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post #1 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Help with first ever HTPC

I want my first-ever HTPC for my first-ever home theater. My goal is simple: An HTPC to rip and playback DVD and Blu-ray full-content (3D Atmos movies, special features and commentaries) to a single display. No DVR. No multi-room. No extenders. No 4k (1080p). Streaming is fine, but not needed since TiVo and AppleTV also do that.

Is this essentially a Windows PC with a blu-ray drive and HDMI output, plus ripping and playback software? (I'm open to Mac OS X solution, since I'm an Apple household. But it seems Windows is the option.)

The main architecture question is whether to have a single PC with hard drives, or PC and external RAID? Either way, I'll have the HTPC system in the electronics rack or closet (TBD) in the home theater room.

After that it's details: what parts to build a reasonably quiet PC? What software for ripping DVDs and Blu-Rays? And what software package(s) to try for the UI?
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post #2 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 08:03 AM
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Since you want full rips including the trailers, FBI warnings, special features, and commentaries then you basically require PowerDVD. Other solutions are for playback of the main movie only.

MyMovies.DK is pretty simple for full disc rips and playback, but requires Windows Media Center.

Ripping the full disc image you need AnyDVD HD which is going through some changes right now.

Most here simply rip the main movie to MKV format and use a variety of front ends for playback. There are Kodi, Plex, or Emby.

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post #3 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Are there other solutions beside AnyDVD? I've been following that debacle somewhat and it doesn't look like a practical solution for the near future.

After watching a movie, new or old, my wife and I will often browse the special features and watch some. For a few favorite movies, I look forward to going back and revisiting the fantastic commentaries. If the HTPC can't really support special features, I'll still have to use the original discs at times, which diminishes the value.

Looked up PowerDVD. Thanks for the pointer to that. Looks like i need the Ultra version. Which is on sale for $60, an ok price. When version 16 comes out, I wonder if it will be the full $270, which is pretty spendy for playback software.

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post #4 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoutingMan View Post
I want my first-ever HTPC for my first-ever home theater. My goal is simple: An HTPC to rip and playback DVD and Blu-ray full-content (3D Atmos movies, special features and commentaries) to a single display. No DVR. No multi-room. No extenders. No 4k (1080p). Streaming is fine, but not needed since TiVo and AppleTV also do that.

Is this essentially a Windows PC with a blu-ray drive and HDMI output, plus ripping and playback software? (I'm open to Mac OS X solution, since I'm an Apple household. But it seems Windows is the option.)

The main architecture question is whether to have a single PC with hard drives, or PC and external RAID? Either way, I'll have the HTPC system in the electronics rack or closet (TBD) in the home theater room.

After that it's details: what parts to build a reasonably quiet PC? What software for ripping DVDs and Blu-Rays? And what software package(s) to try for the UI?
I would recommend an intel base PC. I3 if you do direct streaming this is sufficient. From my point of view, intel has a better Performance/Power Ratio, and run cooler.
Intel i3 + after market CPU cooler, based on your budget. Noctua is well known for performance and quietness, if you have budget restriction cooler Master hyper 212 but it s a tower base cooler, not for rack. Also, to be considered, you have the Intel i3T or i5T that run even cooler.
For optimal ripping perf, you might want to consider i5 if you want to go faster, but i3 should be sufficient.
Mobo is more or less based on personal preference, not a lot of features required, especially if it s just for HTPC, but get a well known brand for reliability.
SSD for OS of course, 120gb is sufficient, but if you want to install some additional software, I would go for 250gb ssd just to be safe, especially now that the SSD market is extremely cheap, for 10$ more for can go from 120gb for 250gb.
I do like to add fans, for better cooling and long performance, you can find 140mm or 120mm fan with low dBA <15 and you will not hear them. I personally like the Enermax TB silence, around 11dBA. Usually <10$.
I do prefer Windows, more flexible.

Personal decision, I decided to get a "all in one" Home Server system, one PC with 9 drives. no external RAID or Storage Attached, but this is a personal choice.

