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post #1 of 17 Old Yesterday, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
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My HTPC evolutions

Wanted to share my lessons learned so to speak. This is how I manage my server and by consequence my HTPCs


Initially
  • Windows explorer
  • VLC
  • Single Computer

HTPC v1
  • WMC
  • MB2
  • MCM
  • Shark
  • WMC-for music / MB for other stuff / WMC for recordings and live TV

Server and HTPC v1 (added a second WMC HTPC)
  • same as above, just shared my recording directories from both HTPCs and added them to each other's WMC recorded tv collection
  • HTPCv1 became a ServerHTPC

Server and HTPC v2 (added a third HTPC, OpenELEC)
  • HTPCv1 became a Server. I started with an ubuntu server. Network performance sucked for me, so I went to WHS11
  • Second HTPC kept business as usual
  • New OpenELEC box scraped it's own library
  • Kept all the HTPCv1 options going on my WMC HTPC
  • Added Plex
  • Added Teamviewer

Server v2 and HTPC v3
  • I wanted a central library and watched status synchronization. OpenELEC gave me a lot of control (yatse, web control, etc) so I decided to go with XBMC and a mysql library sync (I ran XBMC on the server and hit update-library from yatse )
  • WHS11 was overly annoying to manage with no real payback for me so I switched to W8.1 pro w/WMC
  • Kept Plex
  • Kept Teamviewer, and stopped using mouse/keyboard/monitor on the server. Around the time where I got a mac as well, which I use to manage the server through teamviewer

The software list now moved to
  • MySQL
  • WMC
  • XBMC
  • MCM
  • TeamViewer
  • Plex
  • Sickbeard


Current
  • Kodi w/ MB3 add-on
  • MB3 running on server
  • dropped plex and MCM (for mb3)
  • dropped TeamViewer for ChromeRDP
  • dropped sickbeard for sickrage
  • Steam In Home Streaming And Limelight (Nvidia's gamestream protocol opened up for all android)
  • Picked up 4 external users (all family) using web client, 2x mb3-android, and kodi-mb3
  • Moved my GTX 660 over to my server The old gaming machine is kind of up in the air if anyone's interested. W8.1 pro w/ WMC, 128GB Vertex4, 8GB ddr3-1600, asrock z77 pro4-m, i5-3570k, silencer mkiii, zalman 9700 cpu cooler, antec three hundred case

Current software list
  • MB3
  • Kodi
  • ChromeRDP
  • Steam
  • Origin
  • Sickrage
  • PIA
  • BTSync (android DCIM photo backup)
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post #2 of 17 Old Yesterday, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Forgot to add still using wmc currently and added serverwmc along with it. MychannellogosXL as well as a few other utilities. Makemkv from htpcV1
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post #3 of 17 Old Yesterday, 06:29 AM
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Why would you move GTX 660 to the server? You don't even need graphic card in the server
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post #4 of 17 Old Yesterday, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mtosic View Post
Why would you move GTX 660 to the server? You don't even need graphic card in the server
In home streaming / limelight
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post #5 of 17 Old Yesterday, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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You don't need an i7 or 16GB of DDR3-2100 either but they are there

It's really a media-server/remote-game-steamer/workstation/dvr-server for me with the exception that my workstation duties are not cad, photoshop, or video encoding related
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post #6 of 17 Old Yesterday, 08:03 AM
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My first HTPC was based on XP and GBPVR with an ATI All in Wonder 650 Pro.
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post #7 of 17 Old Yesterday, 08:20 AM
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Ha when I opened the thread I thought it was going to be about hardware changes over the years, but I suppose software/configuration is just as well.


Your history in that regard is much more illustrious than mine, lol. I guess that's why I was expecting a hardware thread. In my case...


I guess you could say my first "HTPC" was using a P4-based Acer XC Cube and WMC (XP MCE) as a PVR device for recording and playing SDTV. That went on a while (and I think I even still have some of the TV shows recorded to this day in dvr-ms or whatever the file format was) but it was only really ever used as a TV tuner and PVR and not much as a typical HTPC otherwise. Though it was connected to a TV it was also connected to a monitor at the same time (bedroom setup) and I think in all honesty I probably used the PC monitor more than the TV anyway, lol. Not much of an "HTPC".


Oddly enough from the advent and popularisation of HDTV, I actually stopped using MCE (and any front-end at all) altogether. I think the main reason I stopped using MCE was because in Vista there was no longer support for ATi's TV tuner built into AIW products (which is what I was using). That and also because it always had that problem with replacing your file-tag-embedded cover art in music files with low-res equivalents! This despite the fact it would read and display the high res versions up until some random point where it would replace them with ones it downloaded itself It was an incredible pain to stop this from happening and once it was still happening in Vista and I couldn't use the TV features, I just ditched it. I'm not sure if they ever fixed this in 7 but I never used it enough to find out.


