Arrrgh! Can't decide between HTPC and BD Mega-Changer - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I am going crazy trying to decide what to do with my video options for my unfinished basement / home theater.

Here's the deal .... I am sick and tired of my kids yanking out the DVDs, wiping their sticky hands on them, and chucking the DVD cases all over the room, etc. etc.... You know the story. I just want to get the DVDs (and cases) out of the way completely so they won't ruin them and so the theater room isn't a total mess all the time (I know, probably asking too much).

The solutions I have come up with are:
1. Sticking a HTPC / Media Server of some sort in the adjacent mechanical room to store everything and figuring out a way to "pull it up" in theater room

2. Buy a Blu-Ray Changer and placing that in the built-in component cabinet in the theater room and pulling up the video that way to the HDTV or through the projector. The only Blu-Ray changers I have found that would hold lots of discs is the Sony BDP-CX7000ES or the Sony BDP-CX960 (Sorry, I'm new to AVS and can't post URLs yet to make quick views of those products)

3. Sell my kids and then I can just use a single disc DVD player without the fuss and mess.

Any suggestions and input on those options would be appreciated or any options I haven't thought of. Thank you.

My Home Theater and Game Room Build -- IN PROGRESS
THE SPUD CELLAR
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post #2 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 10:43 AM
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HTPC all the way! But it is not going to be user friendly for the kids like a stand alone....
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post #3 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 10:58 AM
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Welcome

I vote for #3, sell your kids.

In all seriousness, I think your decision should be based on your knowledge of HTPCs in general, and how much you plan on "tinkering" with things to make it work how you want it to.

If you enjoy configuring hardware, software, codecs, 3rd party players, updates, file storage, backups, etc, etc, etc, then the HTPC route is for you.

If you aren't that knowledgeable with the above factors, and really don't want to muck around with all that stuff, the BD changer sounds like a pretty good 'set it and forget it' piece of hardware.
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post #4 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 11:21 AM
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Look at the Popcorn Hour or similar media tank. Store your rips on a server or install an internal HDD.

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post #5 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 12:10 PM
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We really need to know how comfortable you are with PC's. HTPC's are by no means plug and play and there is a lot of tweaking needed to get them up and running. That said, IMHO they also give you by far the nicest interface and will play back any file format you can throw at it.

If tweaking a PC is not high on your list, the Popcorn hour is a great option as well, though you will still need to deal with ripping and maintaining a server
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post #6 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 12:36 PM
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How much $$$, and what capacity are we talking for these BD changers?
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post #7 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 12:50 PM
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I can't see the point of building a htpc for just dvd/bd viewing. A popcorn hour or wd tv live can do that much more cheaply and with far lesser hassle.

now if you also want a pvr and media solution, than a htpc is the way to go.
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post #8 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 12:59 PM
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unless you like to tinker, need a hobby, install a cabnet and lockup your disc's, make the entertainment room 'bring your own disc' required !
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post #9 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 01:13 PM
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as other had said, that depends on your level PC/media knowledge and the willingness of tweaking, upkeeping. but there's another advantage for HTPC (or popcorn hour like device) is you can have the access of the whole movie library through out the whole house instead of JUST inside the HT!

I thought 'bout the new Sony charger for the HT too, but I personally more like the idea of whole house access than just the HT.

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Originally Posted by mnn1265 View Post

How much $$$, and what capacity are we talking for these BD changers?

I think the latest Sony Bluray changer is a 400 discs monster and cost around $2k.
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 01:13 PM
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i seem to remember a review in the ultra high end section where a guy gutted the BD changer because it was very poorly made and kept eating his discs... I have never liked those big honkin things, so i'd vote for ripping. The new popcorn hour box backed by a pc with massive hard drives would be where i'd look.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1182026

...for those looking to be entertained...
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post #11 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 01:35 PM
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you don't even need a pc for the backend. a nas from infrant/qnap/acer would work just fine and be silent and maintenance free.
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post #12 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goobenet View Post

i seem to remember a review in the ultra high end section where a guy gutted the BD changer because it was very poorly made and kept eating his discs... I have never liked those big honkin things, so i'd vote for ripping. The new popcorn hour box backed by a pc with massive hard drives would be where i'd look.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1182026

...for those looking to be entertained...

wow!
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 01:41 PM
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Buy / Build an HTPC w/ a Blu-Ray Drive (Combo or Burner Recommended) and make sure it has atleast 1 TB (preferrably 2TB+) Hard Drive Space. There are plenty of tools out there to copy an iso or convert to another format, and with My Movies, you can see them all. Yeah, it's a little more work, however when done, you can enjoy them all from a device that can grow with you and not be limited to the number of slots! Plus with Media Center Extenders and similar software, you'll be able to share that across your wireless N network! So everyone will be able to enjoy the movie of their choice, and leave the big room open for the big game (sport or video)!
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post #14 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 01:50 PM
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I think the price factor alone would steer me away from the disc changers... but, as others have said, it really comes down to your willingness/ability to mess with tweaking a custom PC.

The ultimate whole-home solution would be a combination of a storage server backend and HTPC frontends at each display location -- several of which could be built for the price of a single changer.

Have you ever built a computer?
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSkinsFan View Post

I think the price factor alone would steer me away from the disc changers... but, as others have said, it really comes down to your willingness/ability to mess with tweaking a custom PC.

