Introduction: Build an HTPC
One of my dreams is to build my intelligent house, and an intelligent house is nothing without an intelligent TV that gets you the best movies you want to watch and that gets your pictures and videos organised on a big screen. In this tutorial we will try to build an "htpc", "home cinema computer", "leanback pc", "10-feet pc" or what ever you want to call it :)
What you'll get
Big photo frame
Online movies player
MP3 Player with awsome animations
Air Play enabled TV
Internet browser on your TV
Weather on your TV
Live TV Channels for free
Sponsored by http://airmovies.net/
Step 1: Get a Computer
The first step to build an HTPC is to get a computer, a laptop is always better if you want it to look like a DVD player. Mine is an old broken HP Pavillion DV6201EA. Of course you'll need the essential parts to be in a good condition, mine has a broken screen but its other components work very well.
Step 2: Upgrade Your Computer
If your PC is a new one, you can pass this step but if it is a 4-years old one like mine, you'll need to upgrade it... Mine (HP Pavillion DV6201EA) has only 1Gb of RAM and 1Ghz of processor frequency, I upgraded both to 4Gb and 2Ghz. That made the PC really faster and more confortable. Upgrading depends on your needs, if you watch a lot of HD movies then you defenately need an upgrade but if you just listen to music, and view photos you can keep your old PC's hardware.
Step 3: Connect Your PC to Your TV
An important step to do is to get cables that will link your PC to your TV, there are lots of options depending on your PC and your TV avalible connectivity ports.
For old TVs and laptops:
If you have an old TV or/and an old PC then you might need either an S-Video (http://sunflower.pagesperso-orange.fr/geforcetv/cordonsvideo.jpg) connection or a VGA (http://www.netactualite.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/vga-interface.jpg) connection. S-Video to RCA cables like these (http://www.bestaccessories.net/pic/10145.jpg) are the best for you, you can also get a VGA to RCA cable (http://hotelproton.com/data/Anime/vga-to-rca.jpg). For really old TV Sets you can get an adaptor (http://media.ldlc.com/ld/products/00/00/40/70/LD0000407079_2.jpg). As for me, I bought a complete cheap PC-TV connection kit (http://images.grosbill.com/x_cable_audio_THOMSON_kit_cable_connexion_pc_tv.2m-126710-images250jpg-1.jpg) that is working very good.
For new TVs and Pcs
If your PC and TV are new, you can get an HDMI to HDMI cable, that's the best solution to get HD quality image.
Step 4: Software
For software, you have some really big amount of options. You can choose what ever you want, as for me, I use Windows Media Center for windows 7 and I use a program I made by my self that organizes my mp3 library (adds tags, album covers...) and that works also as a movie links search engine (you type the name of the movie/show and it gives you a download link with the quality you want), please guys don't tell me to post this program because its illegal and against the law as it involves copyright infrigment (not in my country :D ). I also use an Air Play plugin for media center to view photos and videos from my iPod Touch right on my TV without cables.
Windows Media Center
Airmovies Leanback (airmovies.net/leanback )
Step 5: Airmovies.net Is the Best Solution
Airmovies Leanback works with any TV that has a webkit-based browser (chrome or safari or ...) this means, Google TV, Android TV, Windows or Linux.
You can see in the video I made an HTPC setup composed of an HP laptop, a TV, Airmovies Leanback, Windows Movie Center and an iPod Touch (Hipporemote) as a remote control. I use this everyday and I am very satisfied with it.
Access it from http://airmovies.net/leanback
Step 6: Control Your HTPC
To control my HTPC, I used my own iPod Touch and a software called HippoRemote PRO. You can use the remote control included with your laptop/PC or you can use your wireless mouse/keyboard.
Step 7: Demo of My HTPC
Sponsored by http://airmovies.net/
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