Anyone ever wish they did their HTPC right the first time? (or better?) - Page 3 - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
post #61 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 12:06 PM
AVS Special Member
 
gtgray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,422
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Liked: 53
I wander back into this thread with trepidation. I don't know why HTPC is such a mystical thing. It really is just a PC used for media duties.


My first HTPC was an HP Box with an early Athlon X2 (4200+), factory TV tuner and Windows Media Center/Remote MCE2005 . It worked robustly for a long time. I next bought a Slim Media HP dual E3300 box about 2007 with a Blu-Ray drive and Vista I guess. It was a slick little PC that worked well when the memory was bumped up. The mainboard died a couple of years in and a replacement was unobtainium. I still admire how nice a design it was in some ways.


I built an Atom Ion box and it played ATSC and Cable TV just fine. It played Blu-Ray okay but struggled with VC1 encodes and Dolby Digital Plus. Cheap and worked fine. Next was an i3-530 with and intel SSD. I like that machine a lot and it gets used as a sometime live TV mostly JRiver MC Audio player. My main rig is nothing more than MicroCenter Power Spec Sandy Bridge i3 minitower with a Ceton 4 and a Nvidia GT545. It works it is just not pretty and it uses more power than I would like.


Now I had issues here and there over time with all of them but it was rarely hardware issues it was software. There is no mystery to HTPC, it is just a PC. It is hard to make a serious error today on the hardware unless you go the overkill approach and waste resources. I am picking up yet another purpose built HTPC one my brother built before he got frustrated with Comcast and Ceton. It is a Low Power Pentium Sandy Bridge in a Silverstone case with Win 7 on an intel SSD. I am paying $150 bucks for it.


I just don't get the concept that we need Guru's to tell us how to build HTPCs. They are just modern PCs with a media software platform like WMC, JRiver, XBMC or Plex to facilitate playback. It is no longer all that complicated. Clearly experience sharing in the Community is what AVS is about but this is simple stuff these days and even tiny low power platforms excel at running these media software platforms. I will even go so far as to say that we may be nearing the end of traditional HTPC if Android TV pans out. My brother just picked up an NVidia K1 Tablet and it is pretty amazing and supposedly will run Android TV when available. A media box based on that platform could just be the beginning of the end of HTPCs in the traditional sense here.

Just another blank signature.

Last edited by gtgray; 08-03-2014 at 04:10 PM.
gtgray is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #62 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 12:55 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ajhieb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,485
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
Haha.... So true. Harbor Freight is great on price and terrible on quality; ok actually it's hit or miss but you point is understood. I'm not sure it help you though.... Every time I cheap out at harbor freight and end up trashing or breaking a tool I wish I had bought the better one, often end up doing so and have much the same regret. The low price attracts you, and for good reason, but in the long rum there's a lot of reasons why you should have done more diligence and did it right. Long term it's a better solution.
No the point still stands. You asked why people cheap out and that's one of the reasons people cheap out. It seems like a bargain, or they just don't care. The question wasn't about the outcome, the question was about the driving motivation.

That said, There is nothing inherently wrong with the tools from HF, despite the lack of quality. For some people's purposes, they work just fine. For the limited use they have planned for them, there is no need to go blow a bunch of money on name brand tools. The same can be said for HTPC projects. Many HTPCs are going to see limited use, so cutting some corners isn't necessarily going to cause problems.

The regrets arise when you don't properly gauge what you need. The regrets arise when you don't have a well thought out plan, or you don't follow through with the execution of the plan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
But I've bought harbor freight tools, and I've bought a lot of good tools to replace them but I also have some that are going strong. I make the same mistakes with power tools as I do with htpcs it seems. At least I'm learning.

The one area I seem to be doing ok is hard drives; my strategy to buy cheap mainstream consumer drives seems to have (be) working well. It's been more than couple years and I've yet to replace a failed drive. Best run I've ever had actually.
So after replacing every single one of your WD Green mainstream consumer drives, you learned your lesson, and bought a bunch more mainstream consumer drives?


You learn funny.
ilovejedd likes this.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
ajhieb is online now  
post #63 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 01:15 PM
Advanced Member
 
adam1991's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 763
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Liked: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtgray View Post
I wander back into this thread with trepidation. I don't why HTPC is such a mystical thing. It really is just a PC used for media duties....

I just don't get the concept that we need Guru's to tell us how to build HTPCs. They are just modern PCs with a media software platform like WMC, JRiver, XBMC or Plex to facilitate playback. It is no longer all that complicated.
Agreed, 100%.

But there are people here who define their worth around what they know about HTPC and how long they've spent gaining the knowledge. They refuse to give it up; they refuse to acknowledge that what was once the exclusive realm of award-winning physicists, is now the work of a tinsmith (to paraphrase someone talking about atomic weapons). They desperately want it to be something mysterious and something requiring pointed hats and magic wands and magic dust and incantations. They desperately WANT it to be something Joe Sixpack can't do.

But it's not, not anymore. Two years ago I helped a buddy build his HTPC. He had five Replays all running, then Replay announced they were through. Add to that the fact that the local cableco had switched most of the analog service off, plus I had been bragging on my setup. So he was ready to move to WMC.

He bought an off the shelf PC from Micro Center's clearance table, added a couple off the shelf hard drives for recorder storage, threw in two Ceton tuners, and in a couple of hours we were finished. It's been running ever since, doing exactly what he wants: recording TV for him and his wife to watch.

No muss, no fuss. It may not be the prettiest setup in the world, but it works and works great. He even added in RecordedTV HD and now swears by it.

I think what gets some people is that they can't accept the idea of setting up a PC to do a single task. They're desperate to make one tool do everything they want to do in life. With video, and with family, that's a dangerous path to take. But some people think THEY'RE above the danger, that THEY know how to achieve what no one else can.

And they're always wrong. And they come here, looking for The Answer, looking for Truth, because they're just SURE that the answer is just a registry change away, a new piece of hardware away, a new codec pack away. Because after all, if you read this forum, it sure looks that way. But it's not.

