Is anyone using 7mc for their entire collection without MediaBrowser/MyMovies? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 64 Old 05-02-2012, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm having stability issues with my HTPC that's not making it easy for the family to use. I've switched over all of the TVs to Apple TVs and got rid of the Xbox 360 extenders. But I can't do that for the theater where I need HD audio. I've been using MediaBrowser, but I'm not happy with it. My current plan is to cut down the amount of software running at a time. I believe I can put Home Videos, TV Series, and Music Videos under the 'Pictures + Videos' menu option in the standard 7mc.

This board (and the general HTPC community) is huge supporter of MediaBrowser, and rightfully so. That being said, is there anyone not using it that's using 7mc as more than a DVR? What are your reasons for that choice and how has it been working out?

On a similar note, what have you done to make the experience more friendly for family (older and younger generations alike)?
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post #2 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 03:22 AM
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Media center was becoming too much of a hassle. Everything was slow to load and I was experiencing frequent crashes. Wife was complaining and we'd stopped using MB, opting instead for the good ole windows explorer find the folder and play method.

My final solution. I switched to XBMC. It's a stand alone front-end that organizes your movies, tv, music, and pictures. It's blazing fast. I'm able to open the program and start browsing movies/tv in 10 seconds. MediaBrowser was becoming a drag the more movies I added. XBMC also has a ton of skin options that give it a stylish look and allows you to customize the way you browse your movies. There also a ton of plugins that give you various features like AppleTV steaming and PVR functions (still in the testing process). Overall I would say a great improvement over MB and at least worth a try out.
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post #3 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James_stewart View Post

Media center was becoming too much of a hassle. Everything was slow to load and I was experiencing frequent crashes. Wife was complaining and we'd stopped using MB, opting instead for the good ole windows explorer find the folder and play method.

My final solution. I switched to XBMC. It's a stand alone front-end that organizes your movies, tv, music, and pictures. It's blazing fast. I'm able to open the program and start browsing movies/tv in 10 seconds. MediaBrowser was becoming a drag the more movies I added. XBMC also has a ton of skin options that give it a stylish look and allows you to customize the way you browse your movies. There also a ton of plugins that give you various features like AppleTV steaming and PVR functions (still in the testing process). Overall I would say a great improvement over MB and at least worth a try out.

Just curious, why did you get rid of the extenders? What are you using for TV/DVR now?

I second the XBMC comment. There's no harm in trying it. It is much quicker than WMC. There's also Plex, which is based on XBMC. Which Apple TV's are those? If you can jailbreak them, you can install Plex, which might simply your setup a bit.
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post #4 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James_stewart View Post

Media center was becoming too much of a hassle. Everything was slow to load and I was experiencing frequent crashes. Wife was complaining and we'd stopped using MB, opting instead for the good ole windows explorer find the folder and play method.

My final solution. I switched to XBMC. It's a stand alone front-end that organizes your movies, tv, music, and pictures. It's blazing fast. I'm able to open the program and start browsing movies/tv in 10 seconds. MediaBrowser was becoming a drag the more movies I added. XBMC also has a ton of skin options that give it a stylish look and allows you to customize the way you browse your movies. There also a ton of plugins that give you various features like AppleTV steaming and PVR functions (still in the testing process). Overall I would say a great improvement over MB and at least worth a try out.

I was this close to just using the file explorer with a mouse and keyboard. Everyone in the family knows how to use Windows so it was just a matter of leaving the folders on the desktop. I told myself to give 7mc one last shot without Mediabrowser. The file explorer is next!

I've tried using XBMC about 4 different times now on this HTPC. (I was a user of it right when it came out for the Xbox.) I just can never get it to look the way I want to. I know I can if I spend some time getting over the learning curve. I'm either dumb, or just missing a big piece of information regarding the setup. Every time I sit down to configure it, I just get overwhelmed and say eff it.

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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Just curious, why did you get rid of the extenders? What are you using for TV/DVR now?

I second the XBMC comment. There's no harm in trying it. It is much quicker than WMC. There's also Plex, which is based on XBMC. Which Apple TV's are those? If you can jailbreak them, you can install Plex, which might simply your setup a bit.

