Integrating streaming services into HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-14-2014, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I was wondering how people get their streaming services on their HTPC, specifically Netflix and Amazon. Right now I'm forced to rely on the smart apps on my TV because I can't find a decent, remote friendly way of streaming. Here's what I know of as options, would love it if others can comment.

Netflix:

Win8 App (no remote support, correct? So I'd need a keyboard?)
NetfliXBMC (looks like a new app for XBMC, does anyone have experience with this? http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=178693

Amazon:

Anything? The Bluecop repository stopped working because Amazon turned on DRM, and the work around with Firefox is iffy.

Other:

Anyone have experience with PlayOn? http://www.playon.tv/store/buy/playon/ Having a sale right now, $40 for the lifetime subscription. I feel like I've read bad things about them in the past, but can't remember for sure.
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-14-2014, 09:47 AM
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I still use my old fat PS3 for Netflix. I have a remote setup to work with the PS3. The image quality lately is remarkable good. I have not tried using the silverlight Netflix WMC 7 add on for more than six months. However, at that point the PS3 was so superior I always left WMC7 and used the PS3.
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-14-2014, 09:51 AM
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Windows Media Center has a native Netflix application and there is a newly resurected Amazon Instant video plugin for Media Center http://sharepointsnapple.com/amazonmceaddin/

-Josh
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-14-2014, 09:52 AM
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I got hit really hard by the Amazon DRM. To the point that it no longer works in Chrome unless I reset my DRM licenses every single time. this is MASSIVELY annoying.

I really look forward to an Amazon Prime plug-in or standalone app that I can use. Using the browser is a huge pain anyway. Nothing like the front-end for netflix or hulu.
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-14-2014, 09:53 AM
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Sad Bluecop Amazon stopped working, used to love it.
The Netflix WMC app, and the Amazon Instant plugin for WMC both work good. I tried Playon, seemed really clunky/ugly to me and stopped using it pretty quickly.
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-14-2014, 02:46 PM
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So, are we saying that with all the front ends, XMBC, JRiver and Plex that none integrate streaming services? WOW. So if I go build an HTPC, which I ordered all the parts last night, by the way. I don't have a way of a nice user presentation, but have to go to each web and/or download their app? Hopefully, I've misunderstood....
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-14-2014, 03:36 PM
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For those front ends only via Playon, and it doesn't look real nice. There are also Win8 "Metro" apps such as Netflix, but they are not remote friendly.
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so no one has a great solution? Guess I'll keep looking and hoping :-)
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 06:17 AM
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Windows Media Center has Netflix. There is an Amazon Prime Plugin with a nice interface but I could not get a clear picture out of any video I streamed.

The latest version of Playon has the ability to stream in HD (720p most likely) and it does work through WMC with the VMCPlayit App, but I cannot get an HD Picture through XBMC.

Hulu just dropped support for their Hulu Desktop App, but XBMC and Plex are worthy options.



Something in the back of my mind is telling me that these companies are purposefully dropping support for HTPC setup in favor of the Rokus and Apple TVs of the world. Netflix API no where to be found, Amazon's DRM configuration, Hulu Desktop craps out when attempting to stream, the WatchABC App now requires authentication, etc etc etc

So for now, if I want to watch Netflix, I use WMC. If I want to watch Amazon Prime, I use my Blu Ray Player. If I want to watch Hulu, I use XBMC.
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 06:28 AM
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The win8 netflix app is quite nice. I use a mouse for 90% of my win8 needs and have a small keyboard nearby if needed. I also have a PS3 but have not even turned it on since going to win8. I use XBMC for NFL rewind, WMC for OTA tuner, Total Media Theater 6 for Blu-ray. I hardly ever use Amazon anymore but when I do, I use chrome. I do wish Amazon would have a dedicated video app for win8.
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post #11 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gewbert View Post

Ok, so no one has a great solution? Guess I'll keep looking and hoping :-)
The WMC and Win 8 Netflix apps are for the birds. Bakerja lost me at "I use a mouse for 90%...". If I have to use a keyboard/mouse AT ALL, then it has no place in my home theater. If it maxes out at 720p or is transcoded garbage, then it has no place in my home theater. I think you have the best solution already, using your smart TV (or equivalent). If you find a better solution, please let us know.
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post #12 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 08:25 AM
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I am running into the same problem with my HTPC.  I used Netflix for a long time but since 95% of everything I own (only a slight exaggeration) is from Amazon adding the Prime account was a no-brainer.  Since Netflix was the only thing keeping me on WMC I'm going to switch my system to XBMC as much prefer its GUI over WMC (I know... skins and all that but who wants to mess with all that :)).  

 

I used WMC for Netflix for a long time and the app is horrible but it was the best option I had at the time.  I haven't tried the Amazon Prime app on either XBMC or WMC but looking at what you're all saying it may be a moot point as those apps seem to have limited support.

