AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Northern, VA - Washington, DC
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
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Your HTPC can be both a server device a streaming device and a local playback device. It is very versatile, but depends on what your needs are and how you want to use it.
A media server will simply feed files, stored locally, to other devices. Computers and media players throughout your home. This does not sound like what your intention is.
Your intention is the play back files locally on the HTPC or to stream files from the Internet to your HTPC for the HTPC to decode and to play back through your A/V receiver.
Depending on what all you want to play back, you will need the right software, and there is a long list of software available which can be used for this. I actually opted away from a HTPC, so I would follow the recommendation above and post in the HTPC forum instead of this forum, so you can get answers to your specific HTPC questions. XBMC, for example, is pretty popular, and offers a lot of playback options and a good 10' interface, but it may not offer everything that you want/need in a single interface.
As you start getting into the level of integration that crosses between a bunch of different platforms you may find yourself less and less happy about the results you are ending up with which could frustrate you. I mean, if you can't get it setup easily enough, or maintain it easily enough, and your family can't use it easily enough, then what's the point? This is where if all you need is MKV playback and having Netflix may be far more easily served by a basic RAID and a media player and a Roku box. The Roku will do Netflix/streaming, while the media player will handle the MKV files.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.