The extenders were slower than I liked. I didn't like that everytime we wanted to watch something we'd have to sit there while the Xbox booted up. It's pretty fast, but not as quick as something that stays on all the time. TV isn't something I need becaues no one watches it here. I can't even remember the last time the cable box was turned on. So I just have it hooked up with coax. We don't subscribe to HD cable anyway and I think we have less than 100 channels. I have the tuners on the HTPC just incase someone decides to watch TV on the projector because it doesn't have its own tuner.

One of the gen 2 was jailbroken running XBMC actually. I got fed up with it and upgraded to the new iOS. I don't want to use Plex just because of having to need Plex Media Server. If only they let me just add shared from my server.

I think I've gone through all of the possible software I can use (JRiver being the most recent) and keep coming back to 7mc. Unless someone can figure out why I can't get my head around XBMC I think I'm just going to stick with it.
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post #5 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:18 AM
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From your post, you mentioned issues with MediaBrowser. Did you use MyMovies? If so, same problems?

I tried 7MC movie collection and as others said, it was slow and very erratic in performance. I use MM4 as I like the integrated look with 7MC and have had no issues.
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post #6 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgrinch View Post

From your post, you mentioned issues with MediaBrowser. Did you use MyMovies? If so, same problems?

I tried 7MC movie collection and as others said, it was slow and very erratic in performance. I use MM4 as I like the integrated look with 7MC and have had no issues.

I have not actually. I just assumed MediaBrowser was the one to use based on people's opinions here. I'm actually not even that well versed on it. What does it offer on top of 7mc besides artwork?
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post #7 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:24 AM
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I had to dump media brower also, it bogged down my system too much. Too bad really, you won't find a better looking front end than MB, but the downside was too much.

I switched to XBMC also for now. It seems to handle large media libraries much more smoothly than MB. Later this year I'm going to put in a SSD into my HTPC and give MB a try again, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
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post #8 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:25 AM
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If you're having trouble with XBMC then maybe you should check out assassin's guides. They're very straightforward and easy to follow. Also what's wrong with Plex Media Server? Is it not compatible with your server? One of the reasons I like Plex is because it's very easy to set up and use.
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post #9 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scl23enn4m3 View Post

I have not actually. I just assumed MediaBrowser was the one to use based on people's opinions here. I'm actually not even that well versed on it. What does it offer on top of 7mc besides artwork?

It has many similar options as MediaBrowser does, though not as a robust skinning engine, if I had to give it a general description.

I think it's collection management piece is top notch (MB is good, but I didn't like it for whatever reason). The movies strip in WMC fits very well with the overall design of 7MC (you can turn off the stock one) so it doesn't look like an add-in. It offers different views, coverart, rolling backdrops, folder monitoring, movie trailers, etc. It also has TV series management in MM4. I also like that I cant set specifc configuration options per extender.

You can download a free demo for about 30 days and then the point system will kick in and you'll either have to contribute points or pay for the setup. I paid and think it's worth it - though the support forums are a bit lacking in response times.

Best thing to do is just try it out and see if it'll work... my wife uses it and has no issues.
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post #10 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:36 AM
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I'm just using MyMovies and myTV (the latter of which isn't really supported much any more, but works perfectly for me), and have had zero problems with everything.

If I didn't need CableCard support, I probably wouldn't use Media Center either. However, since I do, this is the best solution for me.

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post #11 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

It is much quicker than WMC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cshaw88 View Post

I had to dump media brower also, it bogged down my system too much. Too bad really, you won't find a better looking front end than MB, but the downside was too much.

These statements simply aren't true. If you take the time to setup WMC and Media Browser properly then there is very little difference in the speed of Media Browser vs XBMC.

I have had this argument before so I made this video showing my setup and how fluid it is.

BTW I use both so I don't have a reason to prefer one over the other. But to say that Media Browser is slow just isn't true.

