1. Michael

    Linux HTPC <£300

    I'm looking for hardware recommendations to build a Linux based HTPC for less than £300.

    System needs to have HDMI and support for 1080p. Not overly fussed about blue ray, but definately want DVD support. This can be via USB.

    Also looking to record and watch live TV simultaneously so DVB-T tuner suggestions would be welcome. Everything has to be on one system, running in the living room and as close to silent as reasonably possible for the price.

  2. Chevalier

    Less than 300£? Not sure about that one... good luck

  3. Phil W

    Including display, and other peripherals?

    Or are we just talking for the PC build, easily doable I'd say.

    An integrated motherboard ION or AMD Fusion is around £100 or less.

    whatever mini-itx case floats your boat plus PSU, say up to £75?

    PCI-E 1x DVB-T cards are available at a reasonable price if you shop around, call it £40?

    DVD drive for around £10

    You install the OS to a usb flash drive if you want but a 2.5" HDD is also good, say another £40.

    £265 so far.

    TBH though depending what you want, and where you shop it could be less. My build done recently is:

    Thermaltake Element Q - £50.38

    beQuiet 300W SFX PSU - £38.76 (due to wierd compatability issues with the included Thermaltake PSU)

    GA-E350N - £48.02

    Xenta card reader (with IR sensor) - £3.99

    Windows Media Center Remote (from ebay) - £10

    DVD drive - £12

    Total -- £165 (obviously plus a bit for shipping from a couple of shops)

    So far no problems for me, though i've only been using it a couple of weeks. Plays all my DVDs and AVI rips no problem.

    1. rose.valdez

      Wow this is wonderful suggestion.

  4. Phil W

    No HDD in that list, because I already had a 120GB 2.5" drive spare.

  5. Michael
    Thumb Up

    No display required

    Plugging this into the TV, so need HDMI only.

    I like the sound of your setup. Nice and simple.

    I was considering a lenovo Q180, dual DVB-t USB stick, and USB DVD drive. Should be a similar price point and looks nice in the living room.

  6. Phil W

    Good choice, I hadn't seen that before and I actually wish I'd bought one of those instead now!

  7. fawlty
    Thumb Up

    Just did something like this but overspent. Learning points were:

    M350 case is great (see lin-itx.com), very 'customisable' ie. with a drill if necessary, and has mount points for 'vesa' compatible tv brackets.

    Also a good idea to look at picoPSU from a power perspective (just make sure you add all your components uptake requirements together correctly so you get the right model...)

    OpenElec currently getting my vote as OS, based on XBMC but stripped back, boots from tiny usb stick in no time.

    PCTV 290e USB tuner works well with linux -support is baked into the latest kernels so no need for 3rd party drivers, and has dual DVB-T2 tuners so watch and record in HD/SD as you like.

    I wasted my money on processing power / main board (intel z68) which was a mistake. I've had to spend money on cooling / 'customising' my case since to keep it running quiet ish, and didn't really need all the extra oomph.

    Last piece of advice: hide it from any children you may have. Mine have tried to assassinate the creation several times so far since I built it.

    Good luck.

  8. Michael

    Thought I'd update on my purchases:

    £180 Lenovo Q180, ebuyer

    £55 PCTV 290e USB dual DVB-t USB stick, and USB DVD drive. PC world

    £30 samsung se 208ab tsbs external slimline DVD writer

    Total cost £265

    Installed mythbuntu, TV tuner just worked, sound for live TV and recordings no problem. Still haven't got sound working in mythbunutu dvd plyer, but works in VLC.

    HDTV not working unfortunately. I assume that this is a driver issue as the ATI 6xxxx series graphics card should handle it no problem. Tried the AMD drivers rather than the ones in the repository but to no avail.

    PC fan could be quieter, but you don't notice when the TV is on.

    Still to get a wireless keyboard and mouse.

    Using my android phone for the remote.

  9. Phil W

    At a guess I would say it's the driver for the PCTV device, at a greater guess I'd say it's cos it's using a driver for an earlier model or variant of the chip which doesn't support DVB-T2 only DVB-T.

    I'd suggest investigating what driver module has been loaded for the device and checking if there's a different/better one it could be using, then blacklist the current one.

    Horrifyingly I've had to switch to Windows on my HTPC set up, the drivers in XBMCbuntu for the E-350 or rather the Radeon 6310 are poor. I get horrible tearing in video playback either from files or direct from DVD.

    Windows 8 with XBMC, all fine.

    On the plus side I now have the Netflix app in Windows 8 as well.

  10. badra100

    You should google for "best linux htpc" and check out the forums. There is a lot of talk about experiences, ideas, problems, cautions etc.

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