So far I have a basic hardware outline for an HTPC rig with a sweet Gigabyte MoBo with VGA,DVI, S-video, HDMI and audio outputs, 2ghz worth of dual channel RAM, a dual TV tuner card w/FM tuner included, all in one card reader with E-SATA port to easily allow data importing, DVD-R drive, a base-line HD capacity of 160gig, 500watt minimum PS and I'm going to attempt running the system on an Intel E8500 Core 2 Duo chip. The E8500 is a 3.16ghz chip and with the MoBo should be overclockable to about 3.8ghz without incurring a lot of additional heat. Not sure yet if this processor will be able to handle the demands of watching and recording video simultaneously, if not, then problee have to switch to a quad core. All units will also come with a supplied surge protector.
The intent of such a build is to enable hook up to game system/camcorder/cable/satellite/antenna/another PC or a data storage bank as input sources for audio/video while also having the onboard capacity of storing data/audio/video, allow importing/displaying of camera card files and anything else one cares to import via a card and enable dual channel simultaneous play/recording of video, output audio and video to a monitor or TV, both old school models as well as the newer generation plasmas and LCDs, then also enable audio output to a receiver/amp or whatever other externally amplified audio source one might choose. As an audiophile myself I would NEVER expect the output of a set of cheezy speakers even the best TVs use as a viable audio output source, nor do I expect most of the intended consumer market for such a product to do so either.
The base system offering will be a locked down box run from a fairly simple remote control.
I've spent untold hours scouring the net for CPUs and coolers/TV tuners/PSs/MoBos/HDs/card readers/fans/isolators/cables/foam and all the other hardware bits required to assemble these and they'll come with sweet touches like isolator/dampers for all the fans, HDs, video drives and the PS, have sound deadening foam applied to the case interiors, modified cooling systems and hardware placement inside the cases with cabling/routing tailored to allow the most beneficial component cooling with a focus on a quiet overall system. Most if not all original case/CPU and all other standard issue fans discarded in favor of more efficient and quieter offerings available. I have fallen in love with Arctic Cooling fans!
I have a cuppla variations of HTPC cases to start from as well as a few nice mid tower PC cases to play with and have developed a test bed table-top layout for individual hardware testing prior to system assembly. No fun in putting together a system only to find failures in the hardware afterwards and unfortunately DOAs are still a part of new components without even mentioning in-bound shipping damages to components (another topic all in itself)!
Later/higher end iterations will include options like Blu-Ray players,1+TB onboard data storage with the ability to synch up to a larger external data bank, massive video card capability to allow high end gaming capabilities, wireless cards to enable linking to a LAN and the functionality of a full on stand alone computer system complete with either a Linux or Windows OS.
Lotsa bugs to sort out, but that's 1/2 the fun, right?
I'm also simultaneously workin on a gamer rig platform and wow these really have some outrageous(aka ex$pensive) hardware requirements! High end Intel quad core CPUs (trying to avert going to an i7 platform just yet), dual and tri-SLI 1gb video card set-ups, 1000watt or larger PSs, high end MoBos ($300+), with card readers/E-SATA, extremely modified air cooling and even watercooling systems used in combination for the CPU and GPUs cooling incorporated into LAN-box and mid/full tower cases.
I'm playin with all sorts of ideas for new developments in water cooling/air cooling and incorporating TECs and would also like to build my own surge suppressors and incorporate them into all these systems internally (pre-PS), but there are only so many hours in a day and so many ways I can stretch myself at once, but hey, it keeps me off the streets at night, so