I love my HTPC but - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 04-09-2013, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Boy is there a crap load of tweaking to be done. I built my first and only systems in about 5 hours back in Decemer. Today is April 9th and i am still tweaking. This is perfectly ok with me. The more i tweak, the more i learn about CPU's and the more I become intereseted in how folks create software, But I digress. I built my HTPC on my own and with it being in the SilverStone Grandia 08, it looks like a beast. The problem is now everyone wants me to build one for them and while I know they would enjoy the finish product, I don't really seem them as persons who would have the patience or ability to be "tweakers".

HTPCs are great, but they are not exactly plug and play items. Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 20 Old 04-09-2013, 06:40 PM
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I think it depends what you're trying to use it for, and how you intend on using it.
If you're trying to use it for Live TV, and only use a remote, then that can make things more complicated.

I am completely happy with my current setup for Blu-ray, DVD and Music in JRiver Media Center and after the initial setup (which doesn't take long) I have not had to configure anything.
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post #3 of 20 Old 04-09-2013, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by stamina1914 View Post

The problem is now everyone wants me to build one for them...


You'd best just say "no", unless you're okay with calls requesting support for a myriad of problems or issues down the line biggrin.gif
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post #4 of 20 Old 04-09-2013, 06:50 PM
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/\

I would be Ok with that as long as payment was done with BEER:D

Toys

Denon AVR-3311CI, Denon DVP-602CI, B&K EX4420, B&K TX4430, Belkin PF60
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post #5 of 20 Old 04-09-2013, 06:53 PM
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/\

I would be Ok with that as long as payment was done with BEER:D

Toys

LOL. That might work, because those incessant service calls would drive anyone to drink wink.gif

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post #6 of 20 Old 04-09-2013, 07:57 PM
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Truth be told, there really isn't a lot of tweaking required for an HTPC these days, but it all depends on what you want out of it. For me, I just want a DVR that can record multiple shows at the same time and also play Blu-Rays and DVDs ripped to my server. I don't add a lot of extra apps like some people do so I tend to keep my installations fairly simple. The result is an extremely stable device that I use on a daily basis with absolutely no problems. Aside from installing Windows, all current updates, and whatever drivers are required to support the installed hardware, I really don't install a lot of extra software. I can't recall the last time I felt the need to tweak anything. Aside from installing the Shark007 codec pack and XBMC and perhaps a few utilities there is precious little required to have a fully functional HTPC that does everything I want from it. I think most people have issues with HTPCs because they overthink them and try to add more than they really need.
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post #7 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stamina1914 View Post

Boy is there a crap load of tweaking to be done. I built my first and only systems in about 5 hours back in Decemer. Today is April 9th and i am still tweaking. This is perfectly ok with me. The more i tweak, the more i learn about CPU's and the more I become intereseted in how folks create software, But I digress. I built my HTPC on my own and with it being in the SilverStone Grandia 08, it looks like a beast. The problem is now everyone wants me to build one for them and while I know they would enjoy the finish product, I don't really seem them as persons who would have the patience or ability to be "tweakers".

HTPCs are great, but they are not exactly plug and play items. Any suggestions?

What Tweaking?

Build the machine.

Install Win 7.

Install Security Essentials.

Set to automatically install updates at 3 AM on Sundays (or whenever you wish)

Plug in remote dongle.

Run DCA.

Install tuner.

Pair CableCard.

Done.

Truly, set it and forget it set up.

Edit: If you are building for someone else, make it boot into WMC, and set it to media only. This way, they never go into windows and make a mess, and then call you.

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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post #8 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 01:56 PM
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That's pretty much what I do with a few differences. I also install XBMC and a commercial skipping app along with a few extra utilities and media players. With regards to automatic updates, I never allow Windows to automatically install them. I let it download them and then let me pick and choose which ones to install. Windows Update has a tendency of downloading drivers for your hardware that may end up causing issues instead of solving them. If I see a driver update listed I'll go to the manufacturer's website and the get the actual driver rather than the one Windows says I need. I totally hosed my system by installing an Intel NIC driver that Windows Update downloaded.
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post #9 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

That's pretty much what I do with a few differences. I also install XBMC and a commercial skipping app along with a few extra utilities and media players. With regards to automatic updates, I never allow Windows to automatically install them. I let it download them and then let me pick and choose which ones to install. Windows Update has a tendency of fownloading drivers for your hardware that may end up causing issues instead of solving them. If I see a driver update listed I'll go to the manufacturer's website and the get the actual driver rather than the one Windows says I need. I totally hosed my system by installing an Intel NIC driver that Windows Update downloaded.