If you want to build your own fee-free cable box for the family, you can do it. But if you want the reliability and stability of the cableco equipment, set it up to do just those tasks and LEAVE IT ALONE. If you can't keep your hands off of it, and if you insist on using it as a multitasker, don't come griping that your wife isn't happy.

And quit trying to force your "I can't run wires, there's no way, so I'm going to run wireless networking and I'm sure it'll be OK" attitude onto the project. No, it won't be OK, and no amount of coming in here like Aunt Bea wringing her hands is going to change that.

Maybe you don't want recorded TV. Maybe you want to rip and store movies, and create your own in-house Netflix. Great. But many of the basics apply. Quit trying to make that one PC do it all. Quit trying to force that 4 year old laptop to do unnatural acts.

But once you've decided to use modern hardware, it's not difficult at all. You don't have to overkill it with hardware.

And for those of you trying to find the minimal edge of exactly how little hardware can do what you need with exactly zero overspend, well, that's a cute game--but if you just do it and accept that you might have spent $50 more than you absolutely had to, you can move on to other things in your life. What's that worth?
adam1991 is offline  
post #64 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 06:11 PM
Advanced Member
 
jhughy2010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
Don't transcode anything. Leave it as is, otherwise, what's the point of having Blu-Ray in the first place? I rip Blu-Rays to mkv files with the original bitrates and HD audio intact.
How do you not transcode when your watching a movie from your sever when you are 50 miles away?

Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

jhughy2010 is offline  
post #65 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 06:23 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtgray View Post
I just don't get the concept that we need Guru's to tell us how to build HTPCs. They are just modern PCs with a media software platform like WMC, JRiver, XBMC or Plex to facilitate playback. It is no longer all that complicated. Clearly experience sharing in the Community is what AVS is about but this is simple stuff these days and even tiny low power platforms excel at running these media software platforms. I will even go so far as to say that we may be nearing the end of traditional HTPC if Android TV pans out. My brother just picked up an NVidia K1 Tablet and it is pretty amazing and supposedly will run Android TV when available. A media box based on that platform could just be the beginning of the end of HTPCs in the traditional sense here.
To be honest, I never recommend going the HTPC route to my acquaintances. Roku, FireTV, AppleTV, PS3 or standalone Blu-ray player paired with their cable/satellite company's DVR is the solution I recommend to Joe Sixpack.

Sure, HTPCs as a whole are a lot more mature compared to before. Even a low end Celeron should have no problem dealing with most content without hardware acceleration and ease of software setup and usability has improved compared to before. However, even when setup as an appliance, issues can crop up here and there that your average Joe typically wouldn't have the patience to deal with.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #66 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 06:32 PM
Advanced Member
 
jhughy2010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post
To be honest, I never recommend going the HTPC route to my acquaintances. Roku, FireTV, AppleTV, PS3 or standalone Blu-ray player paired with their cable/satellite company's DVR is the solution I recommend to Joe Sixpack.

Sure, HTPCs as a whole are a lot more mature compared to before. Even a low end Celeron should have no problem dealing with most content without hardware acceleration and ease of software setup and usability has improved compared to before. However, even when setup as an appliance, issues can crop up here and there that your average Joe typically wouldn't have the patience to deal with.
True, however, my mom (who suffers from the same technological disadvantage as most elders) has had no problem with the HTPC I built her three months ago. I made the thing boot right to WMC and I told her to never turn it off (just press the sleep button on the remote, which conveniently looks like the power button). She now enjoys the ability to watch movies from Mediabrowser (easy enough), watch cable TV via WMC and record almost an unlimited amount of content, watch netflix without having to switch inputs, lastly she doesn't have to pay the cable company DVR rental fee's.

It is possible!

Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

jhughy2010 is offline  
post #67 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 06:36 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
How do you not transcode when your watching a movie from your sever when you are 50 miles away?
Media Browser and Plex should do live transcoding automatically.

Personally, I just keep multiple copies of my movies on the server - a full rip version and an encoded mobile-friendly x264 720p version with AAC stereo audio. The latter takes up very little space and with QuickSync, takes only minutes to encode. Since the encodes are small (~2-3GB each), it's easy enough to carry a whole of bunch of movies and TV shows with me on a 2.5" 2TB portable HDD so I don't have to deal with the vagaries of internet in whatever location I'm going to.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #68 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 06:53 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ajhieb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,485
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
True, however, my mom (who suffers from the same technological disadvantage as most elders) has had no problem with the HTPC I built her three months ago. I made the thing boot right to WMC and I told her to never turn it off (just press the sleep button on the remote, which conveniently looks like the power button). She now enjoys the ability to watch movies from Mediabrowser (easy enough), watch cable TV via WMC and record almost an unlimited amount of content, watch netflix without having to switch inputs, lastly she doesn't have to pay the cable company DVR rental fee's.

It is possible!
But it was only possible because you built it for her. If she had to do it she probably couldn't have.

The whole catch to the "anybody can do it" mantra is that you have to be PC literate to begin with. If you have a working knowledge of computers it is a trivial task to setup a HTPC for basic use. If you don't have a working knowledge of PCs then it is nigh impossible.

While I might be inclined to put together a HTPC for close friends or family, I would never recommend it for an acquaintance. If they don't know enough to already want an HTPC then an HTPC probably isn't a good fit for them.
ilovejedd and jhughy2010 like this.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
ajhieb is online now  
post #69 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 07:06 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
True, however, my mom (who suffers from the same technological disadvantage as most elders) has had no problem with the HTPC I built her three months ago. I made the thing boot right to WMC and I told her to never turn it off (just press the sleep button on the remote, which conveniently looks like the power button). She now enjoys the ability to watch movies from Mediabrowser (easy enough), watch cable TV via WMC and record almost an unlimited amount of content, watch netflix without having to switch inputs, lastly she doesn't have to pay the cable company DVR rental fee's.

