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post #1 of 36 Old 06-07-2010, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I've had this question burning my brains out for the past two weeks. I'm trying to figure out a way to consolidate my current system to one that will work as close to seamlessly with a home network and server I am going to be setting up.

Currently I run everything through a projector and my receiver acts as the only centralized AV data processing unit. It's basically set up as a simple HDMI switch and audio decoder. Through the receiver, I run Netflix through a Roku box, internet radio and streaming music through a Roku soundbridge, and Blu ray with a dedicated player. I would like to add functionality to view networked shared pictures and video which currently is an impossibility with my setup.

I am also going to be moving soon and will want to set up a network to centrally store music, video, etc. I'd like to access this data remotely in both a home theater and on a TV.

I want to figure out a way to have it all. I want to run a DVR from the HTPC connected to the projector and also be able to watch material saved by the DVR remotely on the TV in another room. Basically, I'm thinking a HTPC would free up the blu ray player and both roku bridges which could be used elsewhere if necessary to have access to the same functions (streaming audio, netflix, blu ray).

My biggest concern right now is how to pick the right component that will allow me to access the network and HTPC remotely from the other TV. Is this even possible at this point? I've been looking at extenders which have seemingly fallen from the market and DLNA which is difficult to discern whether it will work for my purposes. How would you do it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 36 Old 06-07-2010, 12:04 PM
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the xbox 360 is the extender you are looking for, plus it has neflix streaming and will have hulu soon. It can connect to a win7 htpc and access recorded content and even access the live tv stream and set recordings.

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post #3 of 36 Old 06-07-2010, 12:10 PM
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Any DLNA device should work fine, as long as you don't need to access the HTPC's TV tuners (anything concerning live TV). If you need that, the XBox 360 is the only currently produced "media center extender".

DLNA devices can access files exposed on a Windows PC, so as long as the file is there, you can play it.
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post #4 of 36 Old 06-07-2010, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there anything that the Xbox won't do in terms of functionality? Are there easy to use remotes for the Xbox or is everything done through a controller?

I would need to remotely access the DVR on the HTPC so that I could program the DVR from the TV and also from the home theater. I would most likely be using most of the DVR from the TV.

Thanks for all your help!
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post #5 of 36 Old 06-07-2010, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

Is there anything that the Xbox won't do in terms of functionality? Are there easy to use remotes for the Xbox or is everything done through a controller?

I would need to remotely access the DVR on the HTPC so that I could program the DVR from the TV and also from the home theater. I would most likely be using most of the DVR from the TV.

Thanks for all your help!

Play blu-ray discs and be quiet You can get a remote, but I believe everything can be accessed with the controller as well.

A DLNA TV would still let you play the DVR files (even while they're still recording), just not initiate them.
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post #6 of 36 Old 06-07-2010, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks!

In terms of initiating recordings, I'm a little unclear how a DVR works. Does it save to the hard drive as a specific file type that a DLNA TV could read and replay? Do you know if the TV has all the in-movie options like FF and pause? Would there be any other way to access the DVR on the HTPC besides the xbox or directing working through the HTPC?

I think that's all the questions!

Thanks for all your help!
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post #7 of 36 Old 06-07-2010, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

Thanks!

In terms of initiating recordings, I'm a little unclear how a DVR works. Does it save to the hard drive as a specific file type that a DLNA TV could read and replay? Do you know if the TV has all the in-movie options like FF and pause? Would there be any other way to access the DVR on the HTPC besides the xbox or directing working through the HTPC?

I think that's all the questions!

Thanks for all your help!

Windows Media Center DVR feature saves the files in either .dvr-ms or .wtv files depending on the version of windows. .dvr-ms files contain mpeg2 data. .wtv files can container either mpeg2 or h264. I do not know if all DLNA device can read these files.

I use the xbox360 as an extender to my Windows 7 HTPC. I do have pause/resume on the xbox. FF/REW is available on .wmv, .dvr-ms, and .wtv files.

