Originally Posted by ZenerDiode
I upgraded my PC with a Lite-on Blu-Ray drive for $130 a few months ago. I've been regretting not getting the PS3 for $299 (if you apply for the Sony credit card) ever since.
The fact that I have to invest in AnyDVDHD chaps my hide. Add that to the fact that the TMT and PowerDVD haven't been exactly friendly with all the disks I've thrown at it makes me even angrier. This DRM stuff is getting ridiculous but seems to have worked well enough to turn even hardcore PC folks away from playing HD content on the PC.
In any event, save yourself the headache and get a standalone if all you want to do is watch movies. Even if you have a fully functional PC, I'm still not convinced adding in a Blu-ray drive is the smartest move. I've felt dumb ever since I added mine.
That is almost my exact experience lol. Including feeling dumb
I went out of my way to build an HTPC that was going to be as "future proof" as possible.. I invested considerable time and money into researching and purchasing "the right stuff".
Between Vista crashing, Auzentech canceling their HDMI add-in card, flaky video drivers, lack of HD audio support, mediocre picture quality, some discs that just wouldn't play, the need to constantly upgrade the player software, etc, etc... I went and bought a $400 PS3 and the blu ray quality is superb and the user experience rock solid.
I gave up on the PVR aspects of an HTPC a long time ago (too much hassle trying to get an HD PVR working). So all I am really looking for is a Blu Ray player and an hd capable movie jukebox. I found the HTPC couldn't provide that. The PS3 is a great *disc based* blu ray player, but is lacking as a movie jukebox.
I am probably going to purchase a "Networked Media Tank" .. something like the Popcorn Hour A110. I have 800+ movies and with some of the add ons for the NMTs you can get a decent movie jukebox. For now I am using the PS3 but there are definitely some things lacking when trying to manage and stream a collection of hundreds of movies and where you want HD audio format support.
I think HTPCs need another year or so before they become viable for blu ray playback.
The decision tree should include:
1. Do you want HD audio format support?
YES - buy a PS3 or other SA Blu Ray player
NO - next step in tree
... I know that during certain phases of the moon, with the right amount of garlic mixed with the right number of chickens feet it's possible to get an HTPC to give HD audio support with the right hardware in the mix and the right player software (dependent upon the disc) ... but I found it far to much time requirements in comparison to what can be done with alternatives such as a PS3.