It is possible!
Possible, yes. My parents' HTPC are setup similarly. However, they're trained to never turn it off or put it to sleep since their TV acts kinda wonky and loses HDMI sync. But what happens when the HDD craps out or the motherboard fails (never getting Zotac again)? It's fine since I live with them and have enough spare parts (or even spare PCs altogether) that I can easily get them up and running quite quickly. I'm not about to do house calls for anyone else.
ajhieb likes this.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #70 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 07:12 PM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Liked: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
How do you not transcode when your watching a movie from your sever when you are 50 miles away?
Get a better internet connection or just stay home?
jhughy2010 likes this.
captain_video is online now  
post #71 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
Mfusick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Western MA
Posts: 23,632
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 184 Post(s)
Liked: 931
I don't know any internet service that will offer faster enough upload for a full BR rip or spec of bitrate. Some people travel for a living as well, which is usually some of the people wanting to do transcodes when away so bad because traveling on a plane 5 times a week with nothing to do really sucks.

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
Mfusick is online now  
post #72 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 07:37 PM
Senior Member
 
iamjason's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 286
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 14
good thread as i do have plans on putting together a htpc for our movie room - i like reading assisigns guide and will base most of what i do around his info since i have no clue what would be needed and want something that is straight forward and easy to use and set up - for me i am wanting to just rip all my movies to hardrives, run something like xbmc, add netflix, vudu and amazon apps and call it a day - i have no idea what transcoding is so i am assuming that is not something i need to consider. i am not needing any other room to connect to this nor would i be a pc gamer - i would be looking at getting quality parts that would last me years and when set up does not need any tinkering -

as for harbor freight - i like them for tools that are inexpensive and that i need for a specific project and will more than likely never need again - for example i am making a fire pit with seating area and i bought an angle grinder to cut bricks.....cost me 9 bucks - gets the job done and it will last beyond this project -
iamjason is online now  
post #73 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 08:08 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ajhieb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,485
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I don't know any internet service that will offer faster enough upload for a full BR rip or spec of bitrate. Some people travel for a living as well, which is usually some of the people wanting to do transcodes when away so bad because traveling on a plane 5 times a week with nothing to do really sucks.
If you travel that much, transcoding isn't really a very good option either. I've had to travel a ton for my job and hotel and airport/airplane internet access is too sketchy. If you travel that much, it is almost certainly for work, and if you travel that much for work, you almost certainly have a laptop you'll be hauling around with you. Copying enough movies and TV shows (on the internal hard drive or an external hard drive) for the trip isn't that hard, and a much more reliable and high quality solution.

Considering my media consumption habits, my media collection, the equipment I have and the amount of travel I do, I should be the poster child for streaming/transcoded media, but I have absolutely no interest in doing it as it is an inferior solution to what I'm already doing.

Speaking of... How's your buddy doing with the Media Server that you (over)built for him? You remember... the guy who already had all of his media on an external hard drive and traveled with his laptop, but you insisted that he needed to build a transcoding server so he could leave his hard drive at home. That way instead of having his entire collection with him, in its original quality, instead he could watch some of his media collection on the road (at reduced quality of course). Yeah... that guy. How'd all that work out?

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
ajhieb is online now  
post #74 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 09:26 PM
Advanced Member
 
jhughy2010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post
Media Browser and Plex should do live transcoding automatically.

Personally, I just keep multiple copies of my movies on the server - a full rip version and an encoded mobile-friendly x264 720p version with AAC stereo audio. The latter takes up very little space and with QuickSync, takes only minutes to encode. Since the encodes are small (~2-3GB each), it's easy enough to carry a whole of bunch of movies and TV shows with me on a 2.5" 2TB portable HDD so I don't have to deal with the vagaries of internet in whatever location I'm going to.
True!!! You are right in the fact that sometimes (and for most circumstances) it is easier to take an encoded movie or video, put it on your external drive, and travel around with it. On the other hand, what about my mother who wants to have access to my entire library all the time? What about my best friend who watches movies religiously and whose wife won't let him purchase his own HTPC server? He would be a good candidate for a library of hundreds of encoded BD movies, however, I am not about to take my entire library and encode them all for anybody, especially because QuickSync encoding doesn't work all the time. These circumstances rely on transcoding... especially because my BF has a Roku and not an HTPC or laptop to connect to his main room TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
But it was only possible because you built it for her. If she had to do it she probably couldn't have.

The whole catch to the "anybody can do it" mantra is that you have to be PC literate to begin with. If you have a working knowledge of computers it is a trivial task to setup a HTPC for basic use. If you don't have a working knowledge of PCs then it is nigh impossible.

While I might be inclined to put together a HTPC for close friends or family, I would never recommend it for an acquaintance. If they don't know enough to already want an HTPC then an HTPC probably isn't a good fit for them.
I agree, I am her tech support and I did it all for her from start to finish. I don't mind doing such a thing for a close friend either... I see your point about acquaintances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
Get a better internet connection or just stay home?
Lol! I tried Comcast's 50Mbps download and advertised "up to" 10Mbps upload (it was an extra $12 on top of the already $67 or so I was paying per month) and it only yielded 5-6Mbps upload. I went back to the 25Mbps plan they offer and I was getting 4-5Mbps. So it was not worth it to the keep the faster plan for such a minimal gain. I really don't do much downloading so I didn't need the faster download speeds. If we are streaming Netflix at home, usually only one person is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamjason View Post
I have no idea what transcoding is so i am assuming that is not something i need to consider. i am not needing any other room to connect to this nor would i be a pc gamer - i would be looking at getting quality parts that would last me years and when set up does not need any tinkering -
Transcoding is essential for an HTPC server IMO. Even if you are not going to access your content remotely, transcoding via MB3 will allow you to watch your content from your phone on your back porch or watch it on your Roku in your bedroom, or even watch it in your garage on your Samsung smart TV. These are just devices that MB3 supports. The possibilities are very broad... I just think that setting up a server somewhere, whether it be on your HTPC or a different PC altogether, is a lot of fun and extremely convenient as far as accessing your content.