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post #12 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:41 AM
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Looks like I am alone in using just WMC7 to organize all 1500 of our movie titles. The library was slow when we used HDD for OS, but once we switched to SSD (library is still on an HDD) the icons and library in general is a lot faster.

I am using YAMMM to auto load cover art and synopsys into the individual movie folders.

Media Browser is good if your library is not organized to begin with. Ours is pretty organized, movies are in their individual folders with associated files; cover art JPEG, and synopsys XML, as well as extra stuff from the discs such as alternative endings, bloopers, and other junk that is generally on DVD/BD.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #13 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

These statements simply aren't true. If you take the time to setup WMC and Media Browser properly then there is very little difference in the speed of Media Browser vs XBMC.

Maybe you're right assassin, but that video isn't very convincing. It looks very sluggish compared to Plex on my machines. Obviously our hardware isn't the same, but things just aren't exactly zippy in that video.
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post #14 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Maybe you're right assassin, but that video isn't very convincing. It looks very sluggish compared to Plex on my machines. Obviously our hardware isn't the same, but things just aren't exactly zippy in that video.

Scrolling left to right is exactly the same. That particular theme has a slight fade between screens intentionally for effect. Others are instant.

Its the scrolling where opponents have attacked media browser in the past as being choppy and unusable which is what I ess highlighting in this video.
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post #15 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 09:29 AM
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I have a few hundred movies and another few hundred cds, and I only use the stock WMC interface. I have all Vista era hardware, nothing fancy. It just seems to work out ok for me.

I tried Media Browser, but I think what kept me from using it is that I've never used an automatic meta scrapper before. I just download dvdxml files whenever I buy a new movie. Automating it seemed to introduce too many false matches (examples - Casino Royale, Gone in 60 Seconds, Bad Boys)

I'd really really like to use it, but it would require someone else setting it up for me. I tried a number of different themes with it but just decided it would take too long to set up.

Assassins Media Browser videos look great. I just don't have the patience to do that.

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post #16 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scl23enn4m3 View Post

I was this close to just using the file explorer with a mouse and keyboard. Everyone in the family knows how to use Windows so it was just a matter of leaving the folders on the desktop. I told myself to give 7mc one last shot without Mediabrowser. The file explorer is next!

Keep it simple. If everyone in your family knows how to use a keyboard/mouse and is okay with it, then just use windows explorer. That's what I would do.

I like MediaBrowser, and other frontends like XBMC, but most of the time they're just in the way and slowing you down in starting the movie you really want to watch.

Ask yourself, why do you want to use a frontend? Are you trying to make it as easy/quick to use as possible or to provide eye candy (that nobody cares about after the first couple times using it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I have had this argument before so I made this video showing my setup and how fluid it is.

BTW I use both so I don't have a reason to prefer one over the other. But to say that Media Browser is slow just isn't true.

That doesn't help your argument. I think that's slow and sluggish and takes too long to find the movie you really want to watch. Sure, it's cool looking but that doesn't really matter.
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post #17 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

These statements simply aren't true. If you take the time to setup WMC and Media Browser properly then there is very little difference in the speed of Media Browser vs XBMC.

I have had this argument before so I made this video showing my setup and how fluid it is.

BTW I use both so I don't have a reason to prefer one over the other. But to say that Media Browser is slow just isn't true.


I watched your video. I set MB up the same way.

I don't recall making a blanket statement that MB was slow, it just doesn't perform well on my system for whatever reason. With all the different hardware available is should be no suprise that some users will get different results from the same software.

I've been building HTPCs for 10 years, so I doubt it's user error. My system has a core i3 540 with 4gb of ram, so the hardware isn't inherently slow either.
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post #18 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

Keep it simple. If everyone in your family knows how to use a keyboard/mouse and is okay with it, then just use windows explorer. That's what I would do.

I like MediaBrowser, and other frontends like XBMC, but most of the time they're just in the way and slowing you down in starting the movie you really want to watch.

Ask yourself, why do you want to use a frontend? Are you trying to make it as easy/quick to use as possible or to provide eye candy (that nobody cares about after the first couple times using it).



