It’s been about 3 months since we started down the path of building our 4K HTPC. I bet you thought we were all finished. Guess again!
Seriously though, just a few more things to cover for good measure. It’s been pretty smooth sailing throughout most of the build and setup process. Sure, we have had a few bugs along the way, but nothing that wasn’t fixable. I have to say, though, this is probably my favorite PC build to date. If you are still waiting to take the plunge, or you are still considering building vs buy a pre-built box, I hope I have convinced you to go the DIY route. After several months of testing and experiencing my new HTPC, I am very happy with the choices I made and I can’t say that I regret a single decision. As of today, I don’t think you can really beat the value/performance ratio for a small form factor PC.
ETR How to Build a 4K HTPC
- PART ONE: GOALS AND CHALLENGES
- PART TWO: CASE, POWER SUPPLY, MOTHERBOARD, AND COOLING
- PART THREE: PROCESSOR, SSD, RAM, AND OPTICAL DRIVE
- PART FOUR: SETUP, TROUBLESHOOTING, AND QUIRKY 4K STUFF
- PART FIVE: SOFTWARE
- PART SIX: PERIPHERALS AND EVERYTHING ELSE
- PART SEVEN: GRAPHICS CARD – THE DEFINITIVE INSTALLATION/UPGRADE/HOW-TO GUIDE
- UPDATED PARTS LIST FOR 2016
- UPDATED PARTS LIST FOR 2017
We have our HTPC fully assembled, setup, and running like a champ. It’s a media streaming/transcoding beast. So what else is there? Is there anything left to do? Of course, there is. You are really only limited by your imagination and budget. I have neither, so I will just cover the basics.
If you go back to part 4 of out HTPC series, you see that I recommend picking up a USB3 hub to improve the range of your wireless devices. I still recommend picking up a USB hub, but what else should you be thinking about adding to your cart? That’s a complicated question, and it really depends mostly upon your needs and the devices you’re wanting to connect.
Keyboard and Mouse
A wireless keyboard/touchpad combo is an absolute necessity. A dedicated mouse, on the other hand, is probably something most of you (not everyone) can live without.
A wireless keyboard with a built-in touchpad is going to come in very handy if you plan on using it for pretty much anything other than Kodi. Kodi only requires very basic controls and can easily be navigated without the use of a keyboard or touchpad. You can use a simple MCE remote if that is all you plan on doing with your HTPC. For almost everything else, a full keyboard will certainly come in handy.
Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad
I went ahead and picked up two different types of wireless keyboards. The first one is the Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400. The K400 is a wireless all-in-one keyboard and touchpad combo and is a perfect fit for most HTPC owners. It’s not small and compact by any means, it’s about the size as your average everyday keyboard. It comes with a single unifying receiver. So you could easily attach a wireless Logitech mouse if you wanted too (not necessary IMO), but it will save you an extra USB port, which is always nice. The K400 range kinda sucks though (if line of sight with the receiver is obstructed). This keyboard was the main reason I decided to pick up a USB hub. Originally, I had to plug the receiver into the back of the HTPC, this caused lag and range issues. But connecting the receiver to the USB hub and moving it towards the front of the PC fixed every issue I had.
iPazzPort Raspberry Pi Mini Wireless Handheld Remote Control Keyboard
A full-size keyboard is nice to have if you need to do any lengthy typing or play video games, but I have come to find that I don’t use it all that often. It’s just not all that convenient, it’s just too damn big. My daily driver is this cheap all in one micro keyboard from a company called iPazzPort (yeah I know, but hear me out). You know what? It actually isn’t all that bad. It’s cheap, rechargeable, and does the job of a full keyboard without all the bulk. I wouldn’t recommend you use it for gaming or composing lengthy emails, but for your normal everyday web browsing and media consumption, you could do a hell of a lot worse. It’s not an MCE remote, so it cannot communicate with your TV (volume, power, etc.). It’s basically a smaller version of the Logitech keyboard, minus some of Logitech’s fancy features.
I find it to be a perfect media center remote. You can use the cursor keys in the upper right to navigate Kodi, and the touchpad to navigate when you are doing something else. The volume buttons control the PC volume, and you can simulate mouse clicks by double tapping the touchpad or using the dedicated left and right mouse keys on the keyboard. The physical buttons have a nice rubbery tactile feel and a satisfying click when you press a button. Overall, it’s a nice, cheap remote that should serve you well, assuming you don’t require TV control. If you need a universal remote that can control your PC and your TV at the same time, you have plenty of options to choose from, but compromises will have to be made. I haven’t found the all-in-one HTPC/TV universal remote that can do absolutely everything. In the meantime, I will have to find a way to get by using 2 remotes (certainly not a deal breaker).
There are just about a million reasons you might want to add a Bluetooth adapter to your HTPC. Connecting your phone, listening to music via wireless headphones or external speaker, Bluetooth peripherals, game controllers, etc. It’s a cheap add-on, so why the hell not.
DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4
Do you have a PS4? Would you like to use your DS4 to control your PC and/or play games, just like an Xbox controller? Here is something you can try. NOTE: The following does not “require” a Bluetooth adapter, but if you want to use your DS4 wirelessly with your PC, it’s required. Take a look at ds4windows.com. Simply download some software and painlessly setup your DS4 to work with your Windows PC. Getting everything up and running is a piece of cake. It’s obviously a lot cheaper than buying another wireless controller. Even if you don’t already own a DS4, it might be worth picking up if you plan on doing any gaming. In my opinion, the DS4windows setup is every bit as good as the Xbox 360 controller for PCs.
Well, folks, I guess that about does it. I have completely run out of stuff to talk about, for now. If you have been with me all the way through this 4K HTPC adventure, I seriously appreciate it. If you read anything for that matter, you rock! I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Till next time!
UPDATE: Thought I was done! So did I…But screw that, let’s keep this train a rolling! Jump over to Part 7, and let’s install a graphics card!
[DS4 image via tested.com]