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YouTube and Hulu flawless on HTPC?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am trying to find a good upgrade for my current HTPC (Zotac Zbox AD02)

My problem with my current HTPC is that YouTube and Hulu get choppy. My cheap Roku makes this machine look like garbage, but I haven't found a great way to get YouTube on my Roku and I need some TV shows on Hulu that won't stream on anything but a PC.

I am looking for a solution, but even for the most high powered Zbox (Zotac Zbox ID82) has reviewers saying YouTube is choppy.

What I want? The ability to hook something up to my 60 inch Sharp Aquos and watch this (Man of Steel - Official Trailer #2 [HD]) in 1080p without any skipping choppy etc.

I can watch that in 1080p just fine sitting here on my laptop (HP Pavillion dv7)

I have noticed that Assassin doesn't like the Zotac product and I have looked at his blog and his HTPCs for sale. The problem is I don't want to spend over $500.

Is this possible?

I was looking at building my own machine and all the options make my head spin. I am assuming I won't be able to accomplish my goal without getting a video card to compliment the video they are building inside the chips these days.
post #2 of 17
You definitely don't need a video card to accomplish your goal, the built in video on Intel/AMD CPU's are perfectly fine for 1080p Youtube/Blu-ray videos.
As for building your own machine, it should be pretty easy to build a decent machine for $500, depending on if you need a copy Windows or not, which will make it a bit harder.
Take a look around at some of the other threads on here, there are plenty of recommendations for similar builds.
post #3 of 17
The Zbox you threw up should be fine. There is absolutely no reason why it wouldn't be doing 1080p YouTube or any other HD video you throw at it unless it was improperly configured.
post #4 of 17
Try installing the latest Flash player from Adobe, it allows hardware video acceleration.
If you are using Firefox in the Advanced->General tab , tick "Use Hardware Acceleration When Available"
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
All evidence to the contrary.

My Zotac Zbox AD02 chokes on 1080p YouTube. I wish you could come over and watch it occur. I made sure I have the latest drivers. I have confirmed that I have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player 11.5.502.135

I have tried three browsers. Firefox (17.0.1) , Chrome ( 23.0.1271.97 m), and Internet Explorer 9. Fullscreen 1080p YouTube playback chokes, stutters and looks like garbage on all. Chrome does the best.
I tried Firefox with this checked and unchecked, Tools->Options->Advanced->General->Use hardware acceleration when available

When I connect my HP dv7 laptop (Intel i7-2630QM CPU @ 2.00GHz with a Radeon HD 6770M GPU) via HDMI cable to my display, it brings videos such as (Linkin Park - Burn it Down) to me beautifully with great audio too (dv7 has beats by dre).

Based on this, I now believe that I need a HTPC with a separate GPU from the CPU.

Would someone kindly recommend a good build with a modest CPU that has a separate GPU. Although I wont use my HTPC for gaming, I will spend the money to have flawless video playback.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

The Zbox you threw up should be fine. There is absolutely no reason why it wouldn't be doing 1080p YouTube or any other HD video you throw at it unless it was improperly configured.

His computer comes with amd E350 which I can confirm can't handle 1080p HD hulu/netflix.
post #7 of 17
Your internet speed also plays a significant role when Streaming
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by drtdiver View Post

Your internet speed also plays a significant role when Streaming

It works on a different computer so his Internet is fine.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
For sake of argument I ran an internet speed test (speedtest.net) on both machines with nearly matching results.

Ping 43ms
Download 11.45 Mbps
Upload 1.43 Mbps

Let's get back to the issue, what machine can I purchase to get what I want?
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesbedroom View Post

Let's get back to the issue, what machine can I purchase to get what I want?

The best thing to do is build your own.
Is the $500 just for Hardware? Or does that include the OS.
What storage do you need?
Other than Youtube/Hulu are there any other requirements?
Are you looking for something small like the Zbox? or something that matches your current equipment?

The best thing to do is pick a case that you want and then work around that.
post #11 of 17
Now is the perfect time to compile parts for an HTPC. If you are not already, make sure you are signed up for Newegg's newsletters for daily sales.

$500 is plenty for a powerful HTPC, whether you get dedicated graphics or not.

Here is a rough budget:

MB - micro ATX 1155 - ~$50 (AsRock, MSI, Asus, Gigabyte)
CPU - i3 - ~$100
RAM - 2x2GB 1600 - ~$20 (Newegg has a shellshocker today (12/17) on Ballistix 2x2 kit for $13.99)
OS - Win 7 Home Prem. - $80 (Win8 for $70 w/Newegg code: EMCJHJJ87 exp.12/17)
SSD - 120/128GB - ~$80 - $100 (Kingston SSDNow V+200 KR-S3020-3H 2.5" 120GB SATA III SSD $89 @ NE))
Case - $50

All this for ~ $400. (If you are patient you should have no problems getting quality components at the stated prices, and possibly even better)

See how the intel graphics hold up for you. I was skeptical myself, but I am satisfied with the HD2000 graphics in my i3-2120 HTPC.

If you want, you can always add a dedicated graphics card later, and still be under $500.

I built my HTPC last year at this time, and now putting the finishing touches on my server.
Edited by wiley165 - 12/17/12 at 9:06am
post #12 of 17

Yea, my HTPC is now 3 years old and I'm still using the old i3-540 Clarksdale with no separate video card and it plays 1080p Bluray rips at full quality just fine let alone Hulu, Netflix or YouTube.

 

Tip on Hulu, try Hulu Desktop.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesbedroom View Post

For sake of argument I ran an internet speed test (speedtest.net) on both machines with nearly matching results.
Ping 43ms
Download 11.45 Mbps
Upload 1.43 Mbps
Let's get back to the issue, what machine can I purchase to get what I want?

Almost anything except for systems based on netbook parts aka atom or zacate. The cheapest possible parts are dual core SandyBridge celeron or pentium CPUs.

Lower end:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116409 $49

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103951

Higher end:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113288

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116774
Edited by jeffkro - 12/18/12 at 12:27pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonscott87 View Post

Yea, my HTPC is now 3 years old and I'm still using the old i3-540 Clarksdale with no separate video card and it plays 1080p Bluray rips at full quality just fine let alone Hulu, Netflix or YouTube.

Tip on Hulu, try Hulu Desktop.

blu-ray is less system intensive then hulu or netflix HD.
post #15 of 17
Here's a sample of what the highest grade Intel HD graphics can do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STCKwxzL3VM
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

His computer comes with amd E350 which I can confirm can't handle 1080p HD hulu/netflix.

I was talking about the Intel Zbox. Not the one he already has.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post


blu-ray is less system intensive then hulu or netflix HD.

May be true but not really the point.  The point I was saying is a 3 year old i3 is plenty powerful enough to do HD streaming, BluRay, OTA, whatever you toss at it.  Thus it should be really cheap to build a system that can do Hulu.  ;)

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