That doesn't help your argument. I think that's slow and sluggish and takes too long to find the movie you really want to watch. Sure, it's cool looking but that doesn't really matter.

What part is slow and sluggish?

Btw you hit a letter and it takes you to that movie. Same as in xbmc.
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post #19 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

Keep it simple. If everyone in your family knows how to use a keyboard/mouse and is okay with it, then just use windows explorer. That's what I would do.
I like MediaBrowser, and other frontends like XBMC, but most of the time they're just in the way and slowing you down in starting the movie you really want to watch.
Ask yourself, why do you want to use a frontend? Are you trying to make it as easy/quick to use as possible or to provide eye candy (that nobody cares about after the first couple times using it).
That doesn't help your argument. I think that's slow and sluggish and takes too long to find the movie you really want to watch. Sure, it's cool looking but that doesn't really matter.

Sure, a KB/M is faster, but not by that much.
Using a UI like MB or MM has several advantages. Eye candy is just one part of it. The primary advantage for me is the use of a remote control. I use a MC remote (with my HTPCs), which are designed to work with MC and by extension MB/MM. I have had one since the days of XP MCE and can't live without one now. In fact, I still have and use the original Microsoft Media Center remote.
Besides, my collection is spread across 10 drives; some users have even more than that. Its not easy to remember where each movie is located. Sure a search can be performed, but that's not really quick, is it?
With a UI like MB, all my collections are in one place, no matter which drive they are in. All 'TV Shows' under one icon, as are DVDs, BDs, Box Sets etc.
I say that we, as HTPC users on Windows, are lucky that we have MC at all. Plus MB, which is free to boot.
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post #20 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Looks like I am alone in using just WMC7 to organize all 1500 of our movie titles. The library was slow when we used HDD for OS, but once we switched to SSD (library is still on an HDD) the icons and library in general is a lot faster.

I find that WMC's "Movie Library" is horribly slow if you use networked storage for your movies, which is why I had to switch to an alternative.

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post #21 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

I find that WMC's "Movie Library" is horribly slow if you use networked storage for your movies, which is why I had to switch to an alternative.

When is the last time you tried it? Major improvements over the previous versions.
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post #22 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

When is the last time you tried it? Major improvements over the previous versions.

The built-in Movie Library? Probably about a year ago. Amongst other things it always would not respond for about a minute and not show any cover art for that time until it rescanned and then let me move around.

I didn't think there were ever any updates to that which would make a difference, only changes from Vista to Win7 etc.

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post #23 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 11:30 AM
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i3-2105, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 64 GB SSD and MediaBrowser is blazing fast and smooth. I don't have near the library some people have but library size shouldn't really effect much since all the images are stored on the SSD in a cache.

I also had MediaBrowser on a Quad Core desktop, with 4 gigs of RAM but a HDD for the OS and MediaBrowser wasn't nearly as responsive as it was on my HTPC.

IMO a SSD makes all the difference in the world for responsiveness in MediaBrowser.
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post #24 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

The built-in Movie Library? Probably about a year ago. Amongst other things it always would not respond for about a minute and not show any cover art for that time until it rescanned and then let me move around.

I didn't think there were ever any updates to that which would make a difference, only changes from Vista to Win7 etc.

Media Browser really is almost a completely different product than it was a year ago. They completely rebuilt the engine.

I would consider trying it again. If you like I will give you complimentary access to my guides so you can see how I set it all up and then report back here and let everyone know what you think.
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post #25 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDiesel14 View Post

i3-2105, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 64 GB SSD and MediaBrowser is blazing fast and smooth. I don't have near the library some people have but library size shouldn't really effect much since all the images are stored on the SSD in a cache.

I also had MediaBrowser on a Quad Core desktop, with 4 gigs of RAM but a HDD for the OS and MediaBrowser wasn't nearly as responsive as it was on my HTPC.

IMO a SSD makes all the difference in the world for responsiveness in MediaBrowser.

I have run it on a laptop with a wireless network, on a desktop and on my main HTPC. Only 2 of the 3 have an SSD. Its pretty responsive on all three. Maybe about a half second slower than XBMC when opening your library. From there its about the same.
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post #26 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 12:21 PM
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Here are 2 more videos of a HTPC setup using my guides from someone over at High Def Digest.

