Originally Posted by TMcG
THIS is what I have been looking for. If there's one area of my own theater that I haven't explored it's the streaming media clients and their management via third party control. Jon (Timelapse Theater) uses XBMC and says it is the most reliable and robust of all the interfaces.
Definitely bookmarking these links. If you had the time, I'd love to see a few more posts that get into each of these points a bit deeper with the hardware / software setup you are running for your streaming media and control.
You need to hang out in the HTPC forum more MediaBrowser
also has plugins for trivia, you can even do intros (like your own custom intro) and you can also do previews. There's plenty of plugins to download fresh ones all the time, or you can run custom ones.
One guy has trivia asking questions about his build I saw - I thought that was cool. Example: How many tubes of Green glue did it take to complete this theater ? Lol.
Mediabrowser3 is in beta right now, but's it's likely to be a game changer. It has support for 4k upconversion via MadVR plugins, and you should be able to do better subtitles, as well as better upconversion, frame rates, and general PQ. It's still beta testing but it looks like it will also support SVP 60frame interpolation (like the fancy high end TV sets and 4k projectors do)SVP
MadVR is upconversion software, and it can provide better PQ than most upconversion DVD players, AVR or Projectors can do (even the ones with fancy chips
Honestly XBMC is great software- but if your noob and starting fresh I would look into just starting on MediaBrowser3 at this point. It's more modern and robust than XBMC, and if your going to go through the learning curve I think you would be better served learning MB3 since it's got a better design behind it. It's not just promising to be slicker, but it's lightweight and it's now a 2 part software application. There is a server client program that runs on your server or NAS, and then there is a front end client that can run on anything- including iOS, Android, Linux or Windows. The player in MB3 appears to superior to XBMC in that you can do reclock (perfect 24p frame rates and sync audio) MadVR for 480p or 720p >1080p or even 4k, SVP for better frame rates etc...
XBMC is good, but it's a modest solution. I am not sure how technical people want to get, but after watching the pain staking effort that goes into a theater build, calibration the audio and video, picking out nice equiptment etc... I think there might be some advantage in the small bit of extra you can get- especially if your starting fresh. XBMC is only popular because it's free, and it's been around a long time. It's the choice for running when people don't want to spend any $$$ , including $$ on an OS to install it on.
Also- MB3 offers transcoding on the fly. So you can do a lot with that. Example: You have all your 1080p bluray movies stored on your movie server for instance access, but the full 1080p resolutions and HD audio is too much for your tablet, your iphone or android cell phone- and it's too big to go over WIFI without playing choppy. You can on the fly transcode the 1080p and 7.1 audio mix down to 480p and stereo on the fly and serve it out to the clients like a tablet or smartphone. 480p and stereo works much better on a cell phone- and you can even send it out over the internet. So if you are traveling or away and want to watch a movie on your laptop or cell phone you can do that from a movie you have at home. It's pretty cool (XBMC can't really do this )
720p works good on laptops and 480p works good on cell phones. Most home internet is too slow to allow you to upload and stream full bit rate 1080p bluray (50mbps speed) but can easily do 720p or 480p in stereo.
If you have a reasonable budget ($500-$1000) for an HTPC the sky is really the limit and you can do a lot with an HTPC, including not just looking slick but offering superior PQ and SQ like HD audio, and 1080p upconversion or higher/better frame rates. My HTPC looks just as good as my high end blu ray player- you could not tell the difference - unless of coarse I turned on SVP
Just a warning though- SVP is not for the modest system. It will crush a dual core CPU, and you really need a quad core + video card. But that is the only "heavy" application, the rest can run on dual core no problem including MadVR.
Another cool feature is you can launch a video playing from any location. So for example I am sitting here on my PC surfing AVS and typing to you- and my wife is crying in the living room because she wants to watch something but can't find it (like Breaking Bad from Sunday night) I can actually with a couple clicks launch it playing for her on the living room system. WIFI remotes are great becaues they have great range, do not require line of sight- and are fast. There is a Mediabrowser3 Ap for Iphone and Android, that also allows you do launch or browse media from your phone and launch on your system or HTPC.
I think this functionality has some excited advanced things to come down the pipe in the next 6 months- and if you wanted to dedicate something like and Android tablet or Ipad to your theater as a remote control you will be able to do and control everything- including browsing media or movies while another movie is still playing on the screen and launching or changing it when you find what you want to watch instead.
Some cool stuff.