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Multiple TVs: HTPC connected to one, suggestions for the other?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
So I am a noob cord cutter. I have two TVs in the house. I have already built an HTPC and bought a Synology 212 NAS to store all my media. The HTPC takes care of one of the TVs in the house. But what should I use on my other TV in the house? I want the other TV to primarily be able to view media on the NAS, but if it can access the Internet too that would be nice.

I don't particularly want to build another HTPC for my second TV. Suggestions on solutions please? What do others do to cover multiple TVs in the household? Perhaps WD Live TV, Roku, Boxee, or something else altogether?
post #2 of 20
is your computer a dvr too or are you just trying to watch video files on the other televisions?

if you want live tv on the other televisions your only choice right now is an xbox 360 or the upcoming ceton echo. that is for windows media center.

if you just want to watch ripped movies first figure out what format(s) theyre in or which one you would like them to be. then head over to the digital media player forum where you will find more info on those.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm primarily just trying to watch video files and Internet content on the other televisions. However, I am open to having live TV capabilities if it's not cost prohibitive.

The new Boxee Live TV looks interesting (but kinda expensive) if I want to incorporate free broadcast tv.

So how do other folks typically handle the multiple TV conundrum? Do many actually put an HTPC with every TV?
post #4 of 20
What I do is store all my Movies, Music, Imagaes, etc on one Server (HTPC). I run the program JRiver Media Center, and stream all my content to the other TVs in the house. At the TV end, I find it much easier/nicer to just use a cheap HTPC as the client (although for a while I used Media Center Extender - but that limits content). Now days its as cheap to use (and easier to get) a small HTPC. You can get a decent client HTPC for around $250 (or less used). Nothing to build.
For example, I use the Acer Aspire Revo as one client, and a couple of older computers (ITX and mini-ATA format) on the other TVs. This gives me full access to all my content, Internet access, Netflix, You Tube, etc. on all the TVs. Plus I have a TV Tuner card in the Server which I can access from any TV. JRiver Media Center also streams to DNLA equiped TVs (and Andriod/Tablets).
This may not be the cheapest solution, but it is easy to get it setup and sharing media. One cavet though, if your not hardwired (CAT5) to each TV location, you will need to get a good WiFi (powernet, etc.) or you will/may have issues streaming BD movies. IMO.
Good Luck
post #5 of 20
and great cheap low power product to do this is available from Zotac. I'm a big fan of their Zbox line.

Check this unit out.

http://www.zotacusa.com/zbox-ad04.html

http://www.zotacusa.com/zbox-nano-ad10.html

and if you need built in bluray player...

http://www.zotacusa.com/zbox-ad03-blu-ray.html

They make Intel models as well but I really think AMD has a better platform for this purpose.

Here is their fancy Intel Sandy Bridge with onboard integrated nVidia as well!
http://www.zotacusa.com/zbox-giga-id70-plus.html

When you look at the cost of an embedded solution like Boxee etc you'd be better off with a Zbox IMHO...

I love those little computers bigtime... and if you look at the boards they are all solid jap caps and are well built/designed.

AMD make the PERFECT HTPC solution with their Brazos and Fusion lines. It's only gunna get better with their roadmap moving into SoC etc for use in tablets. Those solutions will make the ultimate low power HTPC clients and servers.

Nano ITX boards and smaller with lower that 10TDP that have better graphical and perhaps on par CPU performance as that i3 Giga ID70 Zotac Zbox!

YAY

PS the ZOTAC ZBOX nano AD10 would be my pick as it also has external SATA and USB3 as well as DP for a TOTAL I/O PACKAGE. Throw a Crucial M4 64GB SSD and a stick of Corsair and your good to go!
post #6 of 20
in my house I have a Linksys DMA2100 and a Logitech Revue in my bedroom. Between those two devices I get all my recorded tv, music, a full web browser, netflix, hbo go, crackle, xfinity on demand, and most of my archived movies (a better digital media player than the revue would be able to accomodate more files like mpeg2 and dts)
post #7 of 20
If you use an extender like one of these on another tv away from your main HTPC with the tuner card will you still be able to watch live tv on the remote extender using the tuner card in the main HTPC?

I have looked at these due to their size and functionality. I am still considering building my own 2nd bedroom HTPC, but trying to figure out the functionality first to see if it is worth going all out on it (minus storage) or just making a similar build to these extenders.
post #8 of 20
Extender is the way to go. There are plenty of them on ebay, or you can use XBOX360 if you have one.

You will be able to have 95% of the HTPC functionality (Live TV, pause, rewind, record, schedule recording, play movies, music, and videos) on the other TV. But, you will not be able to get HULU, or Netflix on it.
post #9 of 20
the other major limitations of extenders are container/codec support and bitrate support.

a bluray w/ vc1 video and dts audio remuxed into an mkv file will not play on the extender.
post #10 of 20
So with the codec issue and netflix/Hulu capabilities being needed I would be better off using a bare bones htpc for the bedroom.

Is there an easy way to use the tuner card of the main htpc through the bedroom one to watch live tv or does each htpc need a tuner card.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaidin43 View Post

So with the codec issue and netflix/Hulu capabilities being needed I would be better off using a bare bones htpc for the bedroom.

