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Old 01-26-2016, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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suggestions for HTPC

Hello,
After reading through many of the forums here, I've decided to build a HTPC or movie server to my newly built home theater. Basically I'm looking to add a CPU to my home theater stereo system via HDMI and play the ripped movies through a media program.. like KODI? I also need the CPU to have the ability to rip blu-ray movies using MKV and or Handbrake. I plan to use a external drive for storage of the movies. Can you guys please suggest parts to complete the build, so that it has enough umff??? Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions!


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Old 01-26-2016, 08:54 PM
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Look at Assassin's build guide if you are set on an HTPC.

An HTPC can really be just about anything you can build or buy anymore. No special hardware or processor needed. Even the most basic i3 is just fine. Especially if you plan on using Kodi. Kodi will run on a friggin' Raspberry Pi after all.

My recommendation would be to plan on a server of some sort to store away, or keep in the same room. That way you'll be ready for Plex or Emby so that you can stream to other devices. But even a server nowadays can be some very simple hardware, and can even be your HTPC.

Why external drive(s)?

No joke, my dad's HTPC and server is a Celeron NUC.
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I figured a external drive to use for storage is because, on our family CPU that I have now is what I use. I'm open to the idea of a server. I was under the assumption that I would a need a "work horse cpu" to able to do all of this. My theater componets are kept in a different room, so it doesn't need to be rack mounted. Would I need a monitor or can I use on screen display?
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:58 AM
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Hard drives are prone to failure. External hard drive are even more prone to failure due to the poor ventilation of the external enclosures.

There are two main trends around here. One is you build one box, a HTPC, and connect it to your AV gear. The other is you go with a server and client model. If you have plans for providing your media to more than one spot then you may want to do the server and client model from the start. The server can also be the client, but you start to trade things like storage space for heat/noise.

The clients can be other PCs, but they can be as simple as a Chromecast, Roku, or Nvidia SHIELD.

If you want to add TV then the suggestions will shift depending on if it is OTA or cable and even your cable provider (due to copy flags).

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Old 01-27-2016, 07:41 AM
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Bryan is on point. To answer another question, you are better off without a monitor. Having dual displays can sometimes cause issues.

And no, a server doesn't have to be anything special when you are talking about a home server. In the industry, "server" typically means it has redundancy features, not a high-power CPU necessarily.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your help.....After looking at Assassin's site, their baseline HTPC looks to be around $1000. That is more than I honestly wanted to spend. I realize the good quality product that they put out, but can I do this cheaper or wait and save more money? I read some
info on Kodi, it seems to be a good media center for what I need it to do. Any others worth checking into?
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:20 PM
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Again, you can build an HTPC out of just about anything. Cheap i3, cheap motherboard, cheap hard drive, cheap case you are all set. Or, buy an i3 refurb or lease return at a place like MicroCenter. You will get the operating system (Windows 7) in the deal.

Kodi is great, I have a few Kodi boxes myself. As long as you just want to rip movies and play them back, Kodi is great.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtprkr View Post
Thanks for your help.....After looking at Assassin's site, their baseline HTPC looks to be around $1000. That is more than I honestly wanted to spend. I realize the good quality product that they put out, but can I do this cheaper or wait and save more money? I read some
info on Kodi, it seems to be a good media center for what I need it to do. Any others worth checking into?
The suggestion was to look at his build GUIDES, not buy one of the systems.

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Old 01-27-2016, 06:06 PM
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Planning what hardware your going to need depends on how many users are going to be accessing the htpc or server. Are you planning on recording TV shows. What software you want to use as emby and plex needs to transcoded recorded TV using wmc. Any cpu will rip blue ray to mkv. The more powerful the cpu the faster hand brakes converts not to mention if people are going to accessing content while your using han brake you need more powerful cpu. My feeling at least a I5. Just my thoughts.

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Old 01-27-2016, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for your responses. I went through the Assassign build and took some notes. I have a better understanding. My needs for this HTPC is pretty strict. Basically, I want to use it for my theater room only to play ripped 1080p movies, play Netflix, and minor internet usage. I dont plan to do any recording. It will be a dedicated cpu. Is there much difference between I3 and I5? Ive read about some trouble with windows 10 for HTPC, do you guys prefer 8?
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:01 PM
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i3 is good enough. In fact a Pentium NUC will be sufficient for what you described.