-T
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post #8 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 04:29 AM
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through the xbox, you access a extended version of the media center interface, it looks just like the main htpc interface. from there you can access the guide or watch live tv and set recordings on the guide. you can access your recorded tv folder, and if you stop the playback you can resume it somewhere else.

you also have the eye candy associated with programs like media browser to view your movie collection.

however some downsides is it wont extend certain plugins like netflix or hulu. the xbox also has issues with certain file formats like .mkv or dvds ripped to folders. there are ways around it, however with transcoding.

if tv/dvr extending is important get a xbox, if movies or video is more important, get some other type of player or connected tv.

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post #9 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

Thanks!

In terms of initiating recordings, I'm a little unclear how a DVR works. Does it save to the hard drive as a specific file type that a DLNA TV could read and replay? Do you know if the TV has all the in-movie options like FF and pause? Would there be any other way to access the DVR on the HTPC besides the xbox or directing working through the HTPC?

I think that's all the questions!

Thanks for all your help!

As others have stated, it saves to the hard disk. Vista is dvr-ms files, 7 is wtv files. Honestly, I'm not sure if DLNA devices can play those, but it would probably depend on the specific model. DLNA is just a way to expose files; it doesn't define any playback rules.

If it were me and I really wanted DVR on both, I'd probably build two HTPCs and have them record to a common location.
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post #10 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

through the xbox, you access a extended version of the media center interface, it looks just like the main htpc interface. from there you can access the guide or watch live tv and set recordings on the guide. you can access your recorded tv folder, and if you stop the playback you can resume it somewhere else.

you also have the eye candy associated with programs like media browser to view your movie collection.

however some downsides is it wont extend certain plugins like netflix or hulu. the xbox also has issues with certain file formats like .mkv or dvds ripped to folders. there are ways around it, however with transcoding.

if tv/dvr extending is important get a xbox, if movies or video is more important, get some other type of player or connected tv.

You mention it won't extend netflix or hulu. Are there workarounds for getting those to work or would I be better off keeping netflix and other internet streaming through the roku?

I also have seen that xbox 360 will let you download a netflix streaming app from xbox live.

Thanks for all the advice!
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post #11 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

You mention it won't extend netflix or hulu. Are there workarounds for getting those to work or would I be better off keeping netflix and other internet streaming through the roku?

I also have seen that xbox 360 will let you download a netflix streaming app from xbox live.

Thanks for all the advice!

You can do Netflix through Xbox Live, but it requires a Xbox Live Gold subscription, which costs $50/year on top of the Netflix subscription.

I think you'd be better off with two HTPCs.
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post #12 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

through the xbox, you access a extended version of the media center interface, it looks just like the main htpc interface. from there you can access the guide or watch live tv and set recordings on the guide. you can access your recorded tv folder, and if you stop the playback you can resume it somewhere else.

you also have the eye candy associated with programs like media browser to view your movie collection. ...

If you can find one of the Linksys DMA2100 media center extenders (no longer in production), they provide about the same media center capability at the xbox and have the advantage of being totally silent.
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post #13 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 09:49 AM
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You can do Netflix through Xbox Live, but it requires a Xbox Live Gold subscription, which costs $50/year on top of the Netflix subscription.

I think you'd be better off with two HTPCs.

I agree with the recommendation to have multiple HTPCs.

There are multiple ways to set up a system, and I think that the right setup depends on the needs and priorities of the user. I've tried a number of different setups including extenders (Linksys and XBox). For me, the best setup is the following:

1) WHS (currently with 8 TB storage) to centrally store movies, Recorded TV and music

2) an individual HTPC at each TV in the house (currently 3).

The reason I went away from extenders is because the inability to watch Blu-ray content without major manipulations (i.e., work) as well as overall responsiveness of the user interface.
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post #14 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree with the recommendation to have multiple HTPCs.

There are multiple ways to set up a system, and I think that the right setup depends on the needs and priorities of the user. I've tried a number of different setups including extenders (Linksys and XBox). For me, the best setup is the following:

1) WHS (currently with 8 TB storage) to centrally store movies, Recorded TV and music

2) an individual HTPC at each TV in the house (currently 3).

