Learning about HTPC's - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 Old 02-06-2013, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Sebol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hey everyone,

I'm new to this forum but after reading quite a bit of information I decided to join AVS and hope to have some questions answered about a project I'm reading into! I'm tired of the high cable bill for DVR service and that's what brought me here.

At first I was interested in just replacing the DVR, but after reading potentially replacing the cable box.. I'm really interested and need some "know how"

I know a fair bit about what an HTPC is capable of, but unsure what is all required for install, and more importantly what I will lose if I install it.

Currently I have one set-top box in the living room and a non-smart TV as the primary tv, I'd like to be able to watch Television here in my office (one coax outlet where the cable modem is plugged into), and our master bedroom which does not have a coax jack, but has a television awaiting cable television.

If I was to replace the living room cable box with an HTPC as the primary cable box, what minimum requirement specs and/or devices would it take to possibly have HD TV and DVR service available in all 3 rooms (without having to run coax to the bedroom if possible)? Would I lose the ability to access channels like HBO/Showtime and/or On Demand features? Are there quality wireless receivers available yet? (I've seen U-Verse offering them so i'm assuming there are some 3rd party out there)

Any information or even parts lists available for such a project?

Thanks in advance!
Sebol is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 Old 02-06-2013, 08:11 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
assassin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked: 239
Welcome to AVS! You are at the right place!
assassin is online now  
post #3 of 16 Old 02-06-2013, 08:52 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
You can do it an not lose anything if you like [well on demand or pay per view but you can keep one STB without a DVR (typically these can't be recorded anyhow) if that is real important to you].

For HBO excetera you need a CableCARD tuner. For a whole home PVR there's the echo and/or the Xbox but you need a robust network with ethernet in each location you want a TV.

Uverse can do wireless receivers because their signal is compressed crap. The signals that CableCos give you and the distribution of that signal requires wired ethernet.

Do some reading around here. Check assassin's blog. He has recommended parts. His guide is worth every bit of $25. Renethx is the Graphics Guru and his guide and advice is outstanding. There's industry people posting here as well as writers for many tech ezines. You cannot beat the information available here!

Sammy2 is offline  
post #4 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Sebol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks Sammy2 -- I think keeping one box might not be a bad idea because often times there's nothing good on HBO/Showtime and you need to route to their On-Demand sections, which would only be used in the living room.

Well the ultimate goal hands down is to get TV and DVR service to 3 different rooms in the house.

I have ethernet in 2 of the locations, the third wouldn't require much work. However, from having Ethernet to each location, what would I use to broadcast the signal to the television that doesn't have a coax outlet(A wireless reciever?) and how might I allow access to the HTPC/DVR that's in the living room to each of the other locations? I guess those are the things I just don't understand how to do.
Sebol is offline  
post #5 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 05:00 AM
Advanced Member
 
macks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 714
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 31
I'm not sure if a htpc is worth it if you don't plan on storing your movies. For just DVR functionality it is a lot of work. You might end up saving some money, you would probably save just as much by going to dish or directv though. YMMV

Moca would be a good alternative to running cat6 in your case. I would say a good wireless-n router is a minimum for your bedroom(the attic is the easiest place to run cable in my experience, other than a crawl space).

I love my htpc but is has been a lot of work.
macks is offline  
post #6 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 05:07 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebol View Post

Thanks Sammy2 -- I think keeping one box might not be a bad idea because often times there's nothing good on HBO/Showtime and you need to route to their On-Demand sections, which would only be used in the living room.

Well the ultimate goal hands down is to get TV and DVR service to 3 different rooms in the house.

I have ethernet in 2 of the locations, the third wouldn't require much work. However, from having Ethernet to each location, what would I use to broadcast the signal to the television that doesn't have a coax outlet(A wireless reciever?) and how might I allow access to the HTPC/DVR that's in the living room to each of the other locations? I guess those are the things I just don't understand how to do.

This is why you need to store your own copies of movies on a HDD for "on demand" playback. You can also use HBO Go, etcetera on the HTPC but not on an echo (yet) and with Xbox Live on an Xbox. I don't have an Xbox but this is what I've read. Somebody else might correct me on this.

This is where the echo/Xbox come into play.