Also, HTPC's require a bit of tinkering at first, but as some have stated here in the past, usually an HTPC enthusiast ends up tinkering with things in general and will tinker with their HTPC inevitably.

Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

jhughy2010 is offline  
post #75 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 10:12 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ajhieb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,485
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
True!!! You are right in the fact that sometimes (and for most circumstances) it is easier to take an encoded movie or video, put it on your external drive, and travel around with it. On the other hand, what about my mother who wants to have access to my entire library all the time? What about my best friend who watches movies religiously and whose wife won't let him purchase his own HTPC server? He would be a good candidate for a library of hundreds of encoded BD movies, however, I am not about to take my entire library and encode them all for anybody, especially because QuickSync encoding doesn't work all the time. These circumstances rely on transcoding... especially because my BF has a Roku and not an HTPC or laptop to connect to his main room TV.
It doesn't sound like transcoding is a requirement at all for you to enjoy your media library. Sounds to me like the issue is your mom and friend want to treat your library like it is theirs. Without getting into the legalities of such, unless your library is a bunch of home movies, I'd posit that they would probably be better of with a NetFlix/Hulu subscription instead of trying to use your library. My guess is (just like with @Mfusick 's family and friends) none of them would have ever asked, "Hey, that's an impressive library you have setup there... Is there any way you could share it with me so I can just watch it via the internet?) without you having suggested it to them in the first place.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
Transcoding is essential for an HTPC server IMO. Even if you are not going to access your content remotely, transcoding via MB3 will allow you to watch your content from your phone on your back porch or watch it on your Roku in your bedroom, or even watch it in your garage on your Samsung smart TV. These are just devices that MB3 supports. The possibilities are very broad... I just think that setting up a server somewhere, whether it be on your HTPC or a different PC altogether, is a lot of fun and extremely convenient as far as accessing your content.
If you're saying that transcoding is essential for your server, then you'd probably be te best judge of that, but if you're trying to say it is essential in general, I couldn't possibly disagree more. Plenty of people (myself included) aren't the least bit interested in the novelty of watching TV or movies on a 4" screen, simply because the technology exists. If I'm away from my house and not in a hotel room, I'm almost certainly occupied with something more important that squeezing in an episode of "America's Talented People are Getting Evaluated by the Ethnic Judge, the Sweet Judge, the Snarky Judge, and the Talented Judge." If I'm in my home, I'm going to watch on a real TV, in full quality, and if I'm in my hotel room, Anything I'm interested in watching that isn't on cable will be coming from the HD in my laptop connected to the HDMI port of the hotel TV.

I get that some people are utterly captivated by the technology and want to have something streaming (and probably transcoding) all the time however, I don't think it is a practical solution in most cases. I get the sneaky suspicion that a lot of people insist on setting it up not because of any particular need for it, but simply because they are aware it is a thing that exists, and thus they want to be able to do it too.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
ajhieb is online now  
post #76 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 10:23 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
True!!! You are right in the fact that sometimes (and for most circumstances) it is easier to take an encoded movie or video, put it on your external drive, and travel around with it. On the other hand, what about my mother who wants to have access to my entire library all the time? What about my best friend who watches movies religiously and whose wife won't let him purchase his own HTPC server? He would be a good candidate for a library of hundreds of encoded BD movies, however, I am not about to take my entire library and encode them all for anybody, especially because QuickSync encoding doesn't work all the time. These circumstances rely on transcoding... especially because my BF has a Roku and not an HTPC or laptop to connect to his main room TV.
One, I'm not sharing my media library with anyone who's not living with me. Ripping for personal use is already a gray area. I'm not about to compound it by acting as a Netflix server for friends and family.

Two, so far, QuickSync (via Handbrake) has always worked for me for encoding commercial DVDs, HD-DVDs and BDs into mobile-friendly formats. If QuickSync doesn't work, there's always Handbrake, MeGUI, ffmpeg, x264, etc. As far as I'm aware, Plex and MediaBrowser just use ffmpeg to transcode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
Transcoding is essential for an HTPC server IMO. Even if you are not going to access your content remotely, transcoding via MB3 will allow you to watch your content from your phone on your back porch or watch it on your Roku in your bedroom, or even watch it in your garage on your Samsung smart TV. These are just devices that MB3 supports. The possibilities are very broad... I just think that setting up a server somewhere, whether it be on your HTPC or a different PC altogether, is a lot of fun and extremely convenient as far as accessing your content.
Not really. There's more than one way to skin a cat. It just depends on an individual how they wish to tackle this issue. If Plex Media Server and MediaBrowser Server are able to transcode the content, then it's also entirely possible to have it encoded via Handbrake, MeGUI, CLI, etc. prior to serving. With the first approach, you'd need a relatively beefy server. With the latter, you just need a computer that can do the encoding and the encoded file could be served from a low-power ARM-based NAS.

Last edited by ilovejedd; 08-03-2014 at 10:28 PM.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #77 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 11:04 PM
Advanced Member
 
jhughy2010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
It doesn't sound like transcoding is a requirement at all for you to enjoy your media library. Sounds to me like the issue is your mom and friend want to treat your library like it is theirs. Without getting into the legalities of such, unless your library is a bunch of home movies, I'd posit that they would probably be better of with a NetFlix/Hulu subscription instead of trying to use your library. My guess is (just like with @Mfusick 's family and friends) none of them would have ever asked, "Hey, that's an impressive library you have setup there... Is there any way you could share it with me so I can just watch it via the internet?) without you having suggested it to them in the first place.




If you're saying that transcoding is essential for your server, then you'd probably be te best judge of that, but if you're trying to say it is essential in general, I couldn't possibly disagree more. Plenty of people (myself included) aren't the least bit interested in the novelty of watching TV or movies on a 4" screen, simply because the technology exists. If I'm away from my house and not in a hotel room, I'm almost certainly occupied with something more important that squeezing in an episode of "America's Talented People are Getting Evaluated by the Ethnic Judge, the Sweet Judge, the Snarky Judge, and the Talented Judge." If I'm in my home, I'm going to watch on a real TV, in full quality, and if I'm in my hotel room, Anything I'm interested in watching that isn't on cable will be coming from the HD in my laptop connected to the HDMI port of the hotel TV.

