Author Topic: Ultracompact HTPC with BluRay - suggestions/help needed  (Read 32 times)

HughC

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Ultracompact HTPC with BluRay - suggestions/help needed
« on: April 20, 2017, 03:00:25 PM »
I'm looking for an ultracompact HTPC with the following general characteristics:

- Dimensions <~ 11"W x 12"D x 3.5"H
- HDMI (to Samsung TV - not 4K but might be soon!)
- SSD mainly so the OS boots quickly (doesn't need to be huge as have a NAS)
- CPU/RAM/Graphics etc. for streaming/playback of DVD or Blu-Ray/browsing NO need for gaming capability
- Windows 10 (or 7)
- Optical drive DVD/Blu-Ray (really only need R)
- Wired ethernet, Bluetooth

I was initially looking to buy something but the problem seems to be finding anything compact that includes a BluRay player. Can one build (or get someone to build) such a thing? (I have no experience with this but am eager to try if there's a good solution.)  A few years ago there seemed to be several things available (e.g., Dell Zino - but I gather it could overheat) but now, no one offers a BluRay in anything small.

The HP Elite Slice looked promising but its add-on optical drive is just DVD. A Mac mini comes close but I need Windows because of software issues. What about an Xbox1!!?? I know nothing about these. Lenovo has (as do many other manufacturers) ultracompact boxes such as the Think Centre M700 but no optical drive.

Any ideas much appreciated.


Ari Altman

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Re: Ultracompact HTPC with BluRay - suggestions/help needed
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 05:16:31 PM »
Welcome to the TBG Forum, HughC!

So, with those particular dimensions, we have to be pretty careful about the case you use. Specifically, 11" wide would be very narrow for a horizontally-oriented case. Most cases are much wider than they are deep, but you have a bit more depth than width available. And you absolutely won't be able to find anything off the shelf with the specifications you need. The big OEMs just aren't focused on this specialized market. You want slim, compact, Blu-Ray compatible, true 4K output, with an SSD - that's simply non-existent. But of course we can build one, right?!?

Actually, your options are pretty limited, but I think you could actually get by very nicely using a 7th-generation Intel NUC with 4K support and an external Blu-Ray drive. It will be tiny and have everything you want. Here's the parts list:

(1) Intel Nuc 7th-Gen i3: (Amazon.com / Amazon.ca)
(2) Pioneer external Blu-Ray drive: (Amazon.com / Amazon.ca).
(3) 8GB of Crucial RAM: (Amazon.com / Amazon.ca
(4) Crucial MX300 275GB SSD: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca
(5) Windows 10: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca
(6) Cyberlink PowerDVD 16 Blu-Ray software: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca

Total cost comes to about $675, and going with the NUC that I linked to allows you to add another SSD or hard drive later on if you need one.

If you have a strong desire to have the DVD drive integrated, then we need to custom-build an HTPC, but you'll probably be limited to the IN-WIN BQS656 (Amazon.com / Amazon.ca) due to size restrictions. I've reviewed this case and like it a lot, but it adds a lot more bulk and could end up more expensive.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 07:12:59 PM by Ari Altman »