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post #1 of 6 Old 10-18-2011, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Since Vista came out I've had an HTPC that has leveraged it with mostly good and stable results. Well, fast forward to last night as I try to update the Nvidia video driver and it blue screen's for the first time. It reboots and blue screens again. I go in to safe mode to find out all the previous restore points have been corrupted. When it rains it pours.

So I could probably spend some time resolving the instability issue in Windows, but instead I think it is time to simply reimage. I've thought about Linux for a HTPC before, but the fact I am almost a complete dunce when it comes to Linux has held me back. I'm ready to dive in and already learning a lot on this forum, but before I get too far down this road I thought I would ask others to ensure Linux can indeed offer me what I'm looking for in a HTPC. They seem to me to be pretty simple requirements. Any guidance on what might be best for me as far as the OS / distro or specific apps I would appreciate it.

- DVD / BluRay Playback via unraid server
- Rip DVD's and BluRays that I need to archive to unraid server
- Have a very simple and easy front-end like Media Browser that will search Media on the unraid server, download metadata and fan art. Ultimately, allow for simple playback for people that no nothing of the HTPC (wife and kids).
- Allow for "upscaling" and sharpening to dramatically improve the image of DVD videos. Arcsoft and PowerDVD allow for this with their SimHD and Sharpening tool. I find that it is pretty good for DVD playback and wouldn't want to give this up moving to Linux.
- SabNZBD, Couch Potato, and SickBeard. I'm practically certain these apps are created for Linux as well as Windows so I don't think it will be a problem.

Again, any guidance or recommendations are appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-18-2011, 07:53 PM
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To rip DVD and Blu-Ray use MakeMKV or DVDFab. Everything else can be done in XBMC, but I'm not 100% sure about how well upscaling works. Nvidia's VDPAU supports hardware upscaling, and I'm pretty sure that XBMC can use that, but I have no personal experience with it.

Distro choice is up to you and depends on how much other desktop stuff you want to do. You could easily have something to just boot straight into XBMC and set it up to launch your ripping program when you need it.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-19-2011, 07:10 AM
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-19-2011, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

XBMC uses the ffmpeg video engine, which has sharpen controls-

http://ffmpeg.org/libavfilter.html#unsharp

Thanks. I've used ffdshow in the past. However, it can be difficult to configure and uses a considerable amount of resources. I guess Linux could do a better job of this though. I'm not sure.

What I found under Windows was using Arcsoft's TMT and Cyberlink's PowerDVD upscaling plug-ins worked incredibly well. It made some DVD's look much much better and did it in a way that did not use a ton of resources. It basically did what ffdshow attempts to do in a more more user intuitive way.

However, now that I hear ffdshow is bundled with XBMC I think I'll give it a try. It appears Geexbox has XBMX and is tailored for HTPC's so that may be something to try.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-20-2011, 08:23 AM
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I forgot to mention that the best way to see how your hardware will work out-of-the-box and determine if the video post-processing is going to be acceptable to you without actually installing an OS distro would be to boot up XBMC Live: http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=XBMC_Live
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-20-2011, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sysadmin View Post

I forgot to mention that the best way to see how your hardware will work out-of-the-box and determine if the video post-processing is going to be acceptable to you without actually installing an OS distro would be to boot up XBMC Live: http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=XBMC_Live

Thanks Geexbox has XMBC integrated in to it so I thought I might try a live CD from that. It didn't work. I got the splash screen and then nothing but a frozen cursor. Ubuntu's live cd worked fine so that was good.

I'll try the XBMC Live tonight once I go out and buy more CD-R's and a few USB drives. I always thought those things came from trees but evidently not.
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