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Old 04-03-2013, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
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A few years ago when I started to read/post on here the community was vibrant. Recently I've noticed it's not even a patch on how it use to be.

Is this a sign of dedicated video playback devices taking over the HTPC, or is it just a temporary blip?

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Old 04-04-2013, 12:22 AM
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Thegreenbutton has a lot of activity and was brought ou of the dead when MS bought them and killed it.

Part of the problem is the Apple TV, google TV, Roku and such are taking a lot of developer attention and Media Center on windows has been stagnant.


I love my HTPC and Windows 7 and my wife has been using ours with a cable card tuner for a long time.... Over 4 years.

But I also know its limitations and how I needed to learn the system and read about tips and tricks to get it to be reliable and easy to use.

I think the market is a little stagnant.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:54 AM
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Maybe your perception of vibrant was just an indication of how much there is to learn when you are first exposed to all the options for 10' interfaces

I have mixed feelings about the amount of "slapped together" WMC addons that were pay options, which seemed to get a lot of "worth $X" approvals. While some were good polished solutions, others don't appear to have lived up to there value
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:59 AM
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I've just started assembling my first HTPC. Maybe that'll help. smile.gif
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:35 AM
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We've all moved on to building large scale 20TB+ storage servers smile.gif
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:43 AM
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There's still plenty of information exchanged here.

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes there is, but it was very different a while ago smile.gif

Maybe allot of people are fed up of the tweaking and have switched elsewhere.

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:36 PM
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What tweaking?

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:47 PM
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Sliverlight is what has turned me away.
Time Warner's online channels and Netflix are ruined by the abomination that is Silverlight. Massive stuttering on all 3 of my PCs no matter what I do.
I bought a $40 MK808 and it functions much better than my quad core PC for online streaming. It does not bitstream audio right now but the trade off is worth it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:56 PM
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The HTPCs are too simple now that the iGPU already handles HD audio and 3D video.

As was mentioned earlier, we've moved on to building multi-TB storage servers to feed our HTPC.

My first HTPC had an Intel C2D E8400 and didn't support HD audio without an add-in card, no HDMI 1.3, and there was only one cablecard tuner to choose from (ATi single tuner card). Plus everyone was using something like a WD Green HDD. Instead of shoehorning all those missing bits into my HTPC, I just retired its guts into a media server and build a Sandy Bridge with a Ceton tuner and SSD OS drive. Now there is very little reason to do anything else to the HTPC I have since it does what it is supposed to do and there really is no need to tweak or upgrade it. Maybe when 4k HD hits then I'll have an excuse.

Now with a storage server there is plenty to tweak...

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:21 PM
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Sure beats the days of old. My first DVR was on XP, used GB-PVR and an external guide we ended up having to pay for, an ATI Theater Pro 650 Hybrid tuner and two Hauppauge PVR-150s, I don't remember what all processor and hard drive it used, I do remember it had an ATI HD video card, don't recall the model. And getting that ATI remote to work with GB-PVR was a serious pain. Getting a system like that back in the day to have any sort of WAF took a ton of effort. You really had to know what you were doing, or had to have the support of a lot of patient people back then.

I can remember the ATI video drivers getting hosed back then and having to start all over from scratch. It took several hours to get everything working right again. Now I can set up a complete system in no time at all, starting from a bare hard drive to finished system.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:12 AM
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My first HTPC was PIII with Pinnacle TV tuner and Pinnacle Studio TV "DVR software", which back then wasn't even called DVR, running off Windows 98.

One thing I liked about Pinnacle Studio TV, is that you could have 6 or 8 little screens in one screen showing what was on on all those channels at the same time. CPU useage woudl spike to a solid 100%, but it worked if you had as many tuners. I only had 2, so I could only do 2, and if you did more, it would scan, and freeze frame different channels.

Connecting TV was a nightmare, but worked.

Win XP MCE was a major headache remover in terms of HTPC, at least for me.

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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Old 04-05-2013, 10:14 AM
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I actually went back about that far, with an ATI All-In-Wonder on W95. I didn't consider it a real HTPC though.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post

I actually went back about that far, with an ATI All-In-Wonder on W95. I didn't consider it a real HTPC though.