The ultimate whole-home solution would be a combination of a storage server backend and HTPC frontends at each display location -- several of which could be built for the price of a single changer.

Have you ever built a computer?

Yeah, I don't see spending $2k on a changer - especially if they are at all prone to sticking disks or failures... yikes that could be a nightmare.

I agree the best solution would be a NAS/media server backend (serving MM3 or Mediabrowser) with HTPC frontends where full functionality is needed and something like the WD Live extenders at other places (as they can play BD, DVD, music and TV files).
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-23-2009, 04:02 PM
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$1899 http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665925651

A PCH with an internal HDD costs about $300 Sage and will store ~200 DVDs .One for each location. Or run from a PC/server with "sky's the limit" storage. The latest model even has a built in BR drive. Or a Sage media player run in stand alone mode from a server PC or in extender mode from a Sage server.

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You dig it from the ground (mining and oil)
Or you grow it (fishing, farming and forestry).
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post #17 of 19 Old 10-30-2009, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the input on my OP. After reading your responses, I may not have to sell my kids to solve the problem.

I'll admit, I don't know a lot about the tech side of all this but am willing to spend the time I need to to learn all about it as best I can. I am comfortable with PCs but am still trying to figure out all of the abilities, etc. of HTPC.

I have never built a computer before, but my last computer (it was "only" 8 years old before upgrading) was built by a friend and was "loaded" (at least at the time it was). I have a good friend now who can help me build something now if I go the HTPC route from scratch. He is a Linux guy.

I do like the idea of HTPC, but still am not completely sure of everything they can do and if they can do what I am scheming up in my mind for my setup. I hope I can convey what I want to do...

Here is what I am hoping to do:
Unfinished basement right now and I have completed the main wiring (I did most of that by myself for the first time after being taught what to do by a contractor friend) and am ready to pull the low voltage.

I have a dedicated room for Home Theater use where I will have a 50" inch plasma wall-mounted and 5.1 surround. I am planning on prewiring for a projector and also a motorized screen that would drop in front of the plasma if I ever wanted to add that to use for movies instead of the TV. My current design plan calls for conduit dropping into built in cabinetry on the sides of the front of the room for the components. I like that idea but I would really be happy if I can figure out how to get all of the components out of the Theater Room and into the mechanical room across the hallway from the HT room so the front wall only houses the TV / Screen / Speakers. I want to be able to "control the components" and "pull up the movies" remotely from the mechanical room if possible.

Whether I can hide the components or not, I am placing my wireless router and wired ethernet hub in the mechanical room, and plan on adding a multi-zone controller and amplifier for distributed audio through a few zones in the basement and a few upstairs. This is also where I have planned on placing the HTPC if I go that route.

The other thing I am planning on doing is using my PC (which is upstairs in the main living room) to control my iTunes and possibly stream some Netflix movies to the HT room. It would be nice to also set things up to have a PVR (I can't wait to finish this basement and get rid of the stupid VCR!)

Whew. Hopefully that didn't confuse everyone too much or bore you to death. That being said .....

1. Is HTPC still the best choice for my needs?

2. What exactly are all options that a HTPC can do?

3. Can I remotely control the components and HTPC from the mechanical room to the HT and remotely pull up my ripped DVDs??

Thanks for your responses ..... remember, keep your explanations simple as I am a newbie to all this stuff (but willing to learn)..... sorry for getting slightly off topic.

My Home Theater and Game Room Build -- IN PROGRESS
THE SPUD CELLAR
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post #18 of 19 Old 10-31-2009, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywilly View Post

1. Is HTPC still the best choice for my needs?

Yes, along with a good server backend and a decent stereo receiver, you should be able to do all that you plan to do.

Quote:
2. What exactly are all options that a HTPC can do?

HTPC's are by-far the single most powerful media solutions you can use. Period.

They may require more work than some cheaper/easier options, but what you gain in capabilities can't be matched by ANY other multimedia alternative. Period.

Bottom line: there is nothing you can't do with media if you're patient enough to configure HTPC clients, of some sort, at each display.

Quote:
3. Can I remotely control the components and HTPC from the mechanical room to the HT and remotely pull up my ripped DVDs??

Easily -- it just takes longer wiring and an infrared receiver (blaster) in the main room that will send all signals to your wiring closet/mechanical room.

For a room like the one you're planning -- which is VERY similar to my plans, by the way -- you should spend some time hanging out in the "Dedicated Theater Design & Construction" and "General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms" sections of these forums. There are threads on hundreds of other rooms just like the one you're planning to build, so studying those threads is pretty much mandatory reading for you.

In order to build my new space, I've been studying those forums for months. Luckily, AVS has separate forums for each major component in your planned room. I suggest spending a lot of time in each forum researching one piece of the puzzle at a time until it all comes together in one beautiful spec-sheet.

Come back here when you're ready to build your server and HTPC front end specifically. We'll take good care of you then.

Good luck!
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-31-2009, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Skins:

Thank you for the additional information and thread recommendations to complete my project. I will head over there and then let everyone know how it turns out and when I am ready to do the HTPC as I will likely need some further advice and help at that time.

My Home Theater and Game Room Build -- IN PROGRESS
THE SPUD CELLAR
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