But when I upgraded my home system last Christmas, I was left with a fairly decent Athlon 2100+ system with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive just sitting around. (At the time of this post a similar system could be bought new on eBay for under $300.) So, I decided to give it a go--return my TiVo, cancel digital cable, and take a step backwards to "rabbit ear" TV.
I only wanted to spend about $200 getting there, so I could re-coup those expenses in a few months of a cable-free lifestyle. So, here's my final configuration and costs:
- Athlon 2100+ system (old computer, $0)
- 512MB of RAM (old computer, $0)
- 80GB hard drive for recordings (old computer, $0)
- TDK DVD-R (old computer, $0)
- 2U black rackmount case (salvaged from work, $0)
- Hauppauge PVR150 TV Tuner (Amazon, $89 free ship)
- Vantec Stealth 120mm case fan (Case-Mod.com, $12 + $2 ship)
- TERK TV-55 HD Antenna (eBay, $50 + 15 ship)
- GB-PVR software (Free, but I donated $5 to the project)
As you can see, I came in under my budget by about $27 and ended up with a pretty nice system. To build one from scratch though, you'd need about $500 which makes it kinda pricey for a hobby.