Help Me Get Rid of My HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I have owned a HTPC for years, and in the past have had the time to tweak, fumble with settings, etc. Also, I work in the computer industry and stare at a computer desktop all day long.

I'm sick of it and just want a plug & play device.

However, most of my movie watching is on the HTPC feeding my 106" screen (FP), and is 1080i, 1080p, and 720p movies in .ts, .wmv, .mkv formats (MPEG2 and h264) played using either TT (+FFDShow for DVDs), or MPC + CoreAVC.

Turfing my HTPC would mean not being able to view these types of files, and that's not an option.

My question:

Is there a device out there that supports attaching drives (USB or firewire) to it, as well as being disc based (i.e. like a DVD player), that can play all of these types of files but is also very simple to use? (i.e. not based on a PC platform, but functioning more like a DVD player type device?)

I'm thinking not at this time, other than some of those media extender players, which are not matured enough I think now, but I'm just fishing for some ideas.

I could turf my HTPC completely and just go back to using my HDDVD player for both HDVD and DVD playing, but I would be missing out on a lot media I could be watching.
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post #2 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 07:03 PM
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I believe Kapone can fix you up
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post #3 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by videolover View Post

I believe Kapone can fix you up

Who is Kapone? (Or what is Kapone?)
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post #4 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFigueiredo View Post

However, most of my movie watching is... .mkv formats...

You're screwed. Unless you re-rip your content into a container more hardware player friendly.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #5 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

You're screwed. Unless you re-rip your content into a container more hardware player friendly.

Such as what?
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post #6 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 07:53 PM
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Wmv, Mp4, Avi, Ts

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #7 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 08:20 PM
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Here's the problem.

1. You are using a variety of formats. Other than a PC based platform, I don't know of any other "device" that can handle these formats. In addition, a format like MKV is ONLY a PC based format. No consumer based device is MKV friendly.

2. You are using TT + ffdshow, which are nice (and give a great picture) BUT, they are based on a PC based platform.

What you need IS a PC based platform, however one that can handle these multiple formats, whether it uses ffdshow and TT or not, but it should provide a picture that's similar in quality. Understand that you are in the minority, from a user base perspective. You have become very picky.. and discerning in terms of video quality, hence you use what you use.

My company IS developing a platform that will form the foundation of our factory built line of media players that will support a multitude of formats, including all of what you mentioned. However, we are still in the design/test phase. The products are atleast 6-9 months away.

My apologies.
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post #8 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 08:34 PM
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Sounds interesting, Kapone. I might check out your product(s) once they ship.
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post #9 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 09:54 PM
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Some DVD players can play a slew of audio, image, and video formats burned to a CD or DVD. It still takes a PC to burn that media to the disks, though. That still leaves out all the media that you could watch streaming off the internet from a PC.

My DirecTV HR20 right now lets me play music and look at pictures on a PC somewhere else in the house over my network. Video from your PC is advertised, but not ready for prime time yet.

I recently added my first PC to my living room, although I've gotten very close several times through the years. I decided to keep it simple and avoid having to hack or crack or whack the PC, and stuck a small-case Dell Inspiron in the rack. DVI to HDMI gets it's output to 1080p on the HDTV. I can access media on PCs elsewhere in the house via my network. This includes my entire collection of DVDs and CDs. The HTPC can do the web watching/listening on it's own. With Media Center running, I can control it all with my Harmony 880 remote control. If I resist pulling the blu-tooth keyboard out of the coffee table the experience is "almost" like having just one more DVD-like plug-and-play device in there.
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post #10 of 20 Old 09-18-2007, 11:22 PM
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The Dvico company seems to be putting a lot of work into their stand-alone players. I thought they just made HD tuner cards. When I last checked their site, I saw they had just released updated firmware that adds the ability to play .MKV format files to their latest players. They already can play files in these formats: .avi, .wmv, .mpg, .iso .vob, .ifo, .mp4, .asf, .tp, .trp, .ts, .m2ts, .mov(H.264)

Check it out here: http://www.dvico.com/default_e.asp and here: http://www.tvix.co.kr/ENG/

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post #11 of 20 Old 09-19-2007, 03:21 AM
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http://www.tomacro.com/english/ProductShow.htm

Although I tried following this route and decided to go with HTPC, as flexibility is too important IMHO.

Seriously. AVS is a place where you go to learn to be unhappy. - Bear5k
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post #12 of 20 Old 09-19-2007, 07:06 AM
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I didn't look into it too much, but you may want to check out: http://www.alienware.com/product_det..._overview.aspx
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post #13 of 20 Old 09-19-2007, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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The Alienware device looks amazing, but too expensive.

I'll probably stick it out with my HTPC as I can't part with the ability to play all that HD media.

I'll have to see if I can get Vista media center on it to make it look less like a PC and more like a plug & play device. I have a USB-UIRT so I should be able to get it to work well.

My main problems are having to switch settings to get the best possible video/audio between what I'm doing with the HTPC.