I am pretty sure I chose Pinnacle over ATI, because Pinnacle supported remote control, while ATI I didn't think did. Because. then and still I firmly believe if you are not using a remoteand just connecting a PC to a TV , it is nothing more than a PC connected to a TV. But a PC connected to a TV with a remote (no keyboards, no mice) is an HTPC. biggrin.gif

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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Old 04-07-2013, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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At the moment I find it quite irritating that there is no live tv and pvr that supports MadVR.

Currently I use WMC to record and MPC-HC for playback and live t.v..

I did hear j-river or DVB Viewer premium may work, but these are not free.

Why is it so hard to support a custom renderer?

I got so excited when I saw xbmc release live tv support only to find the only live tv app it uses as a back end is npvr, which is buggy using MadVR

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Old 04-07-2013, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodgexander View Post

At the moment I find it quite irritating that there is no live tv and pvr that supports MadVR.

Doesn't NextPVR support MadVR (www.digital-digest.com/software/gbpvr_history.html#27)? I remember seeing the option when playing around with it breifly.

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Old 04-08-2013, 04:41 AM
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I'm a computer person, built many, watched TV on my Mac IIx without issue about 20 years ago, but I can't say I am real pleased with my HTPC experience over the last 5 years. I have cable TV and internet (TimeWarner) with a DVR included. Approaching the ease of use of that DVR has yet to occur, and seems a constantly moving target, so I continue to pay each month for a DVR I assumed I would be rid of two years ago. The potential for playback of a wide variety of media files has been what has kept me going with the HTPC.

When HTPC works, its really very nice. I have hundreds of movies ripped, many thousands of music files, but its like owning an old sports car, constant tinkering, poor reliability, but again great when it works.

I would not recommend it to anybody normal, and doubt I would repeat it knowing what I know now if starting over. I would build a straight up PC for fun and games, a network storage device, and use something like one of the DLNA BluRay players to feed the TV and AVR.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:20 AM
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I had DirecTV and then got a Ceton cablecard tuner for my HTPC. The plan was to use it with Comcast during both the 30 day return period and free cancellation period. After just a few days of using the cablecard tuner I called an cancelled DirecTV. Maybe it is different with TimeWarner, but I have no issues with WMC's DVR experience with cable.

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Old 04-08-2013, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeford View Post

I'm a computer person, built many, watched TV on my Mac IIx without issue about 20 years ago, but I can't say I am real pleased with my HTPC experience over the last 5 years. I have cable TV and internet (TimeWarner) with a DVR included. Approaching the ease of use of that DVR has yet to occur, and seems a constantly moving target, so I continue to pay each month for a DVR I assumed I would be rid of two years ago. The potential for playback of a wide variety of media files has been what has kept me going with the HTPC.

When HTPC works, its really very nice. I have hundreds of movies ripped, many thousands of music files, but its like owning an old sports car, constant tinkering, poor reliability, but again great when it works.

I would not recommend it to anybody normal, and doubt I would repeat it knowing what I know now if starting over. I would build a straight up PC for fun and games, a network storage device, and use something like one of the DLNA BluRay players to feed the TV and AVR.

I do not have a problem playing back Cable TV with my HTPC. I do it every single day and rarely, if ever, have issues. The WMC DVR is very good and is not a moving target.

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Old 04-08-2013, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

I am pretty sure I chose Pinnacle over ATI, because Pinnacle supported remote control, while ATI I didn't think did. Because. then and still I firmly believe if you are not using a remoteand just connecting a PC to a TV , it is nothing more than a PC connected to a TV. But a PC connected to a TV with a remote (no keyboards, no mice) is an HTPC. biggrin.gif

My ATI came with a remote. A big, clunky RF unit with very rubbery buttons. It worked, it was just a gigantic PITA to get it there. The DVR software it came with was horrible, therefore I made the switch to GB-PVR. Then I found out GB-PVR does not work with the AiW because it doesn't have hardware decoders. So then I purchased the ATI 600, which worked great. Then some PVR-150s to add more tuners, then the HDHR Dual, and now I've added an HDHR Prime...
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:12 PM
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My issues are mostly my own fault, but none the less still issues. I am REAL close, but not ready for a new TV, so I need to support Svideo for the old one. Likewise my AVR is the last model prior to HDMI, and requires SPdif for digital input. Svideo output requires cards with questionable Win7 drivers, but SPdif is more of a problem.