Is there an easy way to use the tuner card of the main htpc through the bedroom one to watch live tv or does each htpc need a tuner card.

well now this plan may not work as intended either.

there are tuners that can be shared on the network. the silicon dust products are built for just that purpose. the ceton ones have software that can be used to permanently assign tuners across the network.

there are a few possible issues with this. number one is lack of "guide sharing." if you are using an extender, and you set your htpc to record The Office on Thursdays, the extender will show that in the schedule. A second computer will not know you already scheduled it.

second and probably more important is that depending on your cable provider you may not be able to watch programs that were recorded by your main computer on the other ones. many cable companies encrypt all channels outside of locals as "copy once" meaning you can record it to your computer but you cannot watch it anywhere else or alter it in anyway. no commercial editing, no burning to disc, no watching it on any other computer in the house. what is drm'd in that way changes from provider to provider and even from the same provider in different geographical areas. this is not an issue with an extender.

if those two things don't concern you then a networked tuner could work very well for your situation.

Ceton has an extender coming out this year that has a lot of promise in that we are all hoping it will have more codec support and will have some streaming services built into it.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Damn, I didn't even realize I could utilize one tuner across multiple TVs. That's great!

Did a little more research. If I'm not tied to using WMC, would folks concur that Mediaportal would be my best option to enable the most seamless sharing of a tuner card?
post #13 of 20
I would recommend the WDTV Live short term for streaming your media to the second tv. Plays everything I've thrown at it.

You can upgrade to the Ceton extender when it comes out. You then can access your tuners and recordings.

The 360 works too but I wouldn't recommend one unless you already have one. I can't get reliable streaming of HD do to transcoding restraints. It streams the TV tuners (HDHR Prime) fine but is poor at the streaming. Hopefully the Ceton pans out with native decoding without transcoding.

The WDTVs are cheap and just work for streaming needs...
post #14 of 20
If you want a CHEAP temp solution I'd get a Patriot Boxoffice and flash Medi8tors firmware into it. It's much much better than any of the WD firmwares IMHO.

This is the ultimate list of "media streamers" and other embedded playback devices.

http://www.iboum.com/net-media-players.php

cooljw Media Portal for PVR all the way buddy! Realize it's a branch of XBMC with PVR ehh and all that Python plug GLORY! Here is Boxee functionality within MediaPortal
http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/fo...inevideos.244/

PS the South Africans have the best Realtek firmware of them all but still on 1185
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryBumkin View Post

What I do is store all my Movies, Music, Imagaes, etc on one Server (HTPC). I run the program JRiver Media Center, and stream all my content to the other TVs in the house. At the TV end, I find it much easier/nicer to just use a cheap HTPC as the client (although for a while I used Media Center Extender - but that limits content). Now days its as cheap to use (and easier to get) a small HTPC. You can get a decent client HTPC for around $250 (or less used). Nothing to build.
For example, I use the Acer Aspire Revo as one client, and a couple of older computers (ITX and mini-ATA format) on the other TVs. This gives me full access to all my content, Internet access, Netflix, You Tube, etc. on all the TVs. Plus I have a TV Tuner card in the Server which I can access from any TV. JRiver Media Center also streams to DNLA equiped TVs (and Andriod/Tablets).
This may not be the cheapest solution, but it is easy to get it setup and sharing media. One cavet though, if your not hardwired (CAT5) to each TV location, you will need to get a good WiFi (powernet, etc.) or you will/may have issues streaming BD movies. IMO.
Good Luck

On the client end for live TV/PVR do you use J River? I haven't use it in some years since Cinemar integration but it was dropped. Does anyone still use Meedio or MeediOS? I used it a lot years ago and put a lot of work into it. The plugin community was HUGE years ago...
post #16 of 20
Hi SolidState

In your post above (sorry; havnt worked out how to "quote" using the iPhone app!) you mention a mediaportal extender solution using boxee; the link doesn't work for me but that sounds very interesting.

I love mediaportal and my next project will be to provide clients of some sort at another 2 TVs, both wall mounted so size of componentry is a big issue

Cheers

Barry
post #17 of 20
Something I'm excited about is the Raspberry Pi, which should be released in the next couple days. They're making an announcement at 0600GMT (1EST/12CST) tonight which is probably the official release.

The rapsberry pi is a small soc computer that will sell for $25/$35 depending on model. It has an hdmi out as well as an RCA out and is able to decode 1080p. People have already been working on xbmc for it so that it will be the perfect little streaming machine.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid-State View Post

Does anyone still use Meedio or MeediOS? I used it a lot years ago and put a lot of work into it. The plugin community was HUGE years ago...

Yes. I'm one of the plugin developers. You should check it out. It's come a long way.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiGi760 View Post

Something I'm excited about is the Raspberry Pi, which should be released in the next couple days. They're making an announcement at 0600GMT (1EST/12CST) tonight which is probably the official release.

The rapsberry pi is a small soc computer that will sell for $25/$35 depending on model. It has an hdmi out as well as an RCA out and is able to decode 1080p. People have already been working on xbmc for it so that it will be the perfect little streaming machine.

This is what you need. For $35, it's unbeatable as an extender for your NAS.

There are already two versions of XBMC working on Rpi; openELEC and RaspBMC.

Otherwise, I'd probably suggest an AppleTV or even WD Live for your secondary viewing location.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have decided OTA HD broadcasts are important for me. Especially after I got one of those Mohu flat antennas and the reception is surprisingly outstanding! So, I'm planning to use HD Homerun or a Mediaportal server, and do a budget HTPC or buy a laptop for the bedroom.

Not necessarily the cheapest way to do it but I figure I will have max flexibility going forward having an HTPC at each TV.

Also seems like budget HTPC build is around $300 these days, and with the laptop deals lately you can pay just a little more to get a capable laptop with HDMI out. So I might opt just to get a laptop.
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