I get that some people are utterly captivated by the technology and want to have something streaming (and probably transcoding) all the time however, I don't think it is a practical solution in most cases. I get the sneaky suspicion that a lot of people insist on setting it up not because of any particular need for it, but simply because they are aware it is a thing that exists, and thus they want to be able to do it too.
You're absolutely right (I bet you hear that alot, except for the ones that'll just argue with you) I don't really need to transcode, and in fact, I did suggest the media sharing with my friends and family. They were over here on occassion, saw it, and said "cool"... anyhow, they rarely ever use it, so I could just close up shop on it, but I find myself using the transcoding ability every once in awhile (the quality is lacking due to the limited upload speed).

Anyhow, I haven't figured out how to not transcode when I want to watch a movie on a device that won't direct play.
jhughy2010 is offline  
post #78 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 11:10 PM
Advanced Member
 
jhughy2010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post
One, I'm not sharing my media library with anyone who's not living with me. Ripping for personal use is already a gray area. I'm not about to compound it by acting as a Netflix server for friends and family.

Two, so far, QuickSync (via Handbrake) has always worked for me for encoding commercial DVDs, HD-DVDs and BDs into mobile-friendly formats. If QuickSync doesn't work, there's always Handbrake, MeGUI, ffmpeg, x264, etc. As far as I'm aware, Plex and MediaBrowser just use ffmpeg to transcode.


Not really. There's more than one way to skin a cat. It just depends on an individual how they wish to tackle this issue. If Plex Media Server and MediaBrowser Server are able to transcode the content, then it's also entirely possible to have it encoded via Handbrake, MeGUI, CLI, etc. prior to serving. With the first approach, you'd need a relatively beefy server. With the latter, you just need a computer that can do the encoding and the encoded file could be served from a low-power ARM-based NAS.
I have played around with QuickSync on the handbrake nightly build, it seems to be pretty hit or miss as to the outcome. Some movies haven't been encoded properly, other mkv files simply were just converted to mp4 without compression. I do, however, like the outcome from HEVC via handbrake.

I'm interested in the last point you made. Can you elaborate? Are you suggesting using a NAS as a server? If so, why would it be beneficial to use encoded files?
jhughy2010 is offline  
post #79 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 12:12 AM
Senior Member
 
kesawi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked: 23
The biggest lesson I've learnt is keep it simple, adding complexity only makes things harder to fix. It’s easier when the wife calls me at work with a problem to tell her just to reboot this machine or the Wi-Fi modem, than to grab the keyboard, shutdown this service, run this command as an administrator, etc.

Together with the first lesson, is that if it isn’t broken, then don't fix it. I've lost count of the number of times I've applied a patch or update to my HTPC just because it's the latest version, or tinkered with something to get 0.1% improvement, and then spent the following days trying get it stable and functional again. Before messing around with anything, make a backup image so that you can easily revert back to where you were before you messed it up. It's better than telling the wife that she can't use the TV or watch her shows. Definitely don't try one last thing just before you go do bed, as it's usually the straw that breaks the camel's back, and messes up everything you just did so that you spend until 4am trying to get it to work so that the wife can watch TV over breakfast.

Another lesson I've learnt is that a jack of all trades HTPC is a master of none. Sacrifices generally need to be made to the quality of one service in order to make another service work better. Budget constraints generally mean that a single machine is all that most can start out with. Having recently migrated to a dedicated client / dedicated server model my HTPC is now much faster and more stable. My server is still handling tasks that would be better with a few extra dedicated devices, but its adequate so long as my UPS has enough battery life to keep everything running through a power failure and I don’t need to reboot the server.

Having learnt all of the above, I still continue to ignore it and do the same things over and over again
ilovejedd, ajhieb and Wootable like this.


Last edited by kesawi; 08-04-2014 at 02:23 AM.
kesawi is offline  
post #80 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 12:27 AM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
I have played around with QuickSync on the handbrake nightly build, it seems to be pretty hit or miss as to the outcome. Some movies haven't been encoded properly, other mkv files simply were just converted to mp4 without compression. I do, however, like the outcome from HEVC via handbrake.
Hmm, I've never had that issue (svn6169 + i3-2100). Actually, one of my pet peeves with Handbrake is that it always encodes video and doesn't allow video passthrough. Perhaps your settings were just too high? I just use Constant Quality QP 20-22. Could also be a bug in the latest nightly.

I don't really recommend encoding to HEVC at this point in time. You can probably get the same quality with x264 and H.264 is a standard that's already widely supported by mobile and media streaming devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post
I'm interested in the last point you made. Can you elaborate? Are you suggesting using a NAS as a server? If so, why would it be beneficial to use encoded files?
I'm not really suggesting anything. I'm just saying it's a possibility. What solution works best depends entirely on individual circumstances and preferences.

Live transcoding, such as through Plex Media Server (PMS) and MediaBrowser Server (MBS), requires considerable CPU muscle particularly if serving to multiple devices simultaneously. However, if you encode files to make them compatible with media streamers and mobile devices (something like 720p/1080p x264 Main/High Profile L4.0 with AAC-LC stereo audio in MP4 container should work on most new devices) and use a sufficiently low bitrate to account for network conditions, then you're not gonna need a lot of CPU power for the server. I'm not sure about MBS but you can run PMS on a variety of devices including relatively inexpensive ARM-based NAS from QNAP, Synology, etc.

Another benefit to encoding vs real-time transcoding is quality. Usually, the fastest settings/preset are used for real-time transcodes resulting in lower quality at the same bitrate. If you encode, you can use slower, higher quality settings/preset to preserve as much PQ as possible.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #81 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 12:37 AM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by kesawi View Post
The biggest lesson I've learnt is keep it simple, adding complexity only makes things harder to fix. It’s easier when the wife calls me at work with a problem to tell her just to reboot this machine or the Wi-Fi modem, than to grab the keyboard, shutdown this service, run this command as an administrator, etc.