I hope this help.
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post #5 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xylem View Post
I would recommend an intel base PC. I3 if you do direct streaming this is sufficient. From my point of view, intel has a better Performance/Power Ratio, and run cooler.
Intel i3 + after market CPU cooler, based on your budget. Noctua is well known for performance and quietness, if you have budget restriction cooler Master hyper 212 but it s a tower base cooler, not for rack. Also, to be considered, you have the Intel i3T or i5T that run even cooler.
For optimal ripping perf, you might want to consider i5 if you want to go faster, but i3 should be sufficient.
Mobo is more or less based on personal preference, not a lot of features required, especially if it s just for HTPC, but get a well known brand for reliability.
SSD for OS of course, 120gb is sufficient, but if you want to install some additional software, I would go for 250gb ssd just to be safe, especially now that the SSD market is extremely cheap, for 10$ more for can go from 120gb for 250gb.
I do like to add fans, for better cooling and long performance, you can find 140mm or 120mm fan with low dBA <15 and you will not hear them. I personally like the Enermax TB silence, around 11dBA. Usually <10$.
I do prefer Windows, more flexible.

Personal decision, I decided to get a "all in one" Home Server system, one PC with 9 drives. no external RAID or Storage Attached, but this is a personal choice.

I hope this help.
I lean towards an i5 in case I do want to transcode.

My preference is also single box with all the storage inside. It seems simpler and cheaper.
Any particular cases you like? I like the Silverstone HTPC cases, since they will blend in with a rack of HT gear. But any box will do; as much as anything, I want something easy to work with during build.
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post #6 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 10:47 AM
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Try the build links in my signature.
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post #7 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoutingMan View Post
I lean towards an i5 in case I do want to transcode.

My preference is also single box with all the storage inside. It seems simpler and cheaper.
Any particular cases you like? I like the Silverstone HTPC cases, since they will blend in with a rack of HT gear. But any box will do; as much as anything, I want something easy to work with during build.
You are correct, I have my home server with an old i3, and I am thinking upgrading to i5T. Multi core process, and the T version gives you better efficiency.

Correct again, or at least from my point of view, I love the Silverstone. I build HTPC for friends and family, I believe I have done around 10 as far, and each time I go for Silverstone, they look nice, are well designed and blend perfectly with your home cinema.
In my house, I have a huge Nanoxia Deep Silent 6 because it can hold up to 10 full size drives and have plenty of cooling power, but it s not pretty, so it s in my office and all over the house I have small HPTC.
I used, currently own a few of the following: Silverstone GD08 , GD05, GD07 and ML03, they are all well worth the money and sometime you can find them on Craigslist for half price. Again, they are all worth the money, you get what you pay for.
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post #8 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Try the build links in my signature.
I don't see a signature in your post.
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post #9 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoutingMan View Post
I lean towards an i5 in case I do want to transcode.

My preference is also single box with all the storage inside. It seems simpler and cheaper.
Any particular cases you like? I like the Silverstone HTPC cases, since they will blend in with a rack of HT gear. But any box will do; as much as anything, I want something easy to work with during build.
In your original post nothing you mentioned would require transcoding.

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post #10 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
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In your original post nothing you mentioned would require transcoding.
You're right. The main goal isn't to transcode. But having the flexibility to transcode efficiently if I need or want seems useful -- like if I find that keeping a library of ISO's is too much storage and want to transcode some movies to save room. The price difference between i3 and i5 is about $100, which is acceptable.
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post #11 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoutingMan View Post
You're right. The main goal isn't to transcode. But having the flexibility to transcode efficiently if I need or want seems useful -- like if I find that keeping a library of ISO's is too much storage and want to transcode some movies to save room. The price difference between i3 and i5 is about $100, which is acceptable.
Ripping the main movie out of an ISO doesn't require transcoding. It just pulls out the original video and audio tracks and puts them in a MKV container. Very few here would suggest transcoding (reducing quality) your media to save space.

Running Plex and playing back a Blu-ray rip on a tablet does. But you said it was dedicated to a theater with no other clients.

My coworker started out like you and wanted his disc library ripped. I set him up with MyMovies and it is fairly dummy proof. He has since complained about all the ads and trailers and wanted to share on other TVs. I made him a media server and My Movies lets you pop in a disc, it rips it, and then converts the main movie to MKV (80% of the time). I added Plex Media Server and removed his HTPC. He now uses Chromecasts in the bedrooms and a Nvidia Shield in the theater. I have Kodi linked to Plex in the theater and he uses his phone or tablet to cast Plex to the bedrooms.

You can rip the commentary tracks pretty easily with the main movie and toggle to it as needed. The special features would be a pain to rip since you wouldn't have the custom disc menu to walk you through what you want to watch.

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post #12 of 245 Old 04-10-2016, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think I appreciated that MakeMKV didn't transcode. I'm so used to ripping DVDs and transcoding to watch on my iPad.

