What is your favorite HTPC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-19-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought that the best HTPC is the one I built myself, but it is not so after I bought Microsoft Surface Pro. After I bought Microsoft Surface Pro, I put it on top of every PC I have in the house. I owns a lot of PC's (I still have one that I built myself and I built many PC's over the years, Alienware X51, Dell desktop, two laptops and Microsoft Surface Pro) in the house. I don't count iPad's either. I can use any computer in the house as HTPC, because all PC's have HDMI output. I can easily connected it to HDMI input on any AVR in the house.

 

I put MS Surface Pro above everything else because it is very flexible and convenience. After I connected it to an AVR via HDMI and connected it to a router via wire network, it can stream 1080P video with DTS-HD/TrueHD audio flawless. Since it is touch screen, I don't need remote controller to control it either.

 

What is your favorite HTPC?

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post #2 of 17 Old 12-20-2013, 06:46 AM
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I like having a HTPC which is also media server with media mgmt. sw on the screen controlled by a one handed remote. For more workstation contorl have a tablet and laptop for more workstation control.

Jriver for music & video

optionally MB3 Theater for video

media center remote (one hand and thumb)
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-20-2013, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I used to have Logitech Harmony, but I sold it. I preffered having individual remote controller for each component. I enjoy using multiple remote controllers than a single Harmony, and I still prefer waking up my HTPC with the power button than a wireless keyboard sitting on the table. You can say that I'm old school.

 

For music, I'm using Foobar2000 to playback WAV; and for movie, I'm using XBMC to playback bluray ISO. I stores all my music CD's and bluray movies on wired network......

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post #4 of 17 Old 12-20-2013, 01:52 PM
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My favorite (and current) HTPC is the Acer AX1930, often under $150 on ebay (got mine for $50). Small but still has room for expansion.

I don't think a surface pro would work for me. I can't install a tuner card, large HDD for data and small SDD for OS, can't run my Ceton Echo extenders, and they're way too expensive. How would the rest of the family or guests operate the system without a remote or without tripping over the HDMI cable? And how do you move yours from room to room and it still remain a reliable cable TV DVR? Do you have cable outlets and AVRs in every room? Or do you leave it plugged in one spot 24x7, and if so, doesn't that defeat the purpose of a portable computing device?

If my family had to wake our HTPC with the keyboard or power button, they would disown me. My HTPC has to work like a Tivo to be accepted by my family (and me). If I can't run it with a universal remote, it's pretty much useless in my house.

If you only use your HTPC for music and movies, couldn't you get by with a much smaller, cheaper streaming box? I don't see how what you're doing requires a PC.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-20-2013, 02:02 PM
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I love my current homebuilt HTPC, but I think the HP z565 was probably the best ever HTPC for it's time. It was very well integrated, had a great looking case, supported all of the HD outputs available at the time, included a good wireless KB/trackball combo, a wireless gamepad, and a good WMC remote. Built in IR, built in VFD, it really was the total package.



If they released an updated version with current hardware, I'd buy one in an instant.

If I had a signature, this is where it would be.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-21-2013, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

My favorite (and current) HTPC is the Acer AX1930, often under $150 on ebay (got mine for $50). Small but still has room for expansion.

I don't think a surface pro would work for me. I can't install a tuner card, large HDD for data and small SDD for OS, can't run my Ceton Echo extenders, and they're way too expensive. How would the rest of the family or guests operate the system without a remote or without tripping over the HDMI cable? And how do you move yours from room to room and it still remain a reliable cable TV DVR? Do you have cable outlets and AVRs in every room? Or do you leave it plugged in one spot 24x7, and if so, doesn't that defeat the purpose of a portable computing device?

If my family had to wake our HTPC with the keyboard or power button, they would disown me. My HTPC has to work like a Tivo to be accepted by my family (and me). If I can't run it with a universal remote, it's pretty much useless in my house.

If you only use your HTPC for music and movies, couldn't you get by with a much smaller, cheaper streaming box? I don't see how what you're doing requires a PC.

Im with you on every single point.....

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post #7 of 17 Old 12-21-2013, 11:11 AM
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I could see using a Surface with a server that does the actual recording. That would alleviate any storage issues as well as not having to leave it on 24/7.

And I'd look into one of those wireless HDMI gizmos so I wasn't tied down. I don't know anything about those since I have no need for that currently.

Add an HDHR tuner, set up the server as your record drive...

Oh wait. This isn't "What HTPC do you wish for". Wrong thread.

Sent from my Nexus 7
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-21-2013, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
I don't think a surface pro would work for me. I can't install a tuner card, large HDD for data and small SDD for OS, can't run my Ceton Echo extenders, and they're way too expensive. How would the rest of the family or guests operate the system without a remote or without tripping over the HDMI cable? And how do you move yours from room to room and it still remain a reliable cable TV DVR? Do you have cable outlets and AVRs in every room? Or do you leave it plugged in one spot 24x7, and if so, doesn't that defeat the purpose of a portable computing device?