For example:
1. Watching DVDs - Theatertek + FFDShow (so have to turn FFDShow on as post-processor and also set RAW Video in FFDShow to All Supported).
2. Watching non-h264 HD files - Theatertek without FFDShow (so because FFDShow with RAW Video enabled sends all video through it, I have to turn FFDShow off as post-processor and also set RAW Video in FFDShow to Disabled)
3. Watching h264 HD files - MPC + CoreAVC (so have to ensure FFDShow RAW Video is set to Disabled).
4. Listening to Audio - Winamp using 2channel audio via analog connections from my Auzentech X-Plosion (so have to ensure I go into the Auzentech driver utiltity and turn off Digital, turn on Analog, set it to 2 channel, and turn my Receiver's setting to 6channel).

I have a Harmony remote to turn and eliminate all of these setting changes, but the HTPC settings described above still make it very manual.
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post #14 of 20 Old 09-19-2007, 08:31 AM
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I have one of the Dvico HD-4100SH media players and it works pretty good. It plays many formats including MVK's (You need to use the latest firmware).

It's interface is kind of ugly compared to a PC but it works. If you have any specific questions let me know and I will try to answer them.
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-02-2008, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFigueiredo View Post

The Alienware device looks amazing, but too expensive.

I'll probably stick it out with my HTPC as I can't part with the ability to play all that HD media.

I'll have to see if I can get Vista media center on it to make it look less like a PC and more like a plug & play device. I have a USB-UIRT so I should be able to get it to work well.

My main problems are having to switch settings to get the best possible video/audio between what I'm doing with the HTPC.

For example:
1. Watching DVDs - Theatertek + FFDShow (so have to turn FFDShow on as post-processor and also set RAW Video in FFDShow to All Supported).
2. Watching non-h264 HD files - Theatertek without FFDShow (so because FFDShow with RAW Video enabled sends all video through it, I have to turn FFDShow off as post-processor and also set RAW Video in FFDShow to Disabled)
3. Watching h264 HD files - MPC + CoreAVC (so have to ensure FFDShow RAW Video is set to Disabled).
4. Listening to Audio - Winamp using 2channel audio via analog connections from my Auzentech X-Plosion (so have to ensure I go into the Auzentech driver utiltity and turn off Digital, turn on Analog, set it to 2 channel, and turn my Receiver's setting to 6channel).

I have a Harmony remote to turn and eliminate all of these setting changes, but the HTPC settings described above still make it very manual.

Joe,

I feel some of your pain. I have a lot of HD content, mainly h.264, some MKV, some ts. I have found CorveAVC for .264 and ffdshow for everything else to fit almost all of my needs. The only time I have to do some switching, is when I want to play HD-DVD content on PowerDVD. I have to bust out the cmd line and re-register Powerdvd's codec.

As for Vista Media Center, I just recently jumped on the OTA HDTV pvr bandwagon and for that, it simply rocks. I haven't tried it as a one-size-fits-all solution, since I really don't care that Vista is my setup to play my video / audio files.

Good luck.

Man, a projecter would be nice. I just have a 37' Westinghouse (DVI) and a pioneer reciever (SPDIF pass through) hooked up to my HTPC.
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-02-2008, 11:15 AM
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Just get your HTPC stable and THEN STOP F'ING WITH IT! Presto, it starts acting like a regular STB.

-Suntan
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-02-2008, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serpy View Post

Joe,

I feel some of your pain. I have a lot of HD content, mainly h.264, some MKV, some ts. I have found CorveAVC for .264 and ffdshow for everything else to fit almost all of my needs. The only time I have to do some switching, is when I want to play HD-DVD content on PowerDVD. I have to bust out the cmd line and re-register Powerdvd's codec.

As for Vista Media Center, I just recently jumped on the OTA HDTV pvr bandwagon and for that, it simply rocks. I haven't tried it as a one-size-fits-all solution, since I really don't care that Vista is my setup to play my video / audio files.

Good luck.

Man, a projecter would be nice. I just have a 37' Westinghouse (DVI) and a pioneer reciever (SPDIF pass through) hooked up to my HTPC.

What did you pay for the Westy? A good 720p PJ is cheeeeeep relative to plasma/lcd screens of any decent size. I've a got a Sanyo Z5 --> 108" DIY screen that's amazing to watch. Just do it!!!
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-02-2008, 11:53 AM
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Have you considered SageTV? SageTV has a new HD extender that will play all your formats. You just stick the SageTV HD extender in your hometheater and then have a PC somewhere else in your home running the SageTV server software.

Basically, it gives you the equivalent of a DVico except with vastly superior GUI and usability / navigation, but with the requirement that you run the SageTV server software on a PC somewhere else in your home.
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-02-2008, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Just get your HTPC stable and THEN STOP F'ING WITH IT! Presto, it starts acting like a regular STB.

-Suntan

Best advice right there. I haven't "touched" my thpc in over a year, I am running the same drivers I did almost two years ago, the ONLY thing I did was recently added core avc codec for mkv/h.264/x.264 playback and that was it.

- Josh
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-02-2008, 01:51 PM
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Yup, other than plug in another 2 USB tuners for Sage, and hook up a new keyboard. I have not changed anything on my HTPC for at least a year and a half.

-Suntan
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