A secondary use of the computer would be transcoding tv shows from my TiVo for transfer to iPad. I only do this when the TiVo app is flaking out and not transferring shows. Since it's will be my fastest PC, it would get used a little bit for that until I upgrade my desktop PC.

Sorting all that out, I can see going with an i3, particularly if there's benefit in the computer running cooler and quieter. But otherwise, $100 to have the flexibility and available power of an i5 seems like a cheap decision.
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post #13 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:20 AM
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I didn't read the whole thread, but you may also have the hdmi headshake issue to were you have to reboot your PC in order to recognize your AVR. I have to do this all the time. It's a PIA. I haven't found a solution for is yet.
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post #14 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:21 AM
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For ripping, one might look at Clone BD from Elby. One will need AnyDVDHD to circumvent the Cinavia protection, which a number of Blu-Ray producers use. It will also restrict the audio options on playback.

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post #15 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
Ripping the main movie out of an ISO doesn't require transcoding. It just pulls out the original video and audio tracks and puts them in a MKV container. Very few here would suggest transcoding (reducing quality) your media to save space.

Running Plex and playing back a Blu-ray rip on a tablet does. But you said it was dedicated to a theater with no other clients.

My coworker started out like you and wanted his disc library ripped. I set him up with MyMovies and it is fairly dummy proof. He has since complained about all the ads and trailers and wanted to share on other TVs. I made him a media server and My Movies lets you pop in a disc, it rips it, and then converts the main movie to MKV (80% of the time). I added Plex Media Server and removed his HTPC. He now uses Chromecasts in the bedrooms and a Nvidia Shield in the theater. I have Kodi linked to Plex in the theater and he uses his phone or tablet to cast Plex to the bedrooms.

You can rip the commentary tracks pretty easily with the main movie and toggle to it as needed. The special features would be a pain to rip since you wouldn't have the custom disc menu to walk you through what you want to watch.


I do the exact thing more or less. I built a NAS box (FreeNAS) and use Plex for my "HTPC". The NAS is also used to store files for my wife's business but I put a separate hard drive in just for Movies/Music and bought chromecasts for all my TVs. You can use your existing Macs to rip the movies using some of the above software and just put them on the Plex. Now you have access to your movies on all your TVs and even your mobile devices when you are not at home.


I don't believe Plex does much with the special features of the movie and what not though. It does include cover art, ratings, etc. You can also get trailers before the movies too if you would like.


Good luck on your endeavor!
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post #16 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoutingMan View Post
I want my first-ever HTPC for my first-ever home theater. My goal is simple: An HTPC to rip and playback DVD and Blu-ray full-content (3D Atmos movies, special features and commentaries) to a single display.
If you want the FULL content of a BluRay, you must use CyberLink PDVD and ISO since it's the only platform at this time that supports the (java?) menu system found on BluRay discs. For ripping, use SlySoft AnyDVD to decode and rip to ISO.

If you already have a system with a drive that will read BluRay, then why not go with a NAS like a Qnap or Synology in RAID5 for storage? Trust me - you're going to need the room. I also highly recommend Kodi as a 'head-end', but if you have an NAS you could use Emby or Plex Server on the NAS and that solves all your problems.

I started out where you were, wanting the full disc. Then I realized that out of all the movies I own, I rarely ever bothered with the 'bonus' content, and I've put my entire collection on a diet as MKV for the movie and English subtitles only for when I have my elderly parents over for a movie.

Good luck!
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post #17 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:30 AM
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I use MakeMKV for ripping, and Handbrake for transcoding. Currently using a low-end PC as the HTPC, but with a box running FreeNAS with 4x2TB disks for shared storage. Tend to run the transcoding stuff on another desktop box rather than on the HTPC, but that is just because it takes quite a while (maybe 3-4 hours for a bluray at 1080p, typically producing 3-4GB mkv or similar)
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post #18 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:37 AM
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Couple notes from an owner of a Windows 7 MCE solution.

1) Windows 8 only allows Xbox 360 extenders if you go the cable card route.
2) Upgrade the processor to an i5 and add RAM to 8GB if you want to add extenders and expect them to be running while you watch movies.
3) BluRay playback is spotty on a PC using PowerDVD 15. There's an odd quirk where you cannot let PowerDVD reset the Hz without jittery playback. If you manually use Windows to reset the Hz to 23Hz, it works fine but letting PowerDVD do the job results in errors.
4) UHD playback works well but you must have a NVIDIA 960 or greater. Again, visit the cooling issue because the NVIDIA gets hot playing back UHD content and will pixelate a 1080p BluRay that it is upscaling to UHD.
5) There's a handshake issue with Windows 7, NVIDIA and the TV when there is an AVR in the middle. This only happens at UHD resolutions for me though I let the NVIDIA upscale everything.