I use Windows 10 with Kodi just fine. You'll hear a lot of FUD about it on this forum though from people who have no business going near a PC.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:58 AM
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Netflix is your stumbling block. Will it play on Windows 7, 8, and 10? Sure. But it's a better experience on a dedicated streamer. But, since you said you are going to use it for some internet use, I'm guessing you'll have a mouse and keyboard, so that will help. My wife would shoot me if I told her she had to use a mouse and keyboard every time she wanted to use Netflix though.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:32 PM
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If that's all your doing with it then any intel or amd will work. Does not take much processing power to just play ripped dvd's.

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Old 01-28-2016, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
Netflix is your stumbling block. Will it play on Windows 7, 8, and 10? Sure. But it's a better experience on a dedicated streamer. But, since you said you are going to use it for some internet use, I'm guessing you'll have a mouse and keyboard, so that will help. My wife would shoot me if I told her she had to use a mouse and keyboard every time she wanted to use Netflix though.
Not to hijack the thread, but what's accepted as the best way to play Netflix with a HTPC? It used to be in WMC and was pretty easy to navigate through. With it no longer being there I've been using chrome, but don't know if there is a better/easy way. Thanks.
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Old 01-28-2016, 02:33 PM
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When it was in WMC, it was TERRIBLE. I refused to watch it. Silverlight made it very jerky, and it was only 720p.

The best way to watch Netflix on an HTPC? Don't.

If you have Windows 8 or 10 you can use the app, but then using a remote goes out the window.
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Old 01-28-2016, 02:46 PM
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And realize that even in Chrome, it's still 720p.

There is a program out there for remote control of the Netflix app, and it's apparently pretty good. But it breaks every time Netflix changes something.

There are so many devices out there that do a much better job all around. No reason to use a PC for that. If switching inputs is a pain, get a universal remote.

Sounds to me like you don't really even need an HTPC for what you want to do, besides the internet surfing part.
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:31 PM
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Video Skipping

I do not yet have a dedicated HTPC, but I do have a small collection of my movies ripped onto a dedicated internal 2TB drive for use with Plex. This primarily was done so my toddler could watch his movies without scratching my Blu-Ray discs.

I've found that it plays ok on an iPad, which works for him. But when I play it through the XBOne or other device through my HT setup, it lags due to buffering a lot. I would obviously not have someone using the PC while I'm streaming from it, but I usually have to close everything and do a fresh reboot just prior to streaming to have any sort of luck.

Is there a common cause for this? I apologize if there are threads on this - I didn't search. I just came across this thread in the Active Topics box and it sounds like I could really get a separate box to fit my needs (or reformat this one and get a better PC for the house). But since this PC has a lot of memory and an AMD processor, it makes me wonder why I have the buffering problem since you guys are saying it doesn't take much power to do this.
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
Sounds to me like you don't really even need an HTPC for what you want to do, besides the internet surfing part.
And a HTPC is good for that? I think I learned back during my first HTPC in the Vista days that surfing the web was better done on any other device.

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Old 01-28-2016, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Mdavej, What do you suggest to use as a HTPC to rip and play back 1080 through a AVR? I have a IMAC that I use now to stream my movies to a dedicated theater room via apple tv. It also serves as a family CPU. I want to give my theater its own machine. My theater is 7.1
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photokid1970 View Post
I do not yet have a dedicated HTPC, but I do have a small collection of my movies ripped onto a dedicated internal 2TB drive for use with Plex. This primarily was done so my toddler could watch his movies without scratching my Blu-Ray discs.

I've found that it plays ok on an iPad, which works for him. But when I play it through the XBOne or other device through my HT setup, it lags due to buffering a lot. I would obviously not have someone using the PC while I'm streaming from it, but I usually have to close everything and do a fresh reboot just prior to streaming to have any sort of luck.

Is there a common cause for this? I apologize if there are threads on this - I didn't search. I just came across this thread in the Active Topics box and it sounds like I could really get a separate box to fit my needs (or reformat this one and get a better PC for the house). But since this PC has a lot of memory and an AMD processor, it makes me wonder why I have the buffering problem since you guys are saying it doesn't take much power to do this.
Use Plex. Problem solved. You can either use it to transcode and play on the fly, or use the Sync function to download them to the iPad.
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