video card for my eMachines tower that’s currently storing all my movies and media. To do this, I looked up the system online and chatted with eMachines help to discover that I had 2 free PCI slots and 1 free PCI-Express slots. Then, I headed up to Best Buy to find the best card.
After the Geek Squad dude that greeted me pretty much didn’t know a thing, I talked to a helpful regular employee who pointed me in the direction of the GeForce 210 video card, which works perfectly. It took almost no time at all to install, and makes video smooth as butter.
I also went ahead and purchased 2 remote controls for my new HTPC, a regular hand-held remote and a wireless keyboard.
The Microsoft Windows Media Center remote is great when I’m in the Windows Media Center app, for navigation and quick access to the necessary functions. It’s backlit and looks almost identical to the remote control that came with my AT&T Uverse box, so my wife has no trouble using it. The remote also came with the IrDA receiver that I needed.
The Microsoft Windows Media Center wireless keyboard was only $30, a far cry from the $130 that it launched at. This keyboard has an integrated nub to function as a mouse and left/right buttons, so I can use it to get around the normal Windows interface when necessary. It’s taken a while to get used to, but it’s much more convenient than using LogMeIn on my other computer to access my MediaCenter.
I was also recently introduced to browser by a friend, and this application is simply brilliant. Browser searches the tmdb.org database to get metadata for your movies and tv shows, making it *much* more convenient to browse through them on the Windows Media Center interface.
With this setup, I’m really enjoying my HTPC. Total out of pocket costs thus far, not including the eMachines tower that I already had, has been $185. Not too shabby.