At this point, I am not even sure I can recommend a HTPC. You're way late to the game and everything is changing. UHD content, other than porn is not streamable on a HTPC and the file sizes for download are still very large. Netflix and Amazon won't allow it. A good downloaded UHD library takes a much larger drive array versus what it required with 1080p. Gaming is not going to be in the price range of a HTPC. CableCARDs are walking dead technology. Fully supported but there will be no new CableCARD advancements. Windows 7 has about 2 years left of support. Windows 8.1 has a paid upgrade that breaks all non Xbox 360 extenders. CetonCorp has largely left the CableCARD business evidenced by no new product releases in nearly three years. BluRay has never been as easy as a standalone player and probably never will be. The complaints are not really PowerDVD's fault, but more the fault of protected path's poor PC implementation and integration with hardware vendors.

You're diving into aging tech very late in the game when everything we know is going to change fairly soon. Most of the change (i.e. UHD content) is not coming with a replacement technology. I'm not convinced you'll recoup your investment.
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post #19 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoutingMan View Post
I want my first-ever HTPC for my first-ever home theater. My goal is simple: An HTPC to rip and playback DVD and Blu-ray full-content (3D Atmos movies, special features and commentaries) to a single display. No DVR. No multi-room. No extenders. No 4k (1080p). Streaming is fine, but not needed since TiVo and AppleTV also do that.

Is this essentially a Windows PC with a blu-ray drive and HDMI output, plus ripping and playback software? (I'm open to Mac OS X solution, since I'm an Apple household. But it seems Windows is the option.)

The main architecture question is whether to have a single PC with hard drives, or PC and external RAID? Either way, I'll have the HTPC system in the electronics rack or closet (TBD) in the home theater room.

After that it's details: what parts to build a reasonably quiet PC? What software for ripping DVDs and Blu-Rays? And what software package(s) to try for the UI?
Hi, i have quite an extensive htpc at home currently that has had about 3 years of evolution.

My hardware is as follows:-

GA-F2A88XN-WIFI motherboard
8gig ram
amd a10 7870k (more than powerfull enough for transcoding and watching blurays)
artic a11 cooler
lascala lc13-e(upgraded noctua fans)
rocket raid 640l card
4x wd red 3tb drives (raid 0)
kingston 240g ssd
pioneer bluray drive

I run plex media server for external network viewing and sharing to some of my friends.

I use Kodi to view my own content (will play dvds) and play blurays using makemkv or anydvd ultra 15 from an iso file.

makemkv will back up a bluray as will anydvd
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post #20 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:44 AM
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An intel i3 or i5 of current generation with a quiet fan on a good motherboard, a system drive and then additional harddrive(s) for the content.
You will not want nor need a graphics card, for your non-gamer use it will just add noise, the intel CPU had very decent graphics built in (as long as you are not gaming or doing 3d modeling...)
This will give you a fairly quiet PC.
Look at Daum PotPlayer for playing movies, and of course VLC. If you want ot use it for music look at an Asus Xonar sound card or something from that family.
MediaMonkey for music library.
I can not recommend any HTPC software, I hate it all as it is generally super hard to manage your library if you do not want to plop everything into the windows default music and movie folders.
I use Mobile Mouse, MediaMoteHD, itunes remote on ipad and MMremote(on android phone) for controlling the PC from the couch.
It is perhaps more manual than having HTPC software, but I like it more. But if you have a perfectly maintained library and like it, perhaps HTPC software will make you happy.
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post #21 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:52 AM
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Software wise, I'm a HUGE fan of slysoft's solution for mounting DVDs / Blu Rays, and I would just use any software to properly rip ISOs to your computer's storage system.

Also strongly recommend a powerful CPU, I skimped and got the pentium G2358, which is shockingly powerful for the price, but it just will NOT transcode well, and I really like SVP - and SVP benefits from a nice horsepower wrangling CPU like an i5 or better.

AMD has some really solid offerings for competitive pricing in the area you're looking, powerful but not bleeding-edge performance.

For a GPU, any graphics card will be good enough, but I'd recommend shopping around for something used, last year's value-buy, like a 760 GTX or something. Failing that, it's hard to argue with a 970 GTX brand new for price-performance, would allow you to do some home theater PC gaming if you decided to in the future, nice to have it as an option at least.

