HTPC server.

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Joined: 14 Apr 2007
HTPC server.

Here's what I'd like to build. Please let me know if it's possible.

One HTPC to record HD broadcasts.

I'd like this SAME system, to power 3 other "stations". I.E. 3 other Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speaker, combinations. I'd like this to all be done wirelessly.

What I'm looking to achieve is the ability of one system to act like 4 separate computers. Allowing a different person to login to separate accounts at the same time. Thus, all must be able to access the internet and play games against each other through the same system.

E.g. 2 guys playing Starcraft at the same time against each other.

Is this possible? I've heard about virturalization, but not exactly how it works and if it would help what I'm trying to accomplish. Thanks!

skirge01's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2006

It sounds like you're talking about what most would refer to as a "dumb terminal".  But, by saying that you want that same computer to power the other stations, you confused me.  This is what I'm envisioning by your description, but I don't know of any way for a single computer to have 4 monitors, 4 keyboards, 4 meeces, and 4 sets of speakers hooked up to it.  Short story:  You're going to need 3 computers (clients) and 1 server.  If that's what you were actually talking about, then of course you can do that.

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Joined: 27 Dec 2006

You could actually make the server dual purpose as a client using virutalization - check out VMWare Server it might do the trick and it's free....HTPC duties on one instantiation, gaming on the other...since the recording backend doesn't actually need to display/kb/mouse anything.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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Joined: 14 Apr 2007

Thank you. Yeah, I guess I would need some "client" comp's wouldn't I? lol. I guess I don't want to have to buy 4 high powered machines. But rather just one, and the rest would display what it's running.

Doesn't a server just have the files, but the other comp's run them?

jennyfur's picture
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Joined: 5 Oct 2006

Yeah that's basically the point of extenders (such as an MCE machine with a bunch of xbox 360's).

7MC - Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 - Avermedia M780 - Dvico Fusion HDTV7 - Terk HDTVa - Xbox 360 S - Logitech Harmony 650 - Panasonic V10 - Onkyo HT-RC160

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Joined: 27 Dec 2006

hmm...good point XBox 360s could be a good way to go, as could PS3s. The XBoxs would integrate well with a MCE server. You just have to be willing to give up the PC only games.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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Joined: 30 Sep 2006

If he's willing to do alittle more work and he has access to WHS then it might be possible to build an MCE server/client setup now rather then going with an MCE server and having to use extenders.

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Joined: 14 Apr 2007

Sorry, what is "WHS"?  And I guess, what's an "extender"? Sad

Naylia, your virtualization would solve the problem of being able to play games and record TV at the same time. However, is it possible for games to be "streamed" to other computers so that the player can play on the client comp, while the server is the one actually running the program?

Again, trying to have a small network setup to play games. I don't mind spending the cash on one "super computer", but I don't want to put out money for 3 expensive comp's...

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Joined: 27 Dec 2006

There is a VMWare solution that creates local desktops on thin clients, however I really think that any kind of serious graphics work is unlikely to work in this situation.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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Joined: 9 Oct 2006

comport9 wrote:

Sorry, what is "WHS"?

WHS = Windows Home Server.  New Microsoft Server OS.

HTPC addict

jennyfur's picture
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Joined: 5 Oct 2006

Wikipedia has a decent explanation of what a media extender is here.

A bit more specifically, here is Microsoft's page about Windows Media Center 2005 and the xbox 360 as an extender. I'm sure there's a page for Vista somewhere that's better but I couldn't find it quickly... this is the closest I could find.

Though as we mentioned, that wouldn't allow for PC gaming against each other. In fact I can't think of any other solution  that would either (besides having actual full-blown machines in each room you want to accomplish this).

Windows Home Server is very new, so there's not a ton of info yet, but it might be your best solution.

7MC - Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 - Avermedia M780 - Dvico Fusion HDTV7 - Terk HDTVa - Xbox 360 S - Logitech Harmony 650 - Panasonic V10 - Onkyo HT-RC160

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Joined: 14 Apr 2007

Alright, well thanks guys for all your help!

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Joined: 2 Oct 2006

"Windows Home Server is a unique, integrated solution that provides backup and restore, centralized expandable storage, and access from anywhere to your home server and home PCs."

Those are currently it's 3 major functions: 
- Easily modified centralized storage (extremely easy to add and subtract HD's)
- Automated backup of connected PC's (really cool how they've configured that...)
- Remote Access to the Server or any connected PC through the server
For these three things, is pretty kick-a$$...  (It backs up every PC attached and never duplicates a file.  (If the same file exists on 3 computers, it'll only store one copy but it'll restore the file to ANY computer that originally had it)  Using the WHS Restore CD, you can rebuild any PC attached to the server (restore any file, files, or even the entire system...))

It's a long way from being a Media Server & maybe more importantly, a Media Center Server...  But here's the MS vision for the future:
"As a software platform, Windows Home Server will offer software partners tremendous opportunities to build innovative products that meet the needs of the digital home. We expect that a wide range of third-party applications will emerge, such as virus and malware protection, media sharing, and home security and automation."

They've opened up the Beta "CTP" (Customer Technology Preview) if you're interested in trying it.  It's fairly cool, but I won't be "wowed" until they add the ability to be a true Media Center Server.  That will be a ways down the road I'm afraid...

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

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