Honestly, If that is all that I wanted it to do, I could have stuck with my Fios DVR and bought an external Hard drive for more storate space. I think by its very nature HTPCs are design to be a reflection of the owner and to achieve this changing and tweaking things are par for the course. There will be a day when I get everything the way I like it, it may be a few months from now, but I'll get there. And will no longer have to tweak anything until the next big thing.
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post #10 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 08:27 PM
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There is always a new patch, software update or release which fixes an annoying bug or adds a really cool feature so you upgrade and then it breaks something else so you mess around trying to fix it, and then you get it working but you read about something here on AVS which fixes something else that was annoying you so you try it and it breaks something else which you then fix, and then another patch or software update is released which fixes another annoying bug or adds another great feature, then repeat to infinity....

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post #11 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by kesawi View Post

There is always a new patch, software update or release which fixes an annoying bug or adds a really cool feature so you upgrade and then it breaks something else so you mess around trying to fix it, and then you get it working but you read about something here on AVS which fixes something else that was annoying you so you try it and it breaks something else which you then fix, and then another patch or software update is released which fixes another annoying bug or adds another great feature, then repeat to infinity....

If you're not tied to WMC you can always go with OpenELEC. No drivers or software to manage at all other than the OpenELEC OS, which updates itself automatically.
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post #12 of 20 Old 04-10-2013, 10:39 PM
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If you're not tied to WMC you can always go with OpenELEC. No drivers or software to manage at all other than the OpenELEC OS, which updates itself automatically.
If I didn't require LiveTV (which is the primary use for my HTPC) I would. I found the current XBMC implementation of LiveTV/PVR lacks a lot of the key functionality which WMC possesses. The killer is the long lag between channel changes compated to WMC.

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post #13 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by stamina1914 View Post

Honestly, If that is all that I wanted it to do, I could have stuck with my Fios DVR and bought an external Hard drive for more storate space. I think by its very nature HTPCs are design to be a reflection of the owner and to achieve this changing and tweaking things are par for the course. There will be a day when I get everything the way I like it, it may be a few months from now, but I'll get there. And will no longer have to tweak anything until the next big thing.
Well, considering what they charge for a FIOS DVR and the fact that I used to own Tivos, I wouldn't own anything other than a HTPC, even if it was just for DVR use. My HTPC currently has access to 17 tuners for both OTA and FIOS channel reception. Five of the tuners are shared on my network with other PCs, but most of them are dedicated to my primary HTPC that resides with my home theater system. The beauty of a HTPC is that there's very little about it that's proprietary. You can upgrade it and add storage without jumping through hoops or buying special hardware. If you want more tuners with any DVR appliance you need to buy more DVRs.

I didn't mean to imply that I've never tweaked a HTPC. I've just gotten to the point where it's no longer necessary. I think most HTPC owners go through an experimentation phase when they first start up because they're really not sure what to do with it yet. Once you've settled on what you expect out of the HTPC, it's fairly easy to get it working and remain stable over the long haul. I've built and configured dozens of HTPCs over the years and find that it's relatively simple to have a stable system that is reliable and easy to use.
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post #14 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by kesawi View Post

If I didn't require LiveTV (which is the primary use for my HTPC) I would. I found the current XBMC implementation of LiveTV/PVR lacks a lot of the key functionality which WMC possesses. The killer is the long lag between channel changes compated to WMC.

You should try again. There's a build floating around for Frodo 12.1 that VASTLY improved the channel changing time. Pretty sure it was posted on here somewhere.
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post #15 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 07:17 AM
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You should try again. There's a build floating around for Frodo 12.1 that VASTLY improved the channel changing time. Pretty sure it was posted on here somewhere.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7249985/xbmc/xbmc-12.1-Frodo-margro.exe

Great improvement for me. From this thread
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post #16 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gewbert View Post

You should try again. There's a build floating around for Frodo 12.1 that VASTLY improved the channel changing time. Pretty sure it was posted on here somewhere.
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Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7249985/xbmc/xbmc-12.1-Frodo-margro.exe

Great improvement for me. From this thread
My understanding is the series recording options win XBMC with Media Portal are rather limited and not as refined as WMC. Is this correct?

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post #17 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 03:57 PM
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My understanding is the series recording options win XBMC with Media Portal are rather limited and not as refined as WMC. Is this correct?

Last I checked, you could only schedule a specific time to be recorded. You couldn't just tell it to record all episodes of The Office regardless of what time they air like you can in WMC.
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post #18 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 07:49 PM
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My understanding is the series recording options within XBMC with Media Portal are rather limited and not as refined as WMC. Is this correct?

^Edited slightly. No series recording ability. I could see/understand that being yet another sticking point for many
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post #19 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 08:57 PM
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^Edited slightly. No series recording ability. I could see/understand that being yet another sticking point for many
That has been holding me back from making the jump from the WMC/Media Browser combo I currently run to something else. No series recording = poor WAF = hard time for me

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post #20 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 10:20 PM
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I use both WMC and XBMC on my HTPC. The integration app allows me to access XBMC from within WMC and back again. I use WMC for all of my TV recordings and XBMC for movie playback streamed from my server. This gives me the best of both worlds.
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