I personally bought some random manufacturer GTS 430 for around $40, solely because it had HDMI out with 7.1 (No atmos, but then again I don't have an atmos receiver yet either, so for me it wasn't a concern)

Other than that, lots of good advice in this thread. Do your research, check out pcpartpicker's curated builds for good pricing and crowd-sourced research.

I have my brands that I really rely on, and yours may be different, but my advice is:

ASUS motherboard
EVGA video card
Thermaltake case
Noctua fans / coolers / etc.
all others are whatever you like.

Quick edit: I recommend infrarecorder for ripping ISOs, and Slysoft's Virtual Clone Drive for mounting them.
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post #22 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:54 AM
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Personally, for my frequency of movie watching, I think ripping movies is a lot of wasted time and hardware requirement (drives and maintenance) . I ripped all of my music collection and use JRiver. 8000 songs fit easily on a nice sized single hard drive and is easy to backup. Backing up 9 hard drives? Not me. You would need many drives to keep your collection safe. Since a movie is 1-2 hrs long, I have no problem getting off the couch to load a disc into my Oppo.
Just getting my music collection ripped literally took weeks.

My PC is a Lenovo Q190 mini PC sits on top of my cabinet.
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post #23 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 08:55 AM
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MakeMKV is a fantastic ripper, and rips both Blu Ray and DVD. You can choose anything on the disc, including the FBI warning if you like . You can pick and choose which audio track(s) to use, as well as captions. MakeMKV can also rip the audio into FLAC, which your Apple TV supports (more on that below).

There is only one caveat, and it may not be an issue for you. Blu Ray captions are in PGS format, and most playback devices (such as Blu Ray players or Smart TVs) will not display them from the MKV container. Depending on how you want to watch the movies, that may or may not be an issue. If your only playback device is the computer itself, then using VLC as your player works perfectly and displays all captions. PowerDVD may also work, but I can't verify that for sure as I don't use it.

I have a HTPC I built years ago. I have left it on Windows 7, as I like using the Media Center functionality. If you want to retain your HD audio (Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio) you require a video card with HDMI out and feed that into an AVR. I still use an old ATI HD 5450 video card, as it has no fan so runs perfectly silent. The power supply and CPU fan are your other two sources of noise, but you can get them with low noise in mind. Depending on how many movies you want to rip, you will need a lot of storage. Put your movies on a drive separate from your OS. I currently have five 3TB hard drives, but could get by with fewer if the drives were larger.

Since you mentioned possibly streaming, I urge you to investigate Serviio. It can stream to virtually any device via DLNA, and transcode if required by your playback devices. While Windows itself has DLNA server functionality, it has little transcoding ability. Serviio doesn't have the ability to edit your metadata, like Plex can, it has far more functionality than other DLNA servers, and the device profiles can be easily edited for specific functionality.

You mentioned Apple TV. This player does not support MKV files, regardless of the video or audio codecs used. To my understanding, Apple TV would need you files in MP4 containers with H.264 video and for audio DD, DTS, AAC, MP3 and FLAC. It does not support either of the HD audio formats. Be aware that few playback devices support FLAC, so they would require transcoding of the audio.

Finding software that will rip your video into the desired container, using the desired codecs, is your toughest challenge. If you are satisfied with MKV (as I am) you can't beat MakeMKV. If you prefer to instead have them in a format that your Apple TV supports, you either need to find something else, or use MakeMKV then convert them with HandBrake (or other such software).
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Samsung JU7100 4K TV, Yamaha RX-V679, Windows 10 home media server with Serviio and Plex, 18TB of movies/TV shows.
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post #24 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Kressilac View Post
C

At this point, I am not even sure I can recommend a HTPC. You're way late to the game and everything is changing. UHD content, other than porn is not streamable on a HTPC and the file sizes for download are still very large.
Can't agree with you there. I have several UHD demo files I've downloaded for testing purposes, and I can stream them to my Samsung JU7100 via Serviio with no issues. The HDR information even passes, and looks spectacular. Are the files large? Certainly. Although H265 compared to H264 results in much smaller files. Since I don't have the same video in both formats, I can't confirm the size reduction.

However, the HDR information does not appear to pass through my Roku 4. I don't know if it's because of the Roku or the AVR in between, but since the AVR has HDMI 2.2 ports, that shouldn't be the issue.

