OpenELEC: Why did I ever use XBMC on Windows? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 235 Old 10-14-2012, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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So I had heard about OpenELEC but was disappointed it wasn't updated for Eden yet. With version 2.0 imminent with all the Eden goodness, I decided to give release candidate 2 a try. Basically, it's a very lightweight linux install with XBMC installed and nothing else. I am amazed how well it works. It takes about five minutes to install, and it's working perfectly so far. It also boots very quickly and uses less resources than Windows. No more worrying about Windows updates, inadvertent notifications, problematic drivers, losing focus, etc. Honestly, unless you run external programs on your XBMC HTPC, I can't see why you would use Windows over this. After years and years of using HTPCs, mine finally feel like appliances. If you're having any issues with your current installs or are making an HTPC for the first time, I recommend giving it a try.

Update: OpenELEC 2.0 Final just came out (10/16)

Update 2: OpenELEC 3.0 released!

http://openelec.tv/
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post #2 of 235 Old 10-14-2012, 09:57 PM
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Until you try to record something. wink.gif
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post #3 of 235 Old 10-15-2012, 07:46 AM
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After being prompted by another thread last week I tried out the 1.99 Beta build. I haven't had much time to mess with it, but I haven't been able to get the audio working yet. I hope I can get it working and the real 2.0 release comes out soon, I've got about a month to finish this 'appliance' before the wife and kids take it over! biggrin.gif If I can't get this working I'll have to go back to XBMCuntu, which did work, but definately boots slower, and doesn't run as quickly on my underpowered Fusion build.
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post #4 of 235 Old 10-15-2012, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vladd View Post

Until you try to record something. wink.gif

Are you referring to WMC? I'm not saying people should abandon WMC for Openelec. I'm more talking about people who use XBMC on Windows machines. Also, for what it's worth, the newest version of Openelec DOES include live TV and PVR support. I'm pretty sure that feature is still in active development, though, and I wouldn't expect it to be as stable or easy to use as WMC.
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post #5 of 235 Old 10-15-2012, 10:53 AM
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No, I'm refering to actually recording television (which a lot of people still do on their HTPCs). To do this with XBMC requires a backend recording service and there are more options available for Windows (WMC being only one and probably the least used as a backend).

If you want PVR functionality, IMO it makes more sense to use XBMC for Windows unless you have a Windows server and run XBMC Linux for clients.
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post #6 of 235 Old 10-15-2012, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vladd View Post

No, I'm refering to actually recording television (which a lot of people still do on their HTPCs). To do this with XBMC requires a backend recording service and there are more options available for Windows (WMC being only one and probably the least used as a backend).
If you want PVR functionality, IMO it makes more sense to use XBMC for Windows unless you have a Windows server and run XBMC Linux for clients.

Ah yes, I forget that some people might need the back end and front end PVR software on the same computer. I'm used to having a separate WHS server :P
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post #7 of 235 Old 10-15-2012, 12:20 PM
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post #8 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

So I had heard about OpenELEC but was disappointed it wasn't updated for Eden yet. With version 2.0 imminent with all the Eden goodness, I decided to give release candidate 2 a try. Basically, it's a very lightweight linux install with XBMC installed and nothing else. I am amazed how well it works. It takes about five minutes to install, and it's working perfectly so far. It also boots very quickly and uses less resources than Windows. No more worrying about Windows updates, inadvertent notifications, problematic drivers, losing focus, etc. Honestly, unless you run external programs on your XBMC HTPC, I can't see why you would use Windows over this. After years and years of using HTPCs, mine finally feel like appliances. If you're having any issues with your current installs or are making an HTPC for the first time, I recommend giving it a try.
http://openelec.tv/

you realize u can turn of auto update for windows right ? Also i tink you got over excited. Give it sometime and you will go back to XMBC for windows.
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post #9 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 07:09 AM
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Agree openelec is excellent. I also have a server that records and stores movies/tv. If you need your HTPC to do more than play video/audio then openelec is probably not for you.
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post #10 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by charlievoviii View Post

you realize u can turn of auto update for windows right ? Also i tink you got over excited. Give it sometime and you will go back to XMBC for windows.