Together with the first lesson, is that is if it isn’t broken, then don't fix it. I've lost count of the number of times I've applied a patch or update to my HTPC just because it's the latest version, or tinkered with something to get 0.1% improvement, and then spent the following days trying get it stable and functional again.
Yep, this is key. I don't mess with the HTPCs in the living room and my parents' bedroom. Auto-update is also disabled on those. That said, I can tinker to my heart's content with the HTPC in my bedroom and a couple of development builds. When I'm ready to implement changes, I just do a complete swap of the already tested dev builds and production builds. Practically no downtime.
kesawi and ajhieb like this.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #82 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 02:47 AM
Advanced Member
 
balky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 860
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtgray View Post
I wander back into this thread with trepidation. I don't know why HTPC is such a mystical thing. It really is just a PC used for media duties.


My first HTPC was an HP Box with an early Athlon X2 (4200+), factory TV tuner and Windows Media Center/Remote MCE2005 . It worked robustly for a long time. I next bought a Slim Media HP dual E3300 box about 2007 with a Blu-Ray drive and Vista I guess. It was a slick little PC that worked well when the memory was bumped up. The mainboard died a couple of years in and a replacement was unobtainium. I still admire how nice a design it was in some ways.


I built an Atom Ion box and it played ATSC and Cable TV just fine. It played Blu-Ray okay but struggled with VC1 encodes and Dolby Digital Plus. Cheap and worked fine. Next was an i3-530 with and intel SSD. I like that machine a lot and it gets used as a sometime live TV mostly JRiver MC Audio player. My main rig is nothing more than MicroCenter Power Spec Sandy Bridge i3 minitower with a Ceton 4 and a Nvidia GT545. It works it is just not pretty and it uses more power than I would like.


Now I had issues here and there over time with all of them but it was rarely hardware issues it was software. There is no mystery to HTPC, it is just a PC. It is hard to make a serious error today on the hardware unless you go the overkill approach and waste resources. I am picking up yet another purpose built HTPC one my brother built before he got frustrated with Comcast and Ceton. It is a Low Power Pentium Sandy Bridge in a Silverstone case with Win 7 on an intel SSD. I am paying $150 bucks for it.


I just don't get the concept that we need Guru's to tell us how to build HTPCs. They are just modern PCs with a media software platform like WMC, JRiver, XBMC or Plex to facilitate playback. It is no longer all that complicated. Clearly experience sharing in the Community is what AVS is about but this is simple stuff these days and even tiny low power platforms excel at running these media software platforms. I will even go so far as to say that we may be nearing the end of traditional HTPC if Android TV pans out. My brother just picked up an NVidia K1 Tablet and it is pretty amazing and supposedly will run Android TV when available. A media box based on that platform could just be the beginning of the end of HTPCs in the traditional sense here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
But it was only possible because you built it for her. If she had to do it she probably couldn't have.

The whole catch to the "anybody can do it" mantra is that you have to be PC literate to begin with. If you have a working knowledge of computers it is a trivial task to setup a HTPC for basic use. If you don't have a working knowledge of PCs then it is nigh impossible.

While I might be inclined to put together a HTPC for close friends or family, I would never recommend it for an acquaintance. If they don't know enough to already want an HTPC then an HTPC probably isn't a good fit for them.

While I am not on the side of "over-spend and kill it with resources" I also don't completely agree with putting in the barest minimum $ just to get the HTPC going...

That being said, it has been mentioned around here an uncountable number times that the HTPC is not for just anyone...

Many miss the point of (or simply don't realize) the fact that an HTPC is mostly a hobby thing... most guys doing HTPC as a hobby can afford standalones ten times over, but still prefer to spend more (money and time) on the PC... because it's mostly about the excitement of getting it done YOUR way...

It's not about the money for the hard-core HTPC enthusiasts... we need to respect that fact always...
Some enthusiasts spend much more than the others... IMO there is absolutely nothing wrong with that...

We sure need Guru's who take the time to analyze and compare bleeding edge to current / traditional technology...
This is very useful for some us who just won't be satisfied, no matter what...
For some of us, life becomes boring as soon as there is nothing new to play with...

I have nothing against the simplistic approach... get something that works and forget it... and I think it is good for those who want something real quick...

Heck, I have an example at home... the jail broken ATV2 in my son's room has been running the Plex client and has remained untouched for more than two years... while the main HTPC has seen numerous upgrades... mobo has been swapped at least 6 times... and recently upgraded GPU to an NVIDIA GTX-750 ti...

The HTPC is a mystical thing for those without the knowledge and it is also a bottomless money pit for some us who just like to have it new and bleeding edge...

From a personal standpoint... I never got it right the first time and doubt I will ever get it right... I will always change as soon as something new comes along... I just like keeping it top notch...

Going off now to continue my test Linux MB3 server build... if it gets to where I want it to be, the currently working super stable Plex server might likely be going out the window... not because of performance issues, but simply because of the MB3 eye candy...
Some of us are just like that...
If the next time Plex comes around, it comes with the MB3 or XBMC (Kodi to be) type of eye candy, I will evaluate again and make a decision...
It is just never going to be perfect...
ajhieb likes this.
balky is online now  
post #83 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 03:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
ajhieb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,485
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post
While I am not on the side of "over-spend and kill it with resources" I also don't completely agree with putting in the barest minimum $ just to get the HTPC going...

That being said, it has been mentioned around here an uncountable number times that the HTPC is not for just anyone...

Many miss the point of (or simply don't realize) the fact that an HTPC is mostly a hobby thing... most guys doing HTPC as a hobby can afford standalones ten times over, but still prefer to spend more (money and time) on the PC... because it's mostly about the excitement of getting it done YOUR way...

