Building a Home Theater PC to Replace our TiVo

I just published a write-up I have been working on for a few weeks about my experience building a top-of-the-line Vista Media Center (VMC) home theater PC (HTPC) to replace our TiVo Series3. Only true PC geeks and gadget nerds are allowed unless you are just curious to see a real-world example of how much premium retail electronics get marked up. Here is an actual shot of our Sony flat panel displaying the new machine in action.

Keith's Vista Media Center in action

TB is still on the fence so it’s not clear whether the HTPC meets the WAF. She loves TiVo so the VMC interface has to be demonstrably better and the HTPC hardware very reliable to meet her bar. I’ve already removed the safety net by disconnecting the TiVo from the main TV. We’ll put it in the bedroom at least until our one-year prepaid service expires in July. My mother-in-law will be here in a couple weeks which will be a good “guest test” as well. The only potential problem is she loves TiVo too.

One Reply to “Building a Home Theater PC to Replace our TiVo”

  1. Wow you really took the plunge!

    I go back and forth on the media center solution. In fact the last functional windows machine in our house is currently sitting unconnected in the living room. (it’s a shuttle box that I built) I keep debating if I should hook it up – The biggest thing holding me back is that I lost my copy of XP media center and I’m not a fan of the Vista version. (my general Vista issues aside) Unfortunately there’s no way to get high def content without Vista.

    I will say that 90% of our television/media needs are generally met by the Xbox 360, Apple TV, and Tivo. To date all 3 devices have passed the WAF. The last 10% really applies to playback of DIVX files. Unfortunately all 3 companies are afraid to touch that with a 10 foot pole.

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