Sammy2 is offline  
post #7 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 05:14 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

I'm not sure if a htpc is worth it if you don't plan on storing your movies. For just DVR functionality it is a lot of work. You might end up saving some money, you would probably save just as much by going to dish or directv though. YMMV

Moca would be a good alternative to running cat6 in your case. I would say a good wireless-n router is a minimum for your bedroom(the attic is the easiest place to run cable in my experience, other than a crawl space).

I love my htpc but is has been a lot of work.

How is this? When I went from Uverse to Cable I got a pretty good discount and continue to save $30/month, every month, in STB and DVR fees. The HTPC pays for itself in about 2½ years even without storing local content.

Sammy2 is offline  
post #8 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Sebol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I would love to store the movies and be able to access them on each TV. Sorry I must have mis-phrased that. That's why i'm more interested in HTPCs and the ability to save media and share/watch it throughout the house.

So the Ceton Echo / Xbox just act as an extender to my living room cable box? Essentially having 2 rooms control one box?
Sebol is offline  
post #9 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 05:36 AM
Member
 
billdacat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 188
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked: 16
HTPC's are great and not a lot of trouble. I am from the "PC in every room" camp; why not??? IMHO: CAT 5e and a switched backbone is plenty damm good for home use.
A Netflix subscription is all that I use for my VOD fetish; works well with windows media center.

If your in a area that has good OTA (over the air coverage) you can add an antenna tuner to the HTCP farm.

Welcome
billdacat is offline  
post #10 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 05:37 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebol View Post

I would love to store the movies and be able to access them on each TV. Sorry I must have mis-phrased that. That's why i'm more interested in HTPCs and the ability to save media and share/watch it throughout the house.

So the Ceton Echo / Xbox just act as an extender to my living room cable box? Essentially having 2 rooms control one box?

They repeat the functionality of WMC in each location they are placed but both struggle with HD mkv's right now, the echo a bit more than the Xbox but I still have faith in the echo to do better than the Xbox in the future. It is in it's infancy. You basically have a Windows Media Center interface in each location they are placed that is based on the WMC in the "host" machine. They are considered "clients".

Sammy2 is offline  
post #11 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 06:53 AM
Advanced Member
 
macks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 714
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by billdacat View Post

HTPC's are great and not a lot of trouble. I am from the "PC in every room" camp; why not??? IMHO: CAT 5e and a switched backbone is plenty damm good for home use.
A Netflix subscription is all that I use for my VOD fetish; works well with windows media center.

If your in a area that has good OTA (over the air coverage) you can add an antenna tuner to the HTCP farm.

Welcome

There are a lot of people who would say HTPC's are a lot of trouble. The problem with a PC in every room is "copy once" content which seems to becoming more and more common.

I wouldn't re-run CAT 5e with CAT6 but CAT6 is better for a home environment due to its increased ability to handle outside interference. The price difference is insignificant in my opinion.

The new hdhomerun prime that is coming out might open things up so that there are more options than WMC/extenders for the OP's situation. There is a post somewhere around here about using xbmc with the hdhomerun prime.
macks is offline  
post #12 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 07:57 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Dark_Slayer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 2,500
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 155 Post(s)
Liked: 297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Uverse can do wireless receivers because their signal is compressed crap. The signals that CableCos give you and the distribution of that signal requires wired ethernet.

Everytime I mention this I get flamed because it doesn't work for everyone, but I live in an apartment. Someone lives above and below, and it's not wired for ethernet. Powerline adapters were not cheap, and I was not confident that I could properly configure all the coax outlets I needed for MoCA. I read another user on here getting 1080p wireless with a Linksys WET 610N

I had recently purchased a pretty high performance router anyway (Linksys E4200), so I thought it was worth a shot. Its been rock solid for me, I've always left the wet610n on it's own non-broadcast 5 GHz band and everything else uses the 2.4GHz mixed mode broadcast SSID for wireless.

I've been playing around with XBMC on my Nexus 7, and last night I tried using the NPVR addon with the latest stable Frodo release. IT WORKED!!! It was kind of interesting to watch live tv on the Nexus, but it didn't de-interlace 1080i so the PQ was not so great. Most Comcast HD channels are 1080i with AC3 5.1 audio. I didn't watch for very long, but I'm not going to call it rock solid yet. I've been testing everything and wanting to re-write the guide in my signature for a while, but I can already see a lot of improvement in playback and stability. It's not to WMC level of stability yet, but I've already made those trade-offs

I leave the N7 on the 2.4 band . . .