There are lots of ways around my issues, but it was a LONG learning process to get to this point as so many things it seemed logical to work, didn't.

HDMI all the way, everything new and current version, should all work, but for how long? I see HTPC as a passing thing, not that future PC's won't have the same functions, but it would be like talking about a car "with a automatic transmission" nothing novel and fully integrated, it won't be HTPC, just PC with functions all expected.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:38 PM
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It will be interesting to see what the PS4 and new XBox will bring in terms of functionality as a central media hub.

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Old 04-09-2013, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by kesawi View Post

It will be interesting to see what the PS4 and new XBox will bring in terms of functionality as a central media hub.

I actually can see the HTPC going away in place of something like a PS4 or Xbox 720, but not as the "central media hub". For the center I see a media server and then these units accessing that media at each location in addition to whatever online streaming they offer. All I really need is a dumb and pretty front-end with access to a cablecard tuner.

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Old 04-09-2013, 06:43 AM
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IDK about that. I can build a PC for not much more than what those cost and can do so much more with it, especially since I do not play video games. Gamers might have a different concept than I do though.

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Old 04-09-2013, 06:58 AM
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IDK about that. I can build a PC for not much more than what those cost and can do so much more with it, especially since I do not play video games. Gamers might have a different concept than I do though.

I'm thinking more like the Ceton Q for a device.

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Old 04-10-2013, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post

I actually went back about that far, with an ATI All-In-Wonder on W95. I didn't consider it a real HTPC though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I do not have a problem playing back Cable TV with my HTPC. I do it every single day and rarely, if ever, have issues. The WMC DVR is very good and is not a moving target.

PC was a good 10 years behind the early Mac in video. As I recall my card was a Radius of some kind with a resizeable window I could place anywhere on the screen and watch live video from a camera or VCR etc. The trick was the video never left the card except for spooling or capture, which was limited with no compression at the time.

Microsoft isn't the moving target, its the cable industry with cable cards, then the demand video stuff that requires a box to go with the card. I bought a HomeRun Prime, got the cable card, got too busy to hook it up OR watch TV if I did. Hopefully that will change soon and I will be updating and watching again.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:13 PM
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Oh. Yeah, a CableCARD tuner doesn't work with On Demand or Pay per View. Some (like me) don't use that so it is perfect for them

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Old 04-10-2013, 04:29 PM
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I don't think I am representative of a forum member... so hard to speak on the issue wink.gif

...but I can tell you that 2 weeks ago I had no idea even what a HTPC was. I knew what I wanted ideally (a box in my AV rack on which I could put all my iTunes music + photos + home videos + moves etc.) and to connect that box to my AVR without a compromise in quality. For no good reason than not believing hardware was quite there I didn not pursue the idea up to now. So, if I have a .mkv movie file that contains hifi 6 channels audio tracks, I want that audio stream (6 channels) to be correctly received by the AVR.

It seems technology can now do this but I'm still struggling with details... Looking at ASRock mini PC's currently. Bear in mind I am new to this... wink.gif

For example, can my HTPC contain both the server and client of Plex + iTunes music + iTunes client?

Will that HTPC deliver USB Class 2 audio if I install the propoer driver... How can I ensure the Plex server can serve by re-encoding on the fly if necessary... The USB Class 2 audio - Is this moot since ASRock HD audio seem to be able to go directly from the PC to the AVR? etc...

fun learning these days
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:37 PM
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I deliver audio to my HTPC using HDMI 1.4 from my HTPC in full HD such as dts-HD/MA and Dolby TrueHD. I do not use USB to put audio (or video) into my AVR or HDTV.

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Old 04-10-2013, 04:51 PM
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Hi Sammy - can I assume that if a mini-PC (such as those made by ASRock) have an HDMI output, that connection will also output quality audio from iTunes? I'm a little confused now because I read all kind of stuff saying that for a PC one must preferably install a third party USB Class 2 audio driver, than an external DAC that connects via USB to the PC, and configure Windows to output audio to that USB (but not Windows alerts etc.).

What I'm wondering is if I have a mini-PC ASRock (such as these: http://www.asrock.com/nettop/Intel/Vision%20HT%20Series/) that has an HMDI connector, then can I just plug the HTPC directly into the AVR and forget all about that USB Class 2 audio / external DAC stuff??
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