When I first install Windows, I install all of the updates and then turn updating off. Installing all the initial updates takes hours. The entire Openelec installation process takes less than five minutes. Also why would I go back to XBMC for Windows? The XBMC experience on Openelec is virtually identical to the experience on Windows. The only difference will be if you need to run Windows specific programs, but I don't think many people need to do that, especially those who already have a separate server.
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post #11 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 07:37 AM
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If your geeky like me you want the PC-ishness of a HTPC and not an appliance.

A HTPC is indeed a PC, and I like windows and the full PC functionality it brings.

If I wanted an appliance I would just buy one, almost everything can stream movies or play a disc these days.

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post #12 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

If your geeky like me you want the PC-ishness of a HTPC and not an appliance.
A HTPC is indeed a PC, and I like windows and the full PC functionality it brings.
If I wanted an appliance I would just buy one, almost everything can stream movies or play a disc these days.

While I can appreciate that, I think a number of people here are more interested in WAF factor than their HTPC doing all number of fancy things. The amount of devices that can properly handle various file formats, recognize forced subtitle flags, and present your media in an attractive way while also being snappy is very small. Even the vaunted Dune media players can't recognize forced subtitle flags, and their interface is archaic compared to XBMC. Many of us just have very large movie libraries that we want to be able to access and playback in a reliable and elegant way. I haven't been impressed with any content streamer or other appliance in that regard.
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post #13 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 02:05 PM
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what happens in openelec when you click the under video settings to sync display refresh to playback source? (I'm assuming this exists in openelec as it does in xbmc)

My perpetual home theater build - Omaha Theater #5
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post #14 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nebrunner View Post

what happens in openelec when you click the under video settings to sync display refresh to playback source? (I'm assuming this exists in openelec as it does in xbmc)

This feature works perfectly fine in Openelec. All the features available in the Windows version of XBMC work on Openelec as far as I can tell.
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post #15 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 07:18 PM
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How about HD audio. I would seem that this doesn't work from my brief look at heir webpage.
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post #16 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by duff99 View Post

How about HD audio. I would seem that this doesn't work from my brief look at heir webpage.

HD audio was not implemented into XBMC 11.0. I think you can find versions of Openelec running newer builds of XBMC in the Openelec forums.
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post #17 of 235 Old 10-16-2012, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

HD audio was not implemented into XBMC 11.0. I think you can find versions of Openelec running newer builds of XBMC in the Openelec forums.

Not even DTS or AC3? That kills it.
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post #18 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 12:55 AM
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I absolutely love openelec!

My HTPC is an Asrock ION 330HT, and I just wan it work. It does nothing more than being an HTPC, no file serving, no downloading, nothing, just pure HTPC. And for that, I think Openelec is unbeatable. You install and configure it, then you forget about. You can edit a bunch of things (like samba shares, the remote keymaps and a few other things) using their Configuration shared folder. There's also sFTP enabled, so that you can have access to the whole filesystem from another PC.

About HD audio, yeah, that's one thing missing. But to be fair, it's missing altogether in XBMC. It's only in their development branch (Frodo), so everybody running it is running experimental code. Of course, DTS and AC3 are supported, both bitstreaming and decoding, downmixing and so on. It's only missing Dolby True HD and DTS-MA. Since I watch movies in Spanish, that's unimportant to me.. as usually we only get DTS and AC3 audio, the last one being the most common.

As with HD audio, I believe PVR functions are also only in the development branch, so it's not really an optimal choice to use an XBMC build with PVR functions, as it's not even alpha software.

For me, my HTPC box just plays my Bluray rips (about ~400), my tv shows and my music (mp3 and Flac) through my AVR and providing a nice interface. I realize that, some people, after spending §300 or §400 for an HTPC they want it do a lot more thing, like being an advanced file server, a ripping machine and maybe even a gaming rig. Then, of course, openelec isn't for you. However, I just wanted a popcorn hour or WD TV like device with unlimited support and that just worked... and for that, my ION with openelec is just perfect.