From there, because of the state of digital cable (and sat) [HD]TV in Canada, it made using a PC for a PVR next to impossible as we don't have cablecard here. So, since then I just have a cable-company-rental PVR box for that. No more TV/cable interaction with a PC


My first true HTPC was built with/for my first HDTV and was a C2D-based machine (paid $270 for an E6600--the most expensive CPU I've ever bought and ever will buy, lol!). It's main use? Just a PC connected to a "really big monitor"--for web browsing and video gaming. There wasn't much media stuff going on TBH. Within a year of that I added a BD drive and started using PDVD for BD (and HD-DVD) playback, something I still do today albeit with the latest PDVD and having gone back and forth from PDVD and TMT over the years.


Video files I don't have many but those are handled with MPC-HC... Music OTOH that was always a main use. I went through various players after MCE and it's moronic file tag behaviour--foobar, musikcube/songbird, a few others, and eventually MediaMonkey, which I still use today.


Shortly after that first HTPC build I discovered the usefulness of a NAS box. At first it was a fairly low-end D-Link unit. Slow and crappy but did the job for the most part. Once I finally tired of the terrible speed of the thing, I eventually transitioned to a Qnap TS-219P II, which is what I still use today.


No server for me, I just don't have that much stored in terms of amount of data. No front ends either, heh. And not many HTPC setup lessons learned I suppose, as a result. My hardware changes over the years have been much more plentiful and eventful though.
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post #8 of 17 Old Yesterday, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
Wanted to share my lessons learned so to speak. This is how I manage my server and by consequence my HTPCs


Initially
  • Windows explorer
  • VLC
  • Single Computer

HTPC v1
  • WMC
  • MB2
  • MCM
  • Shark
  • WMC-for music / MB for other stuff / WMC for recordings and live TV

Server and HTPC v1 (added a second WMC HTPC)
  • same as above, just shared my recording directories from both HTPCs and added them to each other's WMC recorded tv collection
  • HTPCv1 became a ServerHTPC

Server and HTPC v2 (added a third HTPC, OpenELEC)
  • HTPCv1 became a Server. I started with an ubuntu server. Network performance sucked for me, so I went to WHS11
  • Second HTPC kept business as usual
  • New OpenELEC box scraped it's own library
  • Kept all the HTPCv1 options going on my WMC HTPC
  • Added Plex
  • Added Teamviewer

Server v2 and HTPC v3
  • I wanted a central library and watched status synchronization. OpenELEC gave me a lot of control (yatse, web control, etc) so I decided to go with XBMC and a mysql library sync (I ran XBMC on the server and hit update-library from yatse )
  • WHS11 was overly annoying to manage with no real payback for me so I switched to W8.1 pro w/WMC
  • Kept Plex
  • Kept Teamviewer, and stopped using mouse/keyboard/monitor on the server. Around the time where I got a mac as well, which I use to manage the server through teamviewer

The software list now moved to
  • MySQL
  • WMC
  • XBMC
  • MCM
  • TeamViewer
  • Plex
  • Sickbeard


Current
  • Kodi w/ MB3 add-on
  • MB3 running on server
  • dropped plex and MCM (for mb3)
  • dropped TeamViewer for ChromeRDP
  • dropped sickbeard for sickrage
  • Steam In Home Streaming And Limelight (Nvidia's gamestream protocol opened up for all android)
  • Picked up 4 external users (all family) using web client, 2x mb3-android, and kodi-mb3
  • Moved my GTX 660 over to my server The old gaming machine is kind of up in the air if anyone's interested. W8.1 pro w/ WMC, 128GB Vertex4, 8GB ddr3-1600, asrock z77 pro4-m, i5-3570k, silencer mkiii, zalman 9700 cpu cooler, antec three hundred case

Current software list
  • MB3
  • Kodi
  • ChromeRDP
  • Steam
  • Origin
  • Sickrage
  • PIA
  • BTSync (android DCIM photo backup)
How is the channel changing speed using Kodi and ServerWMC? I haven't used the pvr in XBMC since Frodo, and it was pretty crappy using NextPVR back then.
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post #9 of 17 Old Yesterday, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Futrader8 View Post
How is the channel changing speed using Kodi and ServerWMC? I haven't used the pvr in XBMC since Frodo, and it was pretty crappy using NextPVR back then.
With the newer releases it's about as fast as WMC for me, maybe a tad bit slower. But I use the guide instead of hitting "channel up," find what I want, and just watch it.
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post #10 of 17 Old Yesterday, 04:52 PM
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Apparently, I've gone through 4 major software platform and 5 major hardware platform shifts. I hadn't been planning on using 7MC initially. We still had cable before so the HTPCs were pretty much just for me and my brother to watch fansubbed anime. Alas, Charter raised rates again (even retentions wouldn't help), I ended up cancelling cable so I needed to get a simple to operate HTPC set-up really quick (live TV + Netflix primarily) and that's how I ended up using 7MC + Media Browser for the past 4 or so years.