 

My ultimate goal was to eliminate the need for any additional device (i.e. WDTV or Roku)... looks like I'll hold on to my Roku boxes for the time being :confused:

 

As far as having any kind of keyboard and mouse on hand as necessity?  NO THANK YOU.  I keep a logitech K400 close by in case something comes up where typing but that is definitely the exception and NOT the rule.  

 

I'm sure you folks are aware of this blog but if you're not... http://assassinhtpcblog.com/

 

Again, may all be moot points if these plug-ins are no longer supported.. but worth investigating.  

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post #13 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 08:47 AM
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Xbox 360 for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and OTA TV through the extender. XBMC for everything else.
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiggSaw View Post

Xbox 360 for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and OTA TV through the extender. XBMC for everything else.

Don't forget to tack on the Xbox Live Subscription Fee to use those services, which is why the 360 is not used for this in my home.
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 09:08 AM
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a refurb Roku HD only runs about $50... does Redbox, Amazon, and Netflix extremely well.

 

I recommend starting there if you can't get the plugs to work in XBMC.

 

Although I should say that the BEST Netflix app is on Win8 Metro but the remote support is essentially non-existent.  

 

WDTV is the 2nd best.  I really do not care for the GUI of the Roku Netflix App but, as I said before, I use mostly Amazon Prime which is not available on WDTV right now.  

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post #16 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post

a refurb Roku HD only runs about $50... does Redbox, Amazon, and Netflix extremely well.

Sadly this may be the way I end up going.... with a Harmony (or possibly eventGhost to get better integration with a front-end?) the usability might be acceptable.

SoapBox: I got a free chromecast from work a couple months ago... it's a sexy little device but, sadly, it does not appear to support prime :-(
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cfineman View Post


SoapBox: I got a free chromecast from work a couple months ago... it's a sexy little device but, sadly, it does not appear to support prime :-(

 

I understand that is frustrating... Amazon and Android (read Google) have historically played nice together so it might be in the future.  

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post #18 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post

I understand that is frustrating... Amazon and Android (read Google) have historically played nice together so it might be in the future.  

Except when it comes to having their Video on Demand service available. Because iOS and the Kindle Fires have an app, but normal Android users don't.
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post

I understand that is frustrating... Amazon and Android (read Google) have historically played nice together so it might be in the future.  

Actually... that's not entirely true :-) They chose android because of the favourable licensing.... then proceeded to fork the code base. For example, a stock kindle config cannot access the play store.
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post #20 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfineman View Post


Actually... that's not entirely true :-) They chose android because of the favourable licensing.... then proceeded to fork the code base. For example, a stock kindle config cannot access the play store.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gewbert View Post


Except when it comes to having their Video on Demand service available. Because iOS and the Kindle Fires have an app, but normal Android users don't.

 

 

I was unaware of that fact... please ignore my earlier comment :)

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post #21 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post

So, are we saying that with all the front ends, XMBC, JRiver and Plex that none integrate streaming services? WOW. So if I go build an HTPC, which I ordered all the parts last night, by the way. I don't have a way of a nice user presentation, but have to go to each web and/or download their app? Hopefully, I've misunderstood....

You are mostly correct.

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post #22 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 12:04 PM
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Roku 3 + Harmony Remote. In other words, no integration at the HTPC level, only at the HT level.

 

 

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post #23 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 12:56 PM
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I think stardog hit it on the money. My Plex Home Theater has access to "channels" which sorta let you watch some channels that have webisodes, but it isn't anything related to Netflix, Amazon, etc.

PS3 really is the answer for me.

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post #24 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Roku 3 + Harmony Remote. In other words, no integration at the HTPC level, only at the HT level.

With a high quality remote like the Harmony I think you will find that switching to another box, like a Roku, is very effortless and still feels integrated and clean.

 

I'm in the camp of people that would LOVE to have my whole system run through my HTPC but with a Cable Box (would love to run Comcast through my TV Tuner but Comcast sucks... but that's for a different thread) already on my TV stand the addition of 3.5 square inch Roku box is hardly cumbersome.  

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post #25 of 26 Old 01-15-2014, 01:50 PM
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If Harmony is too expensive, really any universal remote with macro capability can give you a seamless experience across multiple devices. My universal remote was only $8 yet does nearly everything Harmony can plus quite a few things Harmony can't (nested subroutines, conditional branching, variables, unlimited devices, etc.).

Even without a universal remote, HDMI-CEC can give you a seamless experience in many cases.
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post #26 of 26 Old 02-01-2014, 04:36 AM
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If remotes are a bother, have you thought about the small keyboards with track pads on them? Cheap enough on Amazon, and it really is one remote for everything on a htpc (plus a TV remote). The size of the one we have is not much bigger than a TV remote, perhaps twice the width. I have these little boxes now, ATV, roku, pi and an old htpc (currently waiting on parts for a new one), and to be totally honest, I much prefer just using the htpc. Fed up with all these remotes Lol and I'm not a fan of the iPhone remotes. Also fed up looking for them! Sorry, a little off topic... I've not tried windows 8 yet, but its going in my new htpc set up, as I think it will be a nice new interface for it.
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