Notice the responsiveness when folders are opened, scrolling, etc. Don't mistake the fading in and out of the background as "sluggishness". That's the effect of this particular theme. Others don't have this effect.

Having used XBMC, Plex and Media Browser extensively now there is very little difference in speed and responsiveness, imo.

http://assassinhtpcblog.com/?p=248
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post #27 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Media Browser really is almost a completely different product than it was a year ago. They completely rebuilt the engine.

I would consider trying it again. If you like I will give you complimentary access to my guides so you can see how I set it all up and then report back here and let everyone know what you think.

Yeah I wasn't talking about Media Browser, I was talking about the built-in Movie Library. I appreciate the offer, but to be honest, I'm pretty happy with my setup as it is now using MyMovies, and don't really have the time to set up something new right now anyway.

Thanks though.

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post #28 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

These statements simply aren't true. If you take the time to setup WMC and Media Browser properly then there is very little difference in the speed of Media Browser vs XBMC.

I have had this argument before so I made this video showing my setup and how fluid it is.

BTW I use both so I don't have a reason to prefer one over the other. But to say that Media Browser is slow just isn't true.


I'm sorry but this video is not very convincing. I've used MB for over 3 years, always updating it when a new release becomes available. And it's grown progressively more bloated. It used to be just a simple plugin for WMC7, but now it's running programs in the background and it now takes 5 times longer to load than it did before. I understand the improvements are for functionality, but if you're not upgrading your system the original version was lighter and easier for less powerful systems to handle.

This doesn't seem to be the case for XBMC. The install seems light and the load times are cut significantly. Yes it takes a learning curve, but it's worth it. I've used MyMovies, MB, Jriver, and others, but XBMC seems to be lightest and quickest movie organizer.

Just my 2 cents. Windows MC7 is however, the best software for watching and recording TV. Nothing even comes close as of right now. I was using SageTV for awhile and it was nice, but WMC7 is still tops in my book.
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post #29 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

Yeah I wasn't talking about Media Browser, I was talking about the built-in Movie Library. I appreciate the offer, but to be honest, I'm pretty happy with my setup as it is now using MyMovies, and don't really have the time to set up something new right now anyway.

Thanks though.

Not a problem.

I also just remembered that you can adjust the background transitions in that theme as well if you like. May the fade longer, shorter, etc.

I like the transition. But I understand if others don't. Again, its all able to be customized.

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post #30 of 64 Old 05-03-2012, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by James_stewart View Post

I'm sorry but this video is not very convincing. I've used MB for over 3 years, always updating it when a new release becomes available. And it's grown progressively more bloated. It used to be just a simple plugin for WMC7, but now it's running programs in the background and it now takes 5 times longer to load than it did before. I understand the improvements are for functionality, but if you're not upgrading your system the original version was lighter and easier for less powerful systems to handle.

This doesn't seem to be the case for XBMC. The install seems light and the load times are cut significantly. Yes it takes a learning curve, but it's worth it. I've used MyMovies, MB, Jriver, and others, but XBMC seems to be lightest and quickest movie organizer.

Just my 2 cents. Windows MC7 is however, the best software for watching and recording TV. Nothing even comes close as of right now. I was using SageTV for awhile and it was nice, but WMC7 is still tops in my book.

This is one of those un-winnable arguments so after this post I am done.

I use all of the above. I have absolutely no stake in what people use as we do all of the above.

As I stated that video was made because some said that SCROLLING in Media Browser was choppy, would make your HTPC crash, not usable, etc.

Just now I just reduced all the transition effects to their lowest numbers on my *laptop* running Media Browser via wireless network and its as responsive as XBMC or the others.

As I have said over and over and over --- they are all great pieces of software. None are perfect and you can nitpick any and all of them if you want. Use what works for you and realize that no matter what you are using isn't perfect to the next guy.

Also --- if it takes 5x longer to load you are using it wrong. Mine loads in literally a second.
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