I'm looking to take the next step with my HTPC setup. First off, I'll tell you where I am now.
Single room HTPC setup; MediaBrowser for the movies and TV shows, and full metadata for all the files. All the metadata is in the "folder.jpg, showname.xml" format (that's generated by metabrowser), and it works fantastic on my HTPC w/Mediabrowser. My movies are in the format "\\moviename\\folder.jpg, backdrop.jpg, and then mymovies.xml". Again, all of this works wonderfully on the HTPC.
My files are in a variety of formats; primarily MPG2 (direct rip from DVD, no recompression, but all the titles/features pulled out, just the main movie in a single file with an .MPG extension) and MKV (for the TV shows; mostly 720P).
What I'd like to accomplish:
1) Extend the MediaBrowser (or something very similar) interface to the rest of the TVs in the house. Most important is keeping the metadata intact, I'd like to be able to see the episode images/and descriptions of all the TV shows and movies. I'd also like it to retain the "Showname/Season/Episode" layout that MediaBrowser uses.
2) Add live TV and PVR functionality to the system.
3) Allow live TV and PVR recorded shows to be extended to all the other TVs.
This is what I've looked at so far (and the problems that I see with each of them):
Ceton 4 tuner CableCard receiver (no problem with this, just costs too much and it's available yet) - This will get my live TV and PVR functionality on the HTPC
XBox 360 - This will allow me to extend the MediaBrowser interface to other TVs. The problems I see with this is that I'm sure that it's not going to support all my codecs (MKV in particular), and I'm not sure it can play live TV?
Popcorn Hour - This will get me around any codec problems, but I'll lose my MediaBrowser interface. I'm also not sure if this will allow any live TV viewing (or PVR viewing). Finally, I'm not sure if the PCH will understand (and correctly format) the folder structure that I am already using for my movies and TV series?
Moxi (in lieu of the tuner card) w/MoxiMates - This will get my good PVR functionality, but won't do anything for viewing my saved media files (DVDs and downloaded series); I'd still have to add a PCH to do that.
The "best solution" that I can come up with right now is PCH (or XB360) + a MoxiMate at each TV. What I'd like to do is get down to one device that can both view all my movies (without transcoding/loss of quality) AND be able to extend live TV from the HTPC around the house.
My specific questions are below (but feel free to comment, in general, about what I'm trying to do):
1) Will PCH see my folder structures and show the metadata correctly for movies (\\MovieName\\MovieName.MPG, folder.jpg, backdrop.jpg, and mymovies.xml)?
2) Will PCH see my folder structures and show the metadata correctly for shows (\\Showname\\Season1\\Episode.MKV, backdrop.jpg, folder.jpg, \\Showname\\Season1\\metadata\\epsodeimage.jpg, Epside.XML)?
3) Will the XB360 allow me to watch live TV (and access the PVR functionality) on all the TVs (assuming I have a quad tuner in the HTPC)?
4) Will the XB360 allow me to watch my MKV files (and all other file types) with re-encoding them?
5) Will the XB360 give me my "full" MediaBrowser interface?
Again, please feel free to add/ask any questions that I'm overlooking, as well as any suggestions you have for a better/cleaner solution than what I'm trying to do.