Cheapest 1080p/7.1 HTPC for Plex Client - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-02-2013, 05:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Please give me your feedback on these components. My goal is to build a Client for Plex that can play 1080p and up to 7.1 audio for as cheap as possible. I will be housing MKV files on a server that will stream archived Blu-Rays with 1080p and DTS Master HD/Dolby Digital True HD up to 7.1 over 1gbps ethernet. HTPC will be connected to AV Receiver over HDMI (really want to stick to HDMI to prevent buginess in HDMI switching on AV Receiver). I am nearing completion of a Home Theater build (see sig) so it's important to me that I'm able to get the full quality through the Plex streaming solution. I would like to do that in the cheapest manner possible without sacrificing video or audio quality. I have investigated several different media extenders, including the Roku, Boxee box, Apple TV, and some others and none can do everything (Plex/1080p/7.1). I'm open to a non-PC based option if anyone knows of one.

Please critique these components I've selected against the requirements above, thanks!

GIGABYTE GA-H61M-HD2 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80623G530

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT

Verbatim 47378 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (Drive Only)

SeaSonic S12II 430B 430W ATX12V V2.3/EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-02-2013, 06:26 AM
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You should be good! There are some issues with Intel and DXVA, but according to assassin and others here,the G530 will play everything perfectly fine with DXVA off. Make sure you use the new client, Plex Home Theater (it requires a Plex Pass subscription while it's in beta), which is based on XBMC 12.0.

Also, don't forget the case, remote control, and operating system smile.gif
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-02-2013, 06:32 AM
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Btw, one non-HTPC option may be a recent Samsung blu-ray player. There tend to be a lot of strings attached though to non-HTPC Plex clients. Also, for some reason Samsung doesn't sell any of their dual-core blu-ray players in the U.S., and the interface is pretty slow on the single core models.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-02-2013, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Btw, one non-HTPC option may be a recent Samsung blu-ray player. There tend to be a lot of strings attached though to non-HTPC Plex clients. Also, for some reason Samsung doesn't sell any of their dual-core blu-ray players in the U.S., and the interface is pretty slow on the single core models.

If any of your downloaded movies or Blu-ray or DVD rips/encodes have Cinavia, it will still be triggered via the Plex client on a Samsung Blu-ray player (only pre-2012 manufactured models don't have Cinavia). Smart TVs don't include Cinavia and are therefor unaffected. Just a forewarning.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-02-2013, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post

If any of your downloaded movies or Blu-ray or DVD rips/encodes have Cinavia, it will still be triggered via the Plex client on a Samsung Blu-ray player (only pre-2012 manufactured models don't have Cinavia). Smart TVs don't include Cinavia and are therefor unaffected. Just a forewarning.

Ah, excellent point. Cinavia is such a pain.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-02-2013, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses! I'm glad to know the HW will suffice, the total on all of it is under $300. I am struggling to find a case I like that will fit cleanly in my equipment rack. I could only find a few HTPC options that rack mounted, and those didn't appeal much to me. Another option I am considering is just using a plain cheap case and storing it behind the rack out of sight, and use a touchscreen LCD for control. Here is a cheap one I found...

http://store.mp3car.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MON-070&cvsfa=3961&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=4d4f4e2d303730&gclid=COWngpTnmLUCFcyiPAodDnUAWw

I am thinking I might get this and a blank panel for equipment rack that I can cut out and mount this LCD in. That would give me the slick look of a rack mounted case with a touchscreen on it but much cheaper than the $400+ options I've seen that include an LCD.


Also wondering if I should go Windows 7 or Windows 8 - Price seems to be about the same and 7 has worked well for me on my current computer that will be the media server. I thought about Linux but just don't have the time to learn it - would rather spend the money on Windows since I'm completely proficient in install/troubleshooting on it.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-02-2013, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelton325 View Post

Thanks for the responses! I'm glad to know the HW will suffice, the total on all of it is under $300. I am struggling to find a case I like that will fit cleanly in my equipment rack. I could only find a few HTPC options that rack mounted, and those didn't appeal much to me. Another option I am considering is just using a plain cheap case and storing it behind the rack out of sight, and use a touchscreen LCD for control. Here is a cheap one I found...

http://store.mp3car.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MON-070&cvsfa=3961&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=4d4f4e2d303730&gclid=COWngpTnmLUCFcyiPAodDnUAWw

I am thinking I might get this and a blank panel for equipment rack that I can cut out and mount this LCD in. That would give me the slick look of a rack mounted case with a touchscreen on it but much cheaper than the $400+ options I've seen that include an LCD.


Also wondering if I should go Windows 7 or Windows 8 - Price seems to be about the same and 7 has worked well for me on my current computer that will be the media server. I thought about Linux but just don't have the time to learn it - would rather spend the money on Windows since I'm completely proficient in install/troubleshooting on it.

The touch screen seems really superfluous to me. After the initial setup you shouldn't need anything other than your basic remote. You could just use a Logitech k400 or even remote desktop to make changes if necessary. Windows 7 should be perfectly fine.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-03-2013, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a Logitech 1100 touchscreen remote already and a USB IR adapter from a TV Tuner card on my current PC, so I think that will be sufficient. If not I am considering that Lenovo remote with the keyboard and trackball that Assassin's Guide recommends.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-03-2013, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Just ordered everything, including this case and Windows 7 HP

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GGUAUE/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-04-2013, 06:16 AM
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Are there any smartTV's that are in the 22-27" range? I've been trying to hook something up in my wife's art studio and a smartTV sounds like the perfect setup, especially something like Samsung that will has Plex as an app, but it seems only 30" or larger TV's have it. Rather annoying.
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post #11 of 12 Old 02-05-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Part of why I like Flex is the SmartTV capability. I just ordered a 32" Samsung from Amazon and that was the smallest I saw, but I didn't look for anything smaller. We currently have an LG that has the Plex capability and it is terrific. I am ditching my AppleTV based solution and moving to Plex for the whole house.
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-07-2013, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Components have arrived and the build has started!



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