It's not about the money for the hard-core HTPC enthusiasts... we need to respect that fact always...
Some enthusiasts spend much more than the others... IMO there is absolutely nothing wrong with that...
I completely agree. If you have the money to spend, and want to go all out on your HTPC build, more power to ya. (I've sunk thousands into my HTPC setup, so I can relate) Nothing wrong with overdoing it of that's what you want. Just like there is nothing wrong with trying to save money if that's what you want. Neither approach is right or wrong. They're just different.

I will say though that I find it ironic that generally the people who are never happy and constantly upgrading are the ones who advocate going for more power than you think you need. The irony being that the obsolescence that the more powerful PC is supposed to delay, comes just as quick because "the next big thing" rarely just requires more power. It is almost always reliant on some new piece of technology that you'd need to upgrade anyway. All more power really gets you in most cases is more power. The longer life is just a myth in most cases. (NTTAWWT) The bonus irony is that the people who claim that buying "extra" will prolong the life of the HTPC are typically the ones who end up upgrading most often.
ilovejedd and balky like this.

RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
ajhieb is online now  
post #84 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 03:48 AM
Advanced Member
 
balky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 860
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
I completely agree. If you have the money to spend, and want to go all out on your HTPC build, more power to ya. (I've sunk thousands into my HTPC setup, so I can relate) Nothing wrong with overdoing it of that's what you want. Just like there is nothing wrong with trying to save money if that's what you want. Neither approach is right or wrong. They're just different.

I will say though that I find it ironic that generally the people who are never happy and constantly upgrading are the ones who advocate going for more power than you think you need. The irony being that the obsolescence that the more powerful PC is supposed to delay, comes just as quick because "the next big thing" rarely just requires more power. It is almost always reliant on some new piece of technology that you'd need to upgrade anyway. All more power really gets you in most cases is more power. The longer life is just a myth in most cases. (NTTAWWT) The bonus irony is that the people who claim that buying "extra" will prolong the life of the HTPC are typically the ones who end up upgrading most often.
LOL... that reminds me of the good ol' saying... "do as I say, and not as I do"
balky is online now  
post #85 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 04:22 AM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Liked: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
If you travel that much, transcoding isn't really a very good option either. I've had to travel a ton for my job and hotel and airport/airplane internet access is too sketchy. If you travel that much, it is almost certainly for work, and if you travel that much for work, you almost certainly have a laptop you'll be hauling around with you. Copying enough movies and TV shows (on the internal hard drive or an external hard drive) for the trip isn't that hard, and a much more reliable and high quality solution.
I've had to do a lot of traveling over the years and found ways to have media with me that I didn't have to transcode. Over a two-year stretch I was on the road almost continuously, but I'd tend to stay in one place for about 30 days at a time. I used to carry a ReplayTV with me that I hooked into the hotel's cable feed so I could record TV shows. This was back in the days before HDTV was available.

On other occasions I'd take a Patriot Box Office media player with an internal hard drive loaded with movies that I could plug into the hotel TV. A lot of the hotels hadn't upgraded to HDTVs yet so I generally brought movies I had on DVD that had been ripped to my server and transferred to the PBO.

To me, transcoding HD content to watch on a portable device is a sin. I mean, what's the point of going Hi-Def if you're going to watch it on an iPad or smart phone? Personally, I'd rather read a book than watch any kind of video on a small screen. I can't remember the last time I actually watched an inflight movie on a plane. I want to watch HD content on a big screen with full surround sound, which means I want to watch it at home (hence the "home" in "home theater").

These days it's all about convenience. Quality tends to go by the wayside if people can take their videos with them. If the content is all you care about then I can see the point. However, I've been into home theater and high end audio for at least four decades, so settling for anything less than the full home theater experience is simply not satisfying for me.
steelman1991 likes this.
captain_video is online now  
post #86 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 07:16 AM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
I will say though that I find it ironic that generally the people who are never happy and constantly upgrading are the ones who advocate going for more power than you think you need. The irony being that the obsolescence that the more powerful PC is supposed to delay, comes just as quick because "the next big thing" rarely just requires more power. It is almost always reliant on some new piece of technology that you'd need to upgrade anyway. All more power really gets you in most cases is more power. The longer life is just a myth in most cases. (NTTAWWT) The bonus irony is that the people who claim that buying "extra" will prolong the life of the HTPC are typically the ones who end up upgrading most often.
True. That said, I do think it's possible to go too little. For example, Atom/ION. That thing couldn't handle most HD content available at the time without hardware decode acceleration. Meanwhile, barring some relatively niche use cases (e.g. SVP, 4K), a Celeron E3300 or Pentium E5200 still works fairly well for most content. Even does Hi10p. If you need 3D, then just add a $35-50 discrete GPU.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #87 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 08:13 AM
AVS Special Member
 
gtgray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,422
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Liked: 53
My point through most of this discussion is that there is nothing esoteric or exotic about an HTPC. A modern intel cpu gets the job done. Add a discreete GPU if you are using MadVR choose some software platform and you are golden. I never said that you should not plan or think about what it is you are trying to achieve overall. Clearly adding an SSD can make the HTPC more responsive and quicker to start, sleep and shutdown. Silicondust and Ceton tuners are now mature, the software platforms are now mature.... For those that are not particularly interested in getting into the weeds Cyberlink and a BD drive can round things out. HTPC, what is left after the above is a lot of debate around corner cases. HTPC is HTPC, somehow we turn it into a larger more complex discussion about distributed video. HTPC is the playback client, building one is easy, same process as always, for most that is get a modern PC, stick a GPU card in it or not and run WMC.
steelman1991 likes this.