For the OP, Sammy and I have discussed cablecard tuners and options a bunch of times before. Essentially, you're at the whim of the cableco. I have comcast, and everything I subscribe to is Copy Freely (0x00 CCI Flag) Sammy's provider (Charter) marks the same content I subscribe to as Copy-Once (0x02) and so does Time Warner. However, for HBO, Showtime, etc, Comcast also marks these as 0x02

The only provider I'd ever heard of marking movie channels 0x00 was Fios, and if you check the Tivo forums there are several markets where Fios has started marking things 0x02

If you're looking at 0x02 subscriptions, you have 3 current choices. Rent your providers boxes, buy and pay licensing for a Tivo, or use WMC. Silicondust is testing and rumored to deploy a different solution where you could use DLNA certified devices that support DTCP-IP to view your 0x02 channels. None of the options are really cheap, for me I just stick to HD cable with no movie channels. I've purchased a lot of movies and tv series that I would have watched on HBO otherwise (Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones) and I feel like I spent a lot less in the long run
Dark_Slayer is online now  
post #13 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 08:09 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
Perfectly said!

I didn't have time earlier to say everything on my mind about this but there it is..

Honestly, I have not tried to stream content wirelessly but I did have Uverse and their PQ is horrendous compared to Charter's PQ due to excess compression. We're talking serious macro-blocking, tiling and alias ringing with the dancing background to boot. This is why I think they can more reliably do wireless receivers. Maybe I'll get a wireless access point and test the echo because I have a pretty good router, I think. Although I only use wireless for my phone right now the router does a great job for ethernet and it is not far to the location of the echo.

Sammy2 is offline  
post #14 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Sebol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Dark_Slayer, I too have Charter Cable, So looks like I may be under the reigns of the Copy Once flag as well. But what options does that leave me with then for accomplishing this task? -- Or does that stamp it impossible?

I have a large collection of movies and music that i'd like to share among the televisions, definitely would love the music stream when i'm just lounging around on a weekend.

Or as Sammy2 had said earlier, if I was to DVR Record everything to the primary HTPC and all other connections were "Clients" to it, wouldn't that allow them to view what the HTPC recorded in similar fashion?
Sebol is offline  
post #15 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 08:24 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Sammy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Right next to Wineville, CA
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked: 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebol View Post

Dark_Slayer, I too have Charter Cable, So looks like I may be under the reigns of the Copy Once flag as well. But what options does that leave me with then for accomplishing this task? -- Or does that stamp it impossible?

I have a large collection of movies and music that i'd like to share among the televisions, definitely would love the music stream when i'm just lounging around on a weekend.

Or as Sammy2 had said earlier, if I was to DVR Record everything to the primary HTPC and all other connections were "Clients" to it, wouldn't that allow them to view what the HTPC recorded in similar fashion?

You can share all recordings marked Copy Once via an echo or Xbox extender. Same with music if you want to listen through the TV speakers or have an AVR at each location. For sharing movies it is hit and miss. The Xbox reportedly does better than the echo but I still believe that the echo will trump in this category in the not so distant future. Until then if your movies are Blu-ray quality ripped to a HDD then you would probably do better with a dedicated streamer device.. or wait to see where the echo lands in the next couple months.

Sammy2 is offline  
post #16 of 16 Old 02-07-2013, 10:05 AM
AVS Special Member
 
blueiedgod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Amherst, NY
Posts: 1,536
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
Liked: 67
You can certainly benefit from an HTPC "whole house DVR" since you will only need to rent 1 CableCard for all those TV's. Some providers even offer the first one for free.

If cost is not an issue, you can buy Assasin's guides. But his solutions are usually "latest and greatest" which is not neccesarily needed in what you want to accomplish. Unless you are planning on running automatic commercial skip and TV recordgins achival, you don't need the super duper latest CPU with high test scores. Look at Assasin's guides from 2-4 years ago, and the hardware from that time period wil work as DVR for another 10 years.

If you look for deals, monitor slickdeals or fatwallet, you can build an HTPC for under $400 which will include triple or quad cablecard tuner. Then you can get banned xboxes (or with broken ODD) from ebay/craigslist for under $50, or discontinued extenders for under $80, and be done for under $600 for the whole house DVR system.

All you really need is a minimum triple core CPU (1 core per TV connected) and 3-4 Gb of RAM (1Gb of RAM per TV connected) on a motherboard that has HDCP compliant video output, CableCard tuner, and a Windows 7 license.

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!!!
blueiedgod is online now  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off