Samsung JU7100 4K TV, Yamaha RX-V679, Windows 10 home media server with Serviio and Plex, 18TB of movies/TV shows.
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post #25 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 09:06 AM
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I didn't read the whole thread, but you may also have the hdmi headshake issue to were you have to reboot your PC in order to recognize your AVR. I have to do this all the time. It's a PIA. I haven't found a solution for is yet.
I have had two different set ups over the last several years with pc to avr thru hdmi....never had to reboot pc to recognize the avr
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post #26 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 09:10 AM
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I have had two different set ups over the last several years with pc to avr thru hdmi....never had to reboot pc to recognize the avr
I have this issue. If I change sources with my processor and go back to PC I lose video. I have to put my PC to sleep and then bring it back so it handshakes again.

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post #27 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by atc98092 View Post
Can't agree with you there. I have several UHD demo files I've downloaded for testing purposes, and I can stream them to my Samsung JU7100 via Serviio with no issues. The HDR information even passes, and looks spectacular. Are the files large? Certainly. Although H265 compared to H264 results in much smaller files. Since I don't have the same video in both formats, I can't confirm the size reduction.

However, the HDR information does not appear to pass through my Roku 4. I don't know if it's because of the Roku or the AVR in between, but since the AVR has HDMI 2.2 ports, that shouldn't be the issue.
Roku4 has issues handshaking properly through an AVR. I returned mine after about two days of fighting with their customer support. Long sad story about a customer support rep that didn't know what an AVR was, let alone why I couldn't rewire my living room to suit the Roku 4.

UHD rips will play fine on a PC. My UHD comment stems mostly from being left out of anything other than rips and porn. UHD streaming services are not providing players for Windows 7 or 8 and Windows 10 can't be a Media Center PC so there's this feeling that PCs are being left behind in favor of device apps, Xbox One apps, PS4 apps and UHD BluRay player apps.

My only caveat with UHD is that it requires a NVIDIA 960 or better and that brings heat issues with it; both are solvable problems whereas Netflix/Amazon/Vudu in UHD on a PC is very likely never going to happen.
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post #28 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mhrischuk View Post
I have this issue. If I change sources with my processor and go back to PC I lose video. I have to put my PC to sleep and then bring it back so it handshakes again.
I guess I am lucky with regards to my pc hookup.. There have been occasions, however, when I go to other sources and back again....that I have encountered a handshake issue.....but not too often. Where I do have issues is that my avr (7702 mkII) will sometimes loose connection to the network and this is a pia.
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post #29 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 09:19 AM
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Some terms being used that I am not familiar with and I wonder if you could clarify.

I currently use AnyDVD and HandBrake to create MP4 files of my DVD's that I can play on my computer or HDTV. It is great to just scroll through the files on the drive instead of swapping out DVD's. I have not gone the BluRay route yet but I know there is a AnyDVDHD available. Some threads talk about troubles with AnyDVD. What is that about?

Some threads talk about MKV files, is there an advantage to using them over MP4? I have a 55" HDTV and I can't see a difference between my DVD's and the MP4 files.

Thanks
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post #30 of 245 Old 04-11-2016, 09:19 AM
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Allow me to be the 10th Man in this discussion. (I hope you get the reference!)

For years I kept thinking I wanted an HTPC. After finally building my own absolutely wonderful HTPC, I used it for a couple of weeks and then turned it off forever.

With respect, please consider the following alternative:
1) Yes, build or buy yourself a PC that can rip, burn, download and host data. Computer good.
2) Buy yourself a network attached storage (NAS) device to act as your central movie hub. I have a decent Western Digital external hard drive attached via USB to my router. The advantage of this is that it never shuts off and is available to all of your equipment all the time... and your equipment is going to grow. Lots of routers now support attached storage devices. Perhaps your existing one already does?
3) Instead of driving the video from your HTPC, use dedicated devices. My favorite two are a Roku for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. and a KDLinks HD700 media streamer for all of your ripped movies. The HD700 is relatively cheap, talks wonderfully to any device on your network and will playback even your most demanding ripped files straight from that NAS from step 2. (I use mine wired, not wirelessly.) An alternative to the Roku is an Apple TV if that's your preference.

The reason I ditched my HTPC is that I always found that playing video was a hassle. Ultimately I ended up with a keyboard and mouse next to me all the time. And despite using the best video playback software available with 10 foot interfaces, I was alway burdened by the trouble of graphics settings, audio settings, other apps, software updates, etc. etc. I just felt like I was always running my PC, not sitting in a home theater. My wife had little patience for the process it took to start a movie. And, don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of computers on my network. They just don't drive my final video.

-Pete
Oh, if you're a heavy PC gamer, all of the above can be tossed in the trash since you obviously will have your computer plugged in.
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