Just another blank signature.
gtgray is offline  
post #88 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 09:41 AM
AVS Special Member
 
ilovejedd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtgray View Post
My point through most of this discussion is that there is nothing esoteric or exotic about an HTPC. A modern intel cpu gets the job done. Add a discrete GPU if you are using MadVR choose some software platform and you are golden. I never said that you should not plan or think about what it is you are trying to achieve overall. Clearly adding an SSD can make the HTPC more responsive and quicker to start, sleep and shutdown. Silicondust and Ceton tuners are now mature, the software platforms are now mature.... For those that are not particularly interested in getting into the weeds Cyberlink and a BD drive can round things out. HTPC, what is left after the above is a lot of debate around corner cases. HTPC is HTPC, somehow we turn it into a larger more complex discussion about distributed video. HTPC is the playback client, building one is easy, same process as always, for most that is get a modern PC, stick a GPU card in it or not and run WMC.
All the stuff you're saying require more than a smattering of PC knowledge, experience and research. How much GPU is enough for MadVR using Jinc3+AR? Prior to hardware decode acceleration in Flash and Silverlight, how much CPU do you need for Hulu HD and Netflix HD? What version(s) of Vista has Windows Media Center included? Before Windows 7, what software do you need for clear QAM? Heck, what the hell is ATSC and (clear) QAM, anyway? What do you need for Blu-ray 3D playback? There are likely quite a few more HTPC-related questions such as these and for a beginner, it's helpful to have gurus like renethx who are able to answer these questions.

There are plenty of 1-star reviews on Newegg for OEM Blu-ray drives because they "can't play Blu-ray". The folks buying them didn't know you have to buy BD playback software separately. I've also seen 1-star reviews on the regular HDHomeRun from people who just didn't know what they were doing.

That knowledge (or even ability to do a Google search and patience to read through pages of information) is something a lot of us take for granted or as a given. Unfortunately, it's not so no, HTPCs aren't for everyone. I don't think they're exotic or esoteric but I certainly wouldn't consider them simple either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtgray View Post
Now I had issues here and there over time with all of them but it was rarely hardware issues it was software. There is no mystery to HTPC, it is just a PC. It is hard to make a serious error today on the hardware unless you go the overkill approach and waste resources. I am picking up yet another purpose built HTPC one my brother built before he got frustrated with Comcast and Ceton. It is a Low Power Pentium Sandy Bridge in a Silverstone case with Win 7 on an intel SSD. I am paying $150 bucks for it.
I think this part says it pretty clearly. You may think it's all easy but it appears your brother doesn't share your opinion.

Sure, HTPC hardware and software are more mature now but so are standalone solutions. I already have HTPCs and even then I'm considering getting a FireTV or Roku for streaming services (Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, etc). I bet I'm not the first person in this forum to consider this, either.
ilovejedd is offline  
post #89 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 11:29 AM
Advanced Member
 
staknhalo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 517
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 54 Post(s)
Liked: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post
True. That said, I do think it's possible to go too little. For example, Atom/ION. That thing couldn't handle most HD content available at the time without hardware decode acceleration.
But that's changed now with Bay Trail chips. My HTPC 'upgrade' route (before I built dedicated HTPCs, I used my main rig as a dual gen purpose PC/HTPC; so that doesn't apply here IMO) went Celeron E3300 > Pentium G620 (so I could use the integrated GPU/not need a discreet GPU. The E3300 needed one otherwise I noticed stuttering in silverlight Netflix when a WMC recording was going on) > Celeron J1900 (simply because lower heat, noise, power consumption over the G620).

So, I'm not sad I didn't get my HTPC 'right' the first time. I did. The things I 'upgraded to' didn't exist at the time of said builds. Plus, being one who does't try to make a Watson level supercomputer run my HTPC setup - it gives me more money to 'upgrade' to whatever I want in the future that strikes my fancy; without saying "Man, I spent so much on this last build; I don't feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of it yet to justify upgrading". But it also goes by use case. I couldn't care less about MadVR or the like, and even the E3300 was fully capable of playing back 1:1 BR. I also no longer do 1:1 BR rips. I encode to 15mbps m4v which allows me to play my stuff native to any device without needing to transcode (and I hated the PQ of transcoding, native playback gives a much, much better PQ).

As you can see, I never had the need, nor desire, for a powerful HTPC. So again, it all goes back to what said individual wants to do with their HTPC; as not everyone wants to do the same stuff. Nor should they. So, I'm an example of 'the low end guys' -if you will- that has no regrets. If the G620 existed when I bought the E3300, I would have regretted getting the E3300. But it didn't, so I don't. If the J1900 existed when I bought the G620, I would have regretted getting the G620. But again, it didn't, so I don't. All those chips/setups served me well for their time.
ajhieb and Dark_Slayer like this.

Last edited by staknhalo; 08-04-2014 at 11:50 AM.
staknhalo is offline  
post #90 of 335 Old 08-04-2014, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Addicted Member
 
Mfusick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Western MA
Posts: 23,632
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 184 Post(s)
Liked: 931
You guys have gotten off track a little. Couple quick comments:

Buying more power does not mean you upgrade sooner; quite the opposite. I am the most prone to upgraditis and I have no need or intention of upgrading my 3570k i5 HTPC. I can't really imagine needing to do that for a long time. Adding a GPU card might be the only upgrade I do, or swapping my GPU for a HDMI 2.0 and 4k. Upgrading and needing to do it, and wanting to do it is because you went too cheap or too weak the first time. At least for me. Anyone suggesting anything else is probably on drugs.

Also- with HTPC things are pretty cheap. I mean it's not expensive stuff these PC parts we talk about. So a lot of my saying what I did was from the angle of this:

You have product A which is good. It's just under average, but priced well. You have product B which is excellent, it's also priced well but it's above average in performance. Cost difference is $20. People choose OPTION A. Why? Over the life expectancy of the HTPC that's like 25 cents a month. Yet someone will happily spend $50 more on a build to save less than 25 cents a month in electricity. MAKE SENSE? I think not. but happens all the time. Product A and B can be any product, you can choose. It's all the same around here. PSU, CPU, SSD, RAM... MOBO.. whatever.... It's like anything that's good is too good for the people of this forum, like they lack self esteem and don't think they deserve it or something.

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
Mfusick is online now  
Closed Thread Home Theater Computers
Gear in this thread - C60M1-I by PriceGrabber.com

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off