For those who still are looking for an appliance feel but want some more advanced features or more control over the machine, there's also XBMCbuntu, where you have a full ubuntu system under the hood, but where the conventional desktop has been removed altogether and replaced with XBMC.
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post #19 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 05:30 AM
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Anybody have satisfactory performance running OpenELEC off of an SD card or USB drive?
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post #20 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Not even DTS or AC3? That kills it.

As PatrickVogeli said, it does support DTS and AC3. That's why I specifically said HD audio, i.e., TrueHD and DTS-HD. Also, PVR functions are integrated into Openelec 2.0. XBMC requires a separate back such as mediaportal to use them though.
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post #21 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 06:58 AM
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Have they fixed the audio issues with this?

I've tried running this setup before, my box (AMD A6 Fusion) but the audio was always screwed up for me. I would have to SSH into the box, create a special file to enable audio and then it would work fine mostly. And what I mean by mostly is that when I attempted to play music from a playlist or shuffle all, the first song would play fine and then the audio would give me an error on song change. However the next song would play fine.

I was so frustrated with all the audio issues in linux that I gave up. I have a receiver with 5.1, so if you say you could install it, had menu sounds and not have to tweak anything via SSH to get digital output working, then I should probably give it another go again...

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post #22 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 11:50 AM
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Meh. I really don’t see the point of ditching a Win7 + XBMC install for openelec. The only advantage I see is that it takes up almost no space and installs quickly. My Win7 install and AMD E350 boots up in less than a minute.

And yeah, all I do is watch movie rips on my HTPC. No music, no internet content, no TV.

How does OpenElec handle a usb IR receiver? Does everything work correctly as it would in Win7? Will I be able to use my blu-ray drive for media playback with OpenElec?
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post #23 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RandomNinjaAtk View Post

Have they fixed the audio issues with this?
I've tried running this setup before, my box (AMD A6 Fusion) but the audio was always screwed up for me. I would have to SSH into the box, create a special file to enable audio and then it would work fine mostly. And what I mean by mostly is that when I attempted to play music from a playlist or shuffle all, the first song would play fine and then the audio would give me an error on song change. However the next song would play fine.
I was so frustrated with all the audio issues in linux that I gave up. I have a receiver with 5.1, so if you say you could install it, had menu sounds and not have to tweak anything via SSH to get digital output working, then I should probably give it another go again...

Which version was this? The code has changed substantially since Version 1 based on Dharma, so I'd be surprised if you encounter the same issues. There are also Fusion specific builds. It might be worth checking out the forums for this issue.
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Meh. I really don’t see the point of ditching a Win7 + XBMC install for openelec. The only advantage I see is that it takes up almost no space and installs quickly. My Win7 install and AMD E350 boots up in less than a minute.
And yeah, all I do is watch movie rips on my HTPC. No music, no internet content, no TV.
How does OpenElec handle a usb IR receiver? Does everything work correctly as it would in Win7? Will I be able to use my blu-ray drive for media playback with OpenElec?

If XBMC on Windows is working perfectly for you, then I wouldn't switch either. Over the past many years, I've had numerous issues with Windows that I've never been able to completely resolve. Openelec does work with the same receiver I used with XBMC on Windows. I use a Harmony remote and selected "WMC extender" as the device, and it works fine. I had to add a couple of lines to the keymap.xml file to get discrete on and off to work, and that's the only change I've had to make to my Openelec installation.

I don't know about blu-ray drives. Are your discs encrypted? I don't think XBMC has decryption built in.
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post #24 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Radio81 View Post

Meh. I really don’t see the point of ditching a Win7 + XBMC install for openelec. The only advantage I see is that it takes up almost no space and installs quickly. My Win7 install and AMD E350 boots up in less than a minute.
And yeah, all I do is watch movie rips on my HTPC. No music, no internet content, no TV.
How does OpenElec handle a usb IR receiver? Does everything work correctly as it would in Win7? Will I be able to use my blu-ray drive for media playback with OpenElec?

