Off Duty: The HTPC Project

by Geek Squad Agent on ‎03-06-2009 10:11 PM (18,535 Views)

Now you might be thinking, why not get a DVR or TiVo? Those are both perfectly fine solutions, but I thought, “this could be a fun, challenging experiment.” So, I went to my case modding lab and began work on my own personal DVR (with no monthly fees).

The project began by searching online for a small, desktop PC-like case. I found a great one that looked like a stereo receiver I currently have in my house. When the case arrived, I installed a 320GB hard drive (for video storage) and 1.5GB (for memory).


Next, I had to choose a special graphics card. I needed one that would be powerful enough to display my picture on my 40’ Samsung LCD TV. I went with the ATI graphics card, the X1650 Pro.


Finally, I installed Windows XP Professional so I could control everything.


Upon my initial test drive, I was impressed. I quickly I realized this machine is far more capable than just recording and playing back TV. So I decided to install a Blu-Ray drive I had bought recently, as well as an HD card and digital reader. This means I can watch high definition content from my moded DVR.


I also installed a wireless adapter, so I could use the DVR to play my iTunes library and have access to the World Wide Web on my TV.


The final touch, installing a program called Snapstream Media so I can use my phone to tell my DVR what to record – just in case I forget to manually set it, or decide last minute I need to record something. 


All in all, I am really happy with my moded DVR. It was fun building, and really lets me enjoy my technology to the max. Next up, a Sega Saturn mod. Stay tuned…

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