The reason I went away from extenders is because the inability to watch Blu-ray content without major manipulations (i.e., work) as well as overall responsiveness of the user interface.

I'm thinking of a similar setup although I'm not planning on doing bluray rips and storage but rather a bluray player at each of the two locations. I would like to use a WHS to store info and perhaps begin the conversion of all my dvds to digital for streaming. Right now, I'm most concerned with finding the most cost effective solution. I priced out a HTPC and it seemed greater than the cost of an xbox. I think ultimately I would put a HTPC at each location. Then again, new developments in TVs and other components might obviate all of this in the future.

I saw vmcPlayit and thought it might be a possible way to get free Netflix and other content without a Live subscription or subscription cost. Has anyone used this before?
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post #15 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

Thanks!

In terms of initiating recordings, I'm a little unclear how a DVR works. Does it save to the hard drive as a specific file type that a DLNA TV could read and replay? Do you know if the TV has all the in-movie options like FF and pause? Would there be any other way to access the DVR on the HTPC besides the xbox or directing working through the HTPC?

I think that's all the questions!

Thanks for all your help!

Please be aware that even if the device has a DLNA client on it, it does not indicate that it will work with your DLNA server.

For example, I have Cisco/Linksys RAID that has built-in TwonkaMedia DLNA server on it, but my Sony Z5100 TV (which as a DLNA client) will not even list the music or movies. Only certain DLNA servers (like ps3mediaserver) will work with the Sony TV. The Sony TV will only play mpeg2 and avi files, all other files will need to be transcoded (to mgeg2) on the fly in order to watch them.
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post #16 of 36 Old 06-08-2010, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

I'm thinking of a similar setup although I'm not planning on doing bluray rips and storage but rather a bluray player at each of the two locations. I would like to use a WHS to store info and perhaps begin the conversion of all my dvds to digital for streaming. Right now, I'm most concerned with finding the most cost effective solution. I priced out a HTPC and it seemed greater than the cost of an xbox. I think ultimately I would put a HTPC at each location. Then again, new developments in TVs and other components might obviate all of this in the future.

I saw vmcPlayit and thought it might be a possible way to get free Netflix and other content without a Live subscription or subscription cost. Has anyone used this before?

If you are going down the route of Multiple HTPCs' then there is no need to convert your DVDs'. I am toying with that right now. My main HTPC is custom built CableCard Media Center system. As a 2nd HTPC I am playing with an Acer Revo AR3610. The Only problem I have with it is the Media Center UI moves a lil' slow. Outside of that it works perfectly for what you want to do. Plays everything you throw at it, even in 1080p. You can get one for a little more than a Xbox 360. The only other problem I have in this scenario is Live TV through Cablecard. Hopefully HDHomerun CableCard tuner will resolve this at the end of the year. Right now I use a HDHomerun for Over the Air HD Locals with no problems.

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post #17 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 07:52 AM
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Curtis - no need for those apostrophes. DVDs and HTPCs.

To the OP: while it's a bigger investment than an XBox 360 (both in cost and time of setup), I think you'll be happier in the long run with multiple HTPCs. The best part is that when something new comes along, you can just add the new part to the PC instead of buying a whole new device. I built my HTPC for under $500 and it handles blu-ray, Netflix, Hulu, DVR, live TV, music, photos, videos, web browsing, and radio.
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post #18 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Curtis - no need for those apostrophes. DVDs and HTPCs.

To the OP: while it's a bigger investment than an XBox 360 (both in cost and time of setup), I think you'll be happier in the long run with multiple HTPCs. The best part is that when something new comes along, you can just add the new part to the PC instead of buying a whole new device. I built my HTPC for under $500 and it handles blu-ray, Netflix, Hulu, DVR, live TV, music, photos, videos, web browsing, and radio.

Can you tell me your specs for your HTPC, software and hardware? Can it also do cable?

I'm thinking at this point of possibly going with one "master" HTPC that has a bit more power to it and then a barebones "slave" HTPC for streaming. Bad idea?
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post #19 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 08:37 AM
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Can't you get a lenovo or acer revo mini htpc for like $250? I'd go that route and have a main HTPC and a smaller one in each location.