I don't think many folks would recommend ditching a working setup for OpenELEC. However, if you are putting together a new box, and only need the basic XBMC features, you can save $$ by not needing windows.
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post #25 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio81 View Post

Meh. I really don’t see the point of ditching a Win7 + XBMC install for openelec. The only advantage I see is that it takes up almost no space and installs quickly. My Win7 install and AMD E350 boots up in less than a minute.
And yeah, all I do is watch movie rips on my HTPC. No music, no internet content, no TV.
How does OpenElec handle a usb IR receiver? Does everything work correctly as it would in Win7? Will I be able to use my blu-ray drive for media playback with OpenElec?

I don't think many folks would recommend ditching a working setup for OpenELEC. However, if you are putting together a new box, and only need the basic XBMC features, you can save $$ by not needing windows.

That's a great point I didn't even think of. Unless you already have a windows 7 license, Openelec will drastically reduce the the cost of your build. Moreover, it takes up such a small amount of space you could easily go for a smaller SSD. It probably doesn't need as much ram as Windows either, although ram is cheap.

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post #26 of 235 Old 10-17-2012, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

That's a great point I didn't even think of. Unless you already have a windows 7 license, Openelec will drastically reduce the the cost of your build. Moreover, it takes up such a small amount of space you could easily go for a smaller SSD. It probably doesn't need as much ram as Windows either, although ram is cheap.

That's the main reason to consider using it imo. Maybe the only reason based on how I personally use a HTPC.
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post #27 of 235 Old 10-18-2012, 09:01 AM
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Out of curiosity, what is a good small all-in-one that makes a good candidate for OpenElec? I have a huge library of HD movies and TV shows, and would like a couple of cheaper HTPC type boxes to deploy in other rooms of the home... as I'm getting pretty soured on Boxee.

I don't need HD audio output, but the machine does need to be able to play those tracks and output them as at least stereo to a connected TV.
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post #28 of 235 Old 10-18-2012, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

Out of curiosity, what is a good small all-in-one that makes a good candidate for OpenElec? I have a huge library of HD movies and TV shows, and would like a couple of cheaper HTPC type boxes to deploy in other rooms of the home... as I'm getting pretty soured on Boxee.
I don't need HD audio output, but the machine does need to be able to play those tracks and output them as at least stereo to a connected TV.

I would start here.

Another option to avoid Windows cost is Ubuntu and XBMC or XBMCBuntu. That might give you a wider range of hardware to work with, or be an option if OpenElec doesn't work for you.

Newegg still has a free SSD offer with some of their small boxes. See the deals section at the top of this forum.
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post #29 of 235 Old 10-18-2012, 09:27 AM
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I would start here.
Another option to avoid Windows cost is Ubuntu and XBMC or XBMCBuntu. That might give you a wider range of hardware to work with, or be an option if OpenElec doesn't work for you.
Newegg still has a free SSD offer with some of their small boxes. See the deals section at the top of this forum.

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately it does not look like much has improved since I looked into this a little over a year ago (and at the time was playing around with bootable XBMC Linux builds).

A lot of the 'all-in-one' solutions are either somewhat unavailable, or are kind of pricy for the hardware they include.

A year ago I ended up building a $600 HTPC with a mini i3 motherboard and just running Windows on it with XBMC Eden and am happy with that.... but still looking for something that will offer good performance in a relatively quiet all-in-one for $250 or less for other rooms of the house.
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post #30 of 235 Old 10-18-2012, 09:35 AM
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That $250 price point has been my target too for a bedroom unit to play stuff of the NAS. I'll be playing around with a Foxconn, with some implementation of XBMC. The box, with free SSD and memory cost $200. Will report back on my success.

As for as OpenELEC not coming far in a year, that may be true for the list of hardware but I believe the performance on that hardware has been improved quite a bit, but that perception is just from me 'following' and not 'doing'.
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