Originally Posted by Marc_G
IMHO, give up any thoughts of using Windows for Netflix. I did it for a few years; NF through Windows Media Center just sucks. I still don't think the Windows NF streaming supports HD.
I use Windows 7.1, Windows Media Center, and MediaBrowser3. But I rely on the TV's built in NF and Amazon apps for streaming from the internet. For the needs you listed, perhaps don't build an HTPC at all, just build a back-room computer that can serve media via Media Browser and use a Roku box at your TV to do excellent streaming from your local media as well as Netflix and whatever else. Roku has the ability to play your Media Browser-managed content.
I strongly recommend you check out media browser, then re-assess the best path forward. You might save a wad of cash and get a more family friendly system in the bargain.
Thanks, Marc. I was actually thinking about a Roku to replace the WD Live, but I have two issues with it:
1.) No optical output (my soundbar does not have HDMI), so I would have to look at an audio extractor or converter.
2.) Roku is a very "closed" system; no ability to manually set DNS or do any of the other tricks that we Canadians need to do in order to enjoy its full capabilities. I'm aware that DNS can be set at the router level, but I do not want all my traffic being routed through a third party, just my streaming box.
My complaint about the WD Live is basically that the UI is clunky, slow, and difficult to navigate, and we've been having random disconnects and freezes, especially if it has been on for a few hours. I've tried a few of the skins/themes out there but they have either caused something to break or did not improve the navigational speeds.
I really want a rich media experience, like those using Media Browser, Kodi, and Plex are getting. If the WD Live had a similar interface, it would be untouchable. But I don't think WD cares any more. Their last firmware update was a bust (I had to roll back, for the first time ever, as did many others) and I don't think the newer revisions even have Netflix.
Putting HTPC on hold while I think this through some more. I'm sure the Synology NAS can be better utilized, just need to find the right tools and get it together.