360's need the xbox live gold subscription for netflix and it's not built into media center its at their desktop which is a bit annoying. But you can transcode dvd's on the fly to a 360, you just need a strong pc. You can't play blurays on the 360 though.

If you have a htpc you'll have access to your dvds, blurays (if strong enough video card) and recorded shows. You can't manage the dvr (add/create recordings) or watch live tv unless it has a tuner card built in. So you could have tuner cards in each HTPC and have them both record shows but one htpc will manage some shows and the other would manage others. This would work great in like a kids room that wants to record their shows and you can record your shows on the other, but have access to all of them.
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post #20 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 08:42 AM
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I rip all my dvd's and blurays on my server then have access to them on my htpc. I have no need to have a bluray or dvd drive in my htpc since it take like 15mins for dvd's and 45mins for blurays to rip and add to the collection.

You could even use your main HTPC or desktop to store everything in a centralized location as long as you have enough space in it to fit enough drives and everything. I run 2008R2 server on my desktop with 10 TB space and store everything there, Then I use windows sync center to sync my documents, music, and photos to my htpc and my laptop. This way I have my documents, music, and photos on 3 different computers as a backup and use flexraid to backup my drives with movies.
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post #21 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

Can you tell me your specs for your HTPC, software and hardware? Can it also do cable?

I'm thinking at this point of possibly going with one "master" HTPC that has a bit more power to it and then a barebones "slave" HTPC for streaming. Bad idea?

Sure, here they are. The prices are current from Newegg.

CPU: Intel Celeron E3200 (no longer available, but E3300 is $52)
Motherboard: Intel DG45ID ($100)
Memory: 2x1GB DDR2-800 ($45)
Case: Antec FusionRemote Micro 350 ($100)
Remote: Logitech Harmony 550 ($80, although I got a much better deal on it)
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR-1250 ($54)
Mouse/Keyboard: Microsoft Wireless Desktop ($30)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ($100)
BD-ROM: Lite-On BD-ROM retail ($65)
BD playback software: PowerDVD 9 Ultra upgrade ($60)

Total cost comes to $685, which is not what I paid. My CPU was $45, my remote was $45, my tuner card was $45 with a $10 rebate, and I got a free copy of Win 7 for hosting a launch party. With those changes it comes down to $525, and if you can knock off a lot by getting a cheaper case. I only chose that one because it fits in well with home theater stuff and has a built-in IR receiver.

It does cable as long as it's sent Clear QAM (which all of my channels are - we don't watch much TV so we only get the basic package). If you want to do cable without a cable box, you'd need a tuner card with CableCard support. They get expensive very fast, and you'll still need to rent a cablecard from the cable company for each PC.

If I did it again, I'd build an i3 system to get HD audio bitstreaming, but that does get more expensive. ($244 for cpu/mobo/ram instead of $197)

edit: If you don't need HD audio support for blu-rays, you can stick with the OEM version of PowerDVD (included with the drive) and be fine. I also didn't buy all of the above at once. The remote was later and the PowerDVD upgrade was later.
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post #22 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

Sure, here they are. The prices are current from Newegg.

CPU: Intel Celeron E3200 (no longer available, but E3300 is $52)
Motherboard: Intel DG45ID ($100)
Memory: 2x1GB DDR2-800 ($45)
Case: Antec FusionRemote Micro 350 ($100)
Remote: Logitech Harmony 550 ($80, although I got a much better deal on it)
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR-1250 ($54)
Mouse/Keyboard: Microsoft Wireless Desktop ($30)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ($100)
BD-ROM: Lite-On BD-ROM retail ($65)
BD playback software: PowerDVD 9 Ultra upgrade ($60)

Total cost comes to $685, which is not what I paid. My CPU was $45, my remote was $45, my tuner card was $45 with a $10 rebate, and I got a free copy of Win 7 for hosting a launch party. With those changes it comes down to $525, and if you can knock off a lot by getting a cheaper case. I only chose that one because it fits in well with home theater stuff and has a built-in IR receiver.

