Media Centre PC for home – LCD TV selection.

My wife and I have been planning to redecorate our formal lounge / dining room – we don’t use it for these functions, but instead we’re using it as a home office / library.  Now we want to add another function to it and at the same time redecorate.  With our kids getting older now, we decided that we want to use this as a parents retreat / home cinema.  So I’ve been shopping this weekend to get some of the components.  I won’t bore you with the hassles we are about to go through with ripping up the carpet and laying a floating timber floor, or the problems selecting the right colours for the paint etc.  What I will let you in on is the selection of technology that is going into our home right now. 

We’re going to setup a Media Centre PC here in the library, and team that with a nice big wall mounted LCD screen.  I did quite a bit of investigation into the LCD vs Plasma debate, and settled on LCD as the selection for me – one of the prime concerns I had with Plasma was the screen burn issues that I’ve heard about.  We do plan to use the big screen with the media centre PC and I was worried that if we had plasma it would not be good for this.  So – once decided on the LCD screen it was off shopping.  There is a new big store opened up nearby in the last week, so they are having massive sales on everything.  Of interest to me were Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi – all but The Good Guys were new to this location.  So I went along – my wife had set a maximum of $3000 for the TV purchase – I dearly wanted a 42” screen, but sadly they were out of the price range.  The 32” screens were in the price range, but I really wanted to see if I could go for the 37”.  After looking at the screens somewhat, I settled on the Sharp LC37GA4X as being the one I liked the best – I saw this in 2 of the three stores and it was the one that stood out from the rest.  It had an RRP of $5999-$6599 based on many stores.  I asked for the best price from one store and got it down to $4800.  I came home, did a bit of searching on the net, found that the people that had reviewed this screen loved it – even found some people that had teamed it with a media centre PC with great success.  The best price online I could get was $3800 here in Australia – good I thought.  I went back to one of the stores, and they under pressure from my wife gave me a price of $3500 which was higher than budget, but my wife allowed me to stretch a little (thanks dear).  I then went over to Harvey Normans and they price matched it.  Great – I was going to also buy my media centre PC from Harvery’s too, but in the end the one they had didn’t have a dual tuner hence I could not record two programs @ once.  Long story short – I’ve placed a deposit on the Sharp LC37GA4X for $3500 and pick it up Tuesday. 

In my next bit I’ll go over the selection of the media centre PC and then after that how we hook it all up.  I’ll need to integrate this PC into my SBS 2003 home network – the server already has 750GB of RAID 5 storage just ready for it.  Hope you learn something from my experiences.

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