Originally Posted by planetbrian777
I am confused on this setup.
I am thinking of creating a vm of Windows 7 on my server to act as a HTPC. I have an AV8801, Oppo 103 Blue Ray Player, Panasonic 60ST50 plasma TV, Synology 1812 NAS and I bought JRiver Media Center. I understand that I will need to install JRiver on the HTPC. Here are my questions:
You can passthrough a video card to a VM. I've not actually tried that, but people use this all the time to play modern 3D games through a VM. I don't understand why you would "need" to install JRiver Media Center. Windows Media Center comes free with most versions of Windows 7. But since you've already paid for the license, you might as well use it.
1) Is it best to have a HTPC with this setup? I have movies on the Synology NAS and we stream Netflix and VUDU through the Oppo 103.
For simplicity's sake, yes a dedicated HTPC will work, but if you are adamant about using a VM, then it will work.
2) Do I need a video connection from my HTPC to the Marantz AV8801 or can I just play the videos through ethernet?
Yes, you need a video connection from your HTPC or VM to watch anything. To play video through ethernet, you would need something on the receiving end to play videos. The simplest solution is to build a dedicated HTPC, connect it to your audio receiver and TV, and stream videos from your NAS.
I also cannot find any information that tells me if the cpu in my server has integrated video, and if it does will it be powerful enough to do everything a HTPC needs to do. My cpu in the server is an AMD Opteron 6212. The server is on the opposite side of the house and all components are hardwired with gb ethernet.
Can anyone please help? Thank you
No, your Opteron does not have integrated video. Your motherboard might, but if it's a server-class motherboard, it's usually pretty bad for video playback, as it's designed for simple server console control. If you want to do the HTPC as a VM, then I would suggest a cheapo Radeon 6450 video card, pass it through to the VM so it has direct control of the card, and then run a really long HDMI cable back to your TV. Long HDMI cables cost a good bit of money, and you may also need an HDMI amplifier. With the money spent on the long cable and amplifier, you could have probably already paid for a simple dedicated HTPC. Then you also have to deal with getting the remote control and/or mouse/keyboard back to the VM server.
The only real benefit to running a HTPC as a VM is to have a stable back-end for recording purposes. I'm afraid it's much easier to just build a real dedicated HTPC to provide the video playback.
I use a HTPC as a VM just to provide for a couple of Windows Media Center extenders for my kids. Since I don't want them to have access to all the channels we receive through cable, I can customize the TV guide to the channels I want them to have. My main HTPC has access to all the channels.
If you are looking for ways to put that Opteron to good use, I can throw you some ideas for VMs.