It does cable as long as it's sent Clear QAM (which all of my channels are - we don't watch much TV so we only get the basic package). If you want to do cable without a cable box, you'd need a tuner card with CableCard support. They get expensive very fast, and you'll still need to rent a cablecard from the cable company for each PC.

If I did it again, I'd build an i3 system to get HD audio bitstreaming, but that does get more expensive. ($244 for cpu/mobo/ram instead of $197)

edit: If you don't need HD audio support for blu-rays, you can stick with the OEM version of PowerDVD (included with the drive) and be fine. I also didn't buy all of the above at once. The remote was later and the PowerDVD upgrade was later.

Thanks for the specs. I'd probably bump up to an i3/i5 build. I'll need to be able to have blu-ray and HD-audio capabilities.

Are the basic stations sent via clearQam and therefore do not require renting a cable card? I'd like to do without a cable box if at all possible.

Does the "extender" HTPC also require a TV tuner card to be able to use DVR functions from programs saved on the master HTPC?
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post #23 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 09:48 AM
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Thanks for the specs. I'd probably bump up to an i3/i5 build. I'll need to be able to have blu-ray and HD-audio capabilities.

Are the basic stations sent via clearQam and therefore do not require renting a cable card? I'd like to do without a cable box if at all possible.

Does the "extender" HTPC also require a TV tuner card to be able to use DVR functions from programs saved on the master HTPC?

up until this morning i had all the digital channels (sans HD), now i only have HD/SD locals. so you dont need a cable card tuner to get them. you will need teh cable tuner to get any channel that is encrypted.

you dont need a tuner card on the second htpc to watch recorded shows, but since there is no guide/tv sharing currently you will need another tuner card if you plan to watch live tv on the second htpc.

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post #24 of 36 Old 06-09-2010, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

Thanks for the specs. I'd probably bump up to an i3/i5 build. I'll need to be able to have blu-ray and HD-audio capabilities.

Are the basic stations sent via clearQam and therefore do not require renting a cable card? I'd like to do without a cable box if at all possible.

Does the "extender" HTPC also require a TV tuner card to be able to use DVR functions from programs saved on the master HTPC?

Programs saved on the "master" are just video files. No TV tuner required unless you're dealing with a live TV signal.

By law, cable companies must send down all stations receivable by antenna unencrypted. My local Comcast has been sending down 100+ digital stations (all SD except for locals) unencrypted for the past 2-3 months, but I expect it to stop soon, as I'm not paying for those channels. Previously I only got networks (HD) and the Music Choice channels.

To find out what you can get without a cablecard, hook your cable directly into a TV with a ClearQAM tuner (most TVs from the past 3-4 years have one) and do a scan. I was really surprised the first time I did that. 25 analog channels, 126 digital channels.

HD Audio bitstreaming requires either an ATI 5000 series video card or an i3/i5 CPU. However, PowerDVD can decode those codecs and send out the signal over HDMI. Any receiver that supports audio over HDMI will be able to play it back. There is no audible difference; you're just switching which device is decoding the bitstream.
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post #25 of 36 Old 06-10-2010, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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You guys/gals are seriously awesome. Thank you everyone for your help! I think I have the solution figured out.

Another HTPC question... I'm trying to figure out the best way to run it without having to turn on the projector to stream music which I'm used to because of my old Roku soundbridge. I was thinking a touchscreen might be a good solution with a dual monitor setup. I also have the Harmony touchscreen remote currently but I'd probably transfer that to the TV station since it has no 2-way communication options. How do you guys do it or what would be your suggestion?
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post #26 of 36 Old 06-10-2010, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

You guys/gals are seriously awesome. Thank you everyone for your help! I think I have the solution figured out.

Another HTPC question... I'm trying to figure out the best way to run it without having to turn on the projector to stream music which I'm used to because of my old Roku soundbridge. I was thinking a touchscreen might be a good solution with a dual monitor setup. I also have the Harmony touchscreen remote currently but I'd probably transfer that to the TV station since it has no 2-way communication options. How do you guys do it or what would be your suggestion?

