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We're a small company, family run, we make the videos, have them
professionally reproduced and ship them ourselves to customers.
I started the company in June, 2003. The idea was to make videos teaching people who had an interest in building their own computer how to do it. I had been working in computer support for years for a number of companies and had built my first computer back in 1997 and a few since then.
Before beginning I checked out the competition. The Screen Savers (a show on TechTV, now G4) had made a VHS tape on the process. It was done live, with a couple of cameras, but it was difficult to see what they were doing as they put the parts in and it was really just installing the parts.
The next step was planning what to cover, the order to teach it in, how deep in detail to go, etc. Once I had a basic outline I started working on the scripts for each lesson. For the computer setup lessons a script just wouldn't work. I would have to just do it live.
Buying the camera I needed (Canon GL2) and all the computer parts was expensive. Luckily my parents were in need of a new computer so they paid for the computer parts. They're still using the computer I built for the first version of the lessons to this day.
Before shooting the video I record all of the audio for each lesson to use for timing purposes. That is, doing my best to make sure the action on screen would match the audio. This helped a lot, but I still had to do a lot of editing to make it work.
Shooting the video took about 2 weeks. The editing and re-shoots took another 8 months.
During this time I came up with the name Home PC Builder. It sounded about right and the domain name was available.
Once I had the videos done I started working on the web site. You can see the first version of the site along with many, many revisions over the years here http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.homepcbuilder.com (We switched to a database driven Joomla based site in late 2007 which archive.org doesn't see.)
I decided to just have the videos available online to begin with, DVD would come later.
From 2003 to 2006 I did small updates to the videos to keep pace with new hardware.
In 2007 it became obvious that things had changed in computer hardware so much that a more drastic update was needed.
Intel and AMD had introduced new CPUs, which meant new motherboards, new RAM, PCI Express video cards had replaced AGP.
I bought new motherboards, CPUs and memory for both Intel and AMD systems. Along with 2 Nvidia video cards to show SLI.
The new videos took about 5 weeks to complete. I had done this before so it was much quicker and easier.
I decided to name them Home PC Builder 2007. This got the point across in the name that the videos were new. There had been several competing videos released since 2003, but videos from the competitors were not up to date at this point with the new hardware changes.
The 2007 in the product name also locked me in to doing yearly updates. I decided to start offering the videos on DVD. At first I burned the DVDs individually for each order. About half way through 2007 this got old and I had 1000 copies made.
The 2008 version of the videos was mostly updating information on technical specs and features to look for. While these changes were significant the only real addition was the Windows Vista installation video.
In 2009 we completely remade the videos. Intel came out their Core i7 and triple channel RAM. AMD with their Phenom 2. A new computer was built for these videos. We started over from the beginning and most of the videos were completely re-written. In 2009 we had a full retail ready DVD package produced to make the DVDs easier to sell at retail. The videos are on sale at a few computer and book stores. We are looking into getting them into wider distribution.
So far in 2010 we have released our Intel Core i5 and i7 CPU Overclocking videos, our AMD Phenom II based CPU Overclocking videos and the 2010 version of the Home PC Builder videos. All are available online and on DVD.
In 2011 we updated the Home PC Builder lessons and released 2 additional sets of videos. The first covered memory upgrading on both desktops and laptop. The second was a RAID and SSD set showing how to install SSD's and set them, or HDD's up in a RAID array.
In 2012 we updated the Home PC Builder videos.
In 2013 we remade the Home PC Builder videos in full 1080p HD. This actually began in 2012 after the 2012 update was done. The majority of the videos, with the exception of the Computer Setup videos, are done. You can get access to the completed 2014 videos as a member of the site. We plan to have the series completed by the beginning of 2014.