If my family had to wake our HTPC with the keyboard or power button, they would disown me. My HTPC has to work like a Tivo to be accepted by my family (and me). If I can't run it with a universal remote, it's pretty much useless in my house.

If you only use your HTPC for music and movies, couldn't you get by with a much smaller, cheaper streaming box? I don't see how what you're doing requires a PC. 
If you only use your HTPC for music and movies, couldn't you get by with a much smaller, cheaper streaming box? I don't see how what you're doing requires a PC.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, music and movie files are stored on the wired network. I don't have any issue with storage on Surface pro, because 128GB SSD hard drive that come with it is more than enough. I don't keep the Surface pro connected to AVR via HDMI in the theater room, because it only there when I need it. Whenever I want to stream movie and music in there theater room, I place the Surface pro on the center coffee table and connects it to HDMI cable and Ethernet cable. The HDMI cable from AVR and Ethernet cable from the router are placed underneath the coffee table. The flat HDMI cable and flat Ethernet cable are running under the carpet. The battery life in the Surface pro is pretty good too. I can playback two bluray movies with some to spare on a single charge. Since Surface pro is equipped with Office365 and some cool games, my kids enjoy using it in their room for homework and some games when it is not use in the theater room. It's very flexible little PC.....

 

I don't have any issue with my guest using Surface pro in my theater room, because I don't allow my guest to enter my theater room without me or my kid  there.

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post #9 of 17 Old 12-21-2013, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post

I love my current homebuilt HTPC, but I think the HP z565 was probably the best ever HTPC for it's time.

If they released an updated version with current hardware, I'd buy one in an instant.

I used to own it at my previous two story home 5 years ago, and I enjoyed using it.

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post #10 of 17 Old 12-21-2013, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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post #11 of 17 Old 12-24-2013, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I was considering this "Intel Next Unit of Computing" before I bought Surface Pro, but it is the same thing as my Alienware X51. I still have to use remote control and keyboard....

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post #12 of 17 Old 12-26-2013, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blurayalltheway View Post

I thought that the best HTPC is the one I built myself, but it is not so after I bought Microsoft Surface Pro. After I bought Microsoft Surface Pro, I put it on top of every PC I have in the house. I owns a lot of PC's (I still have one that I built myself and I built many PC's over the years, Alienware X51, Dell desktop, two laptops and Microsoft Surface Pro) in the house. I don't count iPad's either. I can use any computer in the house as HTPC, because all PC's have HDMI output. I can easily connected it to HDMI input on any AVR in the house.

I put MS Surface Pro above everything else because it is very flexible and convenience. After I connected it to an AVR via HDMI and connected it to a router via wire network, it can stream 1080P video with DTS-HD/TrueHD audio flawless. Since it is touch screen, I don't need remote controller to control it either.

What is your favorite HTPC?

For me it's too complicated. There is too much product divergence. We have laptop, desktop, HTPC, Flexraid media server, ipad3, android, Roku3, iphone 4s, etc... I like them all for different reasons.

The proper set up supports them all to their full capabilities. Ipad for laying around, HTPC for critical viewing (with MadVR and HD audio and high performance browsing and eye candy) PLEX or MB for while away from home on laptop, iphone, ipad etc... Media server for streaming everywhere and ROKU for simple Netflix style streaming or simple basic playback as extenders.

You can't have only 1 machine and get a great experience IMO. It's a total package in my eyes.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #13 of 17 Old 12-26-2013, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

.

You can't have only 1 machine and get a great experience IMO. It's a total package in my eyes.

Interesting. I feel the same way about women.

Sent from my Nexus 7
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post #14 of 17 Old 12-26-2013, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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That is very funny. There is no perfect option, but Surface pro is the best all in one solution in the theater room for me. I'm trying to keep thing simple in the theater room. I do have Xbox, PS3, Wii and other media players in the game/den...
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post #15 of 17 Old 12-26-2013, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Media server for streaming everywhere and ROKU for simple Netflix style streaming or simple basic playback as extenders.
For Netflix and all internet streamings, I use Smart TV. It can streams as good as my previous Roku...
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post #16 of 17 Old 12-27-2013, 06:43 AM
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TV are too small. I need a projector

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #17 of 17 Old 12-27-2013, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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TV are too small. I need a projector

You can try this "LG Electronics PA75U Slim LED Projector with WXGA Resolution WiDi and Smart TV". It's not perfect, but some users got Netflix to work with this projector using Plex. I'm sure that more manufactures will introduce projectors with Netflix soon.....

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