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HD HomeRun for $100!!!

I love my HD HomeRun Clear QAM dual tuner!  I think when I bought mine it was around $155-$160.  About 80% of the TV I record is from network TV so the HD HomeRun does most of the heavy lifting and does it well.  I rarely have my cable card tuners tied up.

It’s a great second pair of tuners and a great tuner to start your Media Center journey.  Make sure you grab one before the price goes back up.  Thanks for the heads up Geek Tonic!

SiliconDust HDHomeRun Network Dual Digital Tuner $99.99 (124.99 less $25 with code CDYG45) with Free Shipping.  The code is good through 3/28 so don’t wait.

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My total media center package

I have been asked a few times about what I have in my Media Center setup. I have sent information via email, but I thought it might be nice to build a concise list on the blog. So here it is.

Hardware
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Component Cost Source Comments
DELL XPS 420
  • $1,138.31 (PC)
  • $384.30 (TV Tuners)
  • $1,522.61 (Total)
Dell.com
  • My system specs
  • I used my corporate discount and received an added discount just for asking!
Western Digital 750GB SATA HD $139.99 NewEgg.com Supplemented the 500GB HD that came with the PC. This is a “Green” drive and has multiple speeds to conserve energy.
HITACHI Deskstar 1TB SATA HD $281.12 NewEgg.com I started run out of space quickly so I added this drive.
LINKSYS WRT160N Wireless Router $79.99 NewEgg.com Didn’t really need it, but I wanted to upgrade my router to an N router.
LINKSYS DMA2100 Media Center Extender $149.98 Amazon.com I was not plannning on getting this now, but Amazon had an amazing deal on it and I am very glad that I did get it.
HD Homerun $168.99 DVRUpgrade.com This adds 2 more tuners to the setup for a total of 4, but it will only tune the HD Local channels (which is about 75% of my recordings). It also records with NO DRM, unlike the CableCard recordings.
1700 ft Cat5 Network Cable $50 Craigslist I still can’t believe the deal I got on this!
Xbox 360 (w/ 20GB HD) $0.00 ($280-$400) Best Buy I put a cost of zero because I did not buy the Xbox specifically as a Media Center extender. I have had it for almost 3 years now.
Logitech Harmony Advanced Universal Remote for Xbox 360 $107.24 BestBuy Great programmable remote. It hooks up to the PC.
Total $2,499.92 Not sure if I wanted to know this or not!

Software
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Name Cost Source Comments
TapiRex w/ Media Center Plugin $26.90 Scendix Software Try getting the Trial Version working first.
WebGuide $0.00 Asciiexpress.com Allows for remote access of Media Center via a web browser or mobile device. It gives you remote scheduling, access to music & pictures and streaming non-DRM Recorded and Live TV content.
MyMovies $0.00 mymovies.dk Great collection management interface for ripped DVD’s
myTV $19.99 senseitweb.com Similar to MyMovies but for TV shows.
Total $26.90 I am still using the beta of myTV.

So my grand total at the end of the day was $2,526.82. So what did I get for that money?? Well first I got a kick-ass new PC. My computer was on it’s last leg and rebooted by itself every 2-3 days.

I also got a great home media experience. We have one central hub with lots of storage and easy access to our media. It’s still expandable and I can’t wait to see what Microsoft has coming (hopefully) later this year.

Linksys DMA2100 & DMA2200 on sale!!

Amazon.com has a great deal on the new Linksys Media Center Extenders. Thanks to Chris Lanier for the info:

Amazon | Linksys DMA2100 – $150 after MSFTDEAL

Amazon | Linksys DMA2200 – $200 after MSFTDEAL

The Adventure Begins with 1700ft of Cat5

So today I began my great home network adventure. I will post more details of my master plan in a later post, but for now I want to talk about the deal I just got.

My first step in this endeavor is to wire my home. I already have wireless but that’s not going to allow me to send around HD video lag free. So I went to NewEgg and priced out cable. I found out that they sell long cables in the following increments: 50ft, 75ft, 100ft, 250ft, 1000ft. I found some great deals on 250ft of cable so I went about estimating how much I need to run wire to all the bedrooms in my house. Turns out that I need about 350-400 feet.

Based on my estimation that puts me in the market for either two 250ft cables or one 1000ft cable. The 1000ft is a little overkill and also more expensive. Instead of $30-$40 I was now looking at around $75, but it’s cheaper to get the 1000 ft than to get two 250 feet cables.

Well, turns out I went another way. A coworker overheard my dilemma and suggested Craigslist. Thanks to that suggested I was able to buy 1700 feet of Cat5 for $50. It actually came from a professional networking company that was running wire in some new condo building that has about 300 units. Check out the photo below:


So now it’s sitting in the back of my car waiting to take up residence in my garage until I can start running it around the house. This is WAY more than I will need, but man was the price right. I’m sure I will be helping many of my friends with network cable whenever they need it.