There's really only three options for that.

1. Get a touchscreen that can support the EXACT same resolution as your projector and mirror your displays - hard to find a small touchscreen that potentially supports 1080p

2. Get one of those small tablet type computers that run WinCE, or a smartphone, write custom software for that platform, write some more custom software that will run on the Media Center, allowing both to talk - Not easy of course.

3. Buy one of the existing integration solutions like Autonomic Media Control Server. You'll still need a tablet type PC or touchscreen etc? - Not cheap ($500 for the software alone).
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post #27 of 36 Old 06-10-2010, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barada83 View Post

You guys/gals are seriously awesome. Thank you everyone for your help! I think I have the solution figured out.

Another HTPC question... I'm trying to figure out the best way to run it without having to turn on the projector to stream music which I'm used to because of my old Roku soundbridge. I was thinking a touchscreen might be a good solution with a dual monitor setup. I also have the Harmony touchscreen remote currently but I'd probably transfer that to the TV station since it has no 2-way communication options. How do you guys do it or what would be your suggestion?

There are a few small 1080p touchscreen LCD options, but they're fairly expensive ($200-$400).

Here is one:
7" Touch Screen LCD Monitor with HDMI&DVI input support 1080P/1080I
http://www.global-e-world.com/Touch-.../vgallp001.htm
Resolution: 800*480, up to 1920*1080

You can browse others at the same site. Several of them will accept a 1080p signal and down-convert it to fit the screen. That way, you may be able to leave the HTPC on a fixed 1080p resolution.
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post #28 of 36 Old 06-10-2010, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been researching getting exactly the monitor that was pointed out, but I also feel it is a little on the expensive side. I've been browsing ebay and VGA screens are pretty readily and cheaply available. Is it possible to set up a simultaneous HDMI and VGA output or use a HDMI and DVI w/ VGA adapter to power this screen? Or is a dual HDMI the only option?

I'd actually like to not mirror the screen unless there is no other choice. I was thinking of having a dedicated "control" screen on the touchscreen and an "output" screen via HDMI. Basically, it's a dual monitor setup. I don't currently own Windows7 or vista so I have no idea what limitations there are to something like this.

In the worst case, I could run a two monitor plug and play which would run HDMI primarily if connected and VGA if HDMI is not and switch automatically when the projector gets turned on. It would do the necessary function but not be nearly as slick as having both working simultaneously.
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post #29 of 36 Old 06-10-2010, 12:55 PM
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You can have simultaneous displays with any supported connection, but if you're mirroring them, the resolutions have to be identical. If your touchscreen only supports 640x480 (VGA) then your TV will be set to 640x480 too (lowest resolution wins).

That's why the touchscreen supporting 1080p is important, even if it doesn't actually display at that resolution.

And of course, even if you do get the second display, the effect is lost unless you do it wirelessly.
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post #30 of 36 Old 06-11-2010, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

You can have simultaneous displays with any supported connection, but if you're mirroring them, the resolutions have to be identical. If your touchscreen only supports 640x480 (VGA) then your TV will be set to 640x480 too (lowest resolution wins).

That's why the touchscreen supporting 1080p is important, even if it doesn't actually display at that resolution.

And of course, even if you do get the second display, the effect is lost unless you do it wirelessly.

I get that I couldn't do a mirroring using a VGA touchscreen. I see the worst case being I'd have to turn off the touchscreen and use a remote when using the projector and use the touchscreen while running the system w/o the projector. I actually wouldn't have need for a mirroring setup if there were alternate display options such as a dedicated operational display for the touchscreen and a dedicated output display that would be for the projector. I see a few cases that have touch lcds in them but they are really expensive and awkward to use because of their location on the front of the case. I'd like to run a screen that would sit on top of my media cabinet that would let me run the system from the couch, sort of like the setup a lot of educational and business conference rooms use. To control remotely, I'd use my pocket PC and the remote software to run it over wifi. So the touchscreen is basically only for point of service at this point. To get by without a remote and set up a system using girder to automate the home theater is what I am going for with the previously mentioned wifi remote control for all other applications.
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