Spoiler!
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post #11 of 17 Old Yesterday, 05:08 PM
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I did the htpc thing for years, setting up with a Lynx brand outboard dac and everything.

It was always a second rate experience for me with way too much trouble managing files and whatnot.

Has anything changed to make htpc more compelling? Will folks fo atmos with it somehow?
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post #12 of 17 Old Yesterday, 05:39 PM
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It was always a second rate experience for me with way too much trouble managing files and whatnot.

Has anything changed to make htpc more compelling? Will folks fo atmos with it somehow?
If you plan on having your own local "Netflix" library, then yeah, there's going to be some file management involved. It's a lot simpler than before, though, since automated metadata retrieval works very, very well nowadays. For the most part, as long as you follow the recommended guidelines for file naming, you shouldn't have a lot of issues in terms of library management (short of hardware failure).

Movies:
Movie Title (Year)

TV Shows:
TV Show Title
-> Season xx
--> TV Show Title SxxEyy

As for compelling, HTPCs have always been a niche category. Whether the features it offers are compelling or not depends entirely on an individual.
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post #13 of 17 Old Yesterday, 10:28 PM
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What is surprising in many ways is how powerful modern pc computing is while a coherent software strategy for HTPC seems so elusive.

If you look at the Trinnov Altitude, it is essentially a tricked out custom software HTPC. A processor based mega-platform without the library features of a Kaleidascape.

It is impressive how inept folks like Microsoft and Apple have been in this arena. HTPC has no reason to still be a niche market all this time.

I am not even aware of an off the shelf computer card / drivers that can handle a simple task such as 12v triggers.

I have a Control4 home automation unit in the house which is a VERY expensive way to coordinate some basic home theater functions. There is literally nothing about that control functionality that could not have been otherwise simply incorporated into an HTPC.

To make matters worse, the Control4 interface is still too clunky and its library functions for music playback sucks. Way to poor of a browser for any large music library. It also doesn't have a movie library function.

Most Crestron default interfaces are stupid looking, poorly designed, pieces of trash. And this is the supposed leader in this market.

Computing and software has always been right on the edge or producing something great. You get the sense that the technology is there but implementation has been suffering for inexplicable reasons. That real visionary has not come along to transform this sector.

Am I the only one that thinks that all the puzzle pieces simply aren't coming together?

Blazar!
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post #14 of 17 Old Yesterday, 11:54 PM
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What is surprising in many ways is how powerful modern pc computing is while a coherent software strategy for HTPC seems so elusive.

Am I the only one that thinks that all the puzzle pieces simply aren't coming together?
Sadly, this is unfortunately true. While it's possible to cobble these things together on a PC, a simple, cohesive, consumer-friendly solution is just not available at the moment.

Apple's the most likely candidate to deliver on this. Alas, whatever solution they come up with is bound to be proprietary and if they don't support certain features (e.g. Blu-ray), then tough.
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It's always refreshing reading about other people using HTPC's, amongst family & friends I'm the only one using a computer for more than looking @ Facebook.

It's only been the last few months the above people started to ask me questions related to networking & SmartTV's.

Anyone else integrate home video surveillance into an HTPC ?
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I also have Blue Iris running here, but it isn't on my HTPC. It's too big a processor hog, and I don't keep my HTPC on at all times.
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post #17 of 17 Old Today, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobr8ks View Post
Anyone else integrate home video surveillance into an HTPC ?
Planning it for my server
Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
I also have Blue Iris running here, but it isn't on my HTPC. It's too big a processor hog, and I don't keep my HTPC on at all times.
I was thinking about this a lot recently

I currently just have a non port forwarded foscam doing nothing. It's supposed to be a pet monitor, but we haven't needed that in a while and we just get a sitter

I was thinking about android though. There is an app called spy droid camera (open source older) as well as a slew of others like ipcam. I have a galaxy nexus that I switched away from at a point where it wouldn't sell for more than $50 (so I use it as backup in case mine breaks). I also have an S4 that I thought I would get around to fixing the screen on and selling, but haven't done yet

I was thinking broken screen S4s are pretty cheap, have dual band wifi, low enough power with the screen off, and could do a lot of their own re-encoding (keeping something like blue iris low on resources - if it could use them at all of course)

There is a good monitoring software I might use called tinycam, which works well with the "other old android phones as cams" concept as well as foscams. For recording it's a little different. I would probably be happy with a 15s clip after proximity sensor was activated rather than always recording. It's easier to tell the authorities nothing records when asked
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