I want to buy or build a home theater PC and I'm overwhelmed by the options for hardware. Mac or PC? Low-end or mid-range?
Here's what I want to do:
- Pause and rewind live TV
- Schedule shows to record
- Watch YouTube, Hulu and other web video
- Watch everything in High Definition
Here's what I don't need:
- DVD or Blu-ray. I have a separate Blu-ray player.
- A multiple-TV setup. I only have one TV.
- Gaming. I don't game.
I'm thinking I'll have a setup with MythTV and an HDHomeRun tuner, but I'm open to reconsidering either of those choices. I have read that Intel Core 2 Duo machines are adequate for HD HTPC use. Here are two candidates using that processor:
- A used Core 2 Duo desktop PC. There are lots of these on eBay for around $100.
- A used Core 2 Duo Mac Mini. There are lots of these on eBay for around $350.
Why is the Mac so much more expensive? Is it worth it, for what I need?
Another option is to build a system myself using new parts. In general, how might my TV-watching experience be different using a brand new 2011 system compared to one of the systems mentioned above, from 2006 or 2007? And if I decide on building a new system, how might my TV-watching experience be different with a low-end system built with $400 worth of parts compared to a mid-range system built with $600 worth of parts?
My TV is a 46-inch Samsung 1080p HDTV. I don't have cable or satellite, just an antenna. I live in the U.S.