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Yet another "Death to HTPC" thread - Page 2

post #31 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by xcrunner529 View Post

No Apple TV 2. The 3 (1080P) isn't jailbroken yet. The Apple TV isn't outputting 1080P because it's a 720P device, but it is fully playing the 26GB MKV rip of mine without any stuttering.

The ATV2 can't cope with full bitrate 1080p movies. (period)
Running plex on it is only good for DVD quality rips.
720p plays very well to be honest, but if you try to play a 38G MKV movie on a jail broken ATV2, it will hang barely after two minutes if it starts at all.
post #32 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 View Post


How often do you need to rewind the movie? I thought so.

Often. If you need to stop it to pee, get the phone, answer the door, or any of the myriad of real life events that happen when you are at home, you need to rewind a little to regain the flow of the movie...especially if you had to stop in mid conversation.
post #33 of 159
A commodity with crap quality except physical Blu-ray discs..
post #34 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post

The ATV2 can't cope with full bitrate 1080p movies. (period)
Running plex on it is only good for DVD quality rips.
720p plays very well to be honest, but if you try to play a 38G MKV movie on a jail broken ATV2, it will hang barely after two minutes if it starts at all.

The obvious answer seems to be the roku 2 XD or XS.
post #35 of 159

Everyone has different requirements and interests.  What you have may be just fine for you.  Some people don't even watch TV; only browsing the web, youtube, netflix streaming on a tiny mobile device such as an ipad or mobile phone.  Some people may want to go all out on a powerful server-->multi-platform client system (ie, premium DVR cableTV, 2D/3D Bluray movies, music, online video streaming) integrated into a single system... with extenders on big TVs, mobile phones, ipads, etc on the LAN or over the Internet.. the works.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 View Post

First of all, disclaimer:

Look at my registration date.
I have learned a LOT from this forum and maybe, just maybe helped a few guys as well.
I know quite a bit about how to build a decent HTPC.


Now.

Headless Plex server.
NAS.
Roku 2 XS (around $50-60) or cheap Chinese Android stick for ~$30.

Both are capable of 1080p.
Both can run Plex client.

What do I need HTPC for?

I used to have one HTPC attached to every screen in the house, I have quite a few of them.
Now I am removing them much faster than it took me to build them.

Am I missing something?

Your opinions, camrades, please.
post #36 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKANET View Post

Everyone has different requirements and interests.  What you have may be just fine for you.  Some people don't even watch TV; only browsing the web, youtube, netflix streaming on a tiny mobile device such as an ipad or mobile phone.  Some people may want to go all out on a powerful server-->multi-platform client system (ie, premium DVR cableTV, 2D/3D Bluray movies, music, online video streaming) integrated into a single system... with extenders on big TVs, mobile phones, ipads, etc on the LAN or over the Internet.. the works.



Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 View Post

First of all, disclaimer:

Look at my registration date.
I have learned a LOT from this forum and maybe, just maybe helped a few guys as well.
I know quite a bit about how to build a decent HTPC.


Now.

Headless Plex server.
NAS.
Roku 2 XS (around $50-60) or cheap Chinese Android stick for ~$30.

Both are capable of 1080p.
Both can run Plex client.

What do I need HTPC for?

I used to have one HTPC attached to every screen in the house, I have quite a few of them.
Now I am removing them much faster than it took me to build them.

Am I missing something?

Your opinions, camrades, please.


Been there before and silently crept back to having an HTPC beside each screen...
My jailbroken ATV2 (plus my firecore license) is up for sale if anybody is interested...

I really do like plex, and I have been using it since I discovered it, but the lack of support for HD audio bitstreaming and 1080p24 made the plex player a no go for me.

I still use plex as the front-end on my HTPCs, but make it launch XBMC to watch movies in MKV format and TMT5 for 3D movies in iso format...

I could probably still tolerate DD or DTS, but watching a 1080p24 movie at 1080p60 is out of the question for me...
post #37 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 View Post

Yes, it is a tiny niche, but we have a lot to offer to the society.
Except society doesn't care much.

I had mentioned to my doctor that I am a computer guy, and recently installed a new appliance in my house. Her response was: "Roku? Oh yes, we have it and use it a lot"

I felt quite stupid.

You know, long time ago companies used to have vice presidents in charge of electricity.

Video distribution is becoming kind of commodity, nobody cares about the technicalities.

.

Actually what do you mean by appliance? When I hear appliance, I think fridge, oven, dishwasher. smile.gif

Also, I am surprised that a doctor knew what a Roku is. wink.gif

I know quite a few and they are just the folks most likely to watch stretched 480i through a composite cable on their HDTV.
post #38 of 159
One more thing - I would ditch HTPC if I could have AirPlay type connection where I can stream 1080p video and any kind of audio to an Apple TV like appliance from my laptop by clicking a single check mark.

Unless I get it, I will keep a PC attached to a TV. But we are getting close - the new iPad can stream 1080p MKV to Apple TV via AirPlay.
post #39 of 159
Also I tried Roku and Plex and it was buggy and crashed and stuff.

I think within a couple of years we will get some powerful Android boxes which will probably be able to handle all current video and audio formats with ease...then they may even take the place of today's bulky Windows HTPCs.
post #40 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by durack View Post

Also I tried Roku and Plex and it was buggy and crashed and stuff.

I think within a couple of years we will get some powerful Android boxes which will probably be able to handle all current video and audio formats with ease...then they may even take the place of today's bulky Windows HTPCs.

I'm guessing that the exynos 5 and tegra 4 will both be able to handle HD silverlight and HD flash, don't know about the audio formats I would assume so because they are going to want to get into the smart tv market.
post #41 of 159

In my experience, it's always nicer to have a single tiny extender (appliance) that can seamlessly handle "real" TV channels, bluray movies, online streaming such as Spotify, Pandora, Neflix, AmazonVOD, Youtube, etc without any compromises in functionality; with same functionality available over the Internet or on portable devices.  However, the options for a single system like this is practically unheard of these days.  My brother has similar functionality; except he has a pile of set-top-boxes and systems (DirecTV DVR, Slingbox, XMBC on macmini, airplay, appleTV, etc) connected to each TV and receiver.    This seems to be a common scenario for most people these days.  I'm hopeful Sony's MSO solution (late this year) may be able to integrate everything into one tiny box in each room.

post #42 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by durack View Post

One more thing - I would ditch HTPC if I could have AirPlay type connection where I can stream 1080p video and any kind of audio to an Apple TV like appliance from my laptop by clicking a single check mark.

Unless I get it, I will keep a PC attached to a TV. But we are getting close - the new iPad can stream 1080p MKV to Apple TV via AirPlayay..

Seriously? No router can propery handle the packet loss for this so there must be some sort of compression going on here. Also what size mkv? You cannot fit too many Blu-ray rips on the RAM in an iPad, I don't think.
post #43 of 159

Its sounds like he wants a system with a universal media transcoder (such as ffmpeg encoder) that can handle any type of stream; exactly what SageTV's SageTVTranscoder.exe does (over LAN or Internet).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post


Seriously? No router can propery handle the packet loss for this so there must be some sort of compression going on here. Also what size mkv? You cannot fit too many Blu-ray rips on the RAM in an iPad, I don't think.
post #44 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Seriously? No router can propery handle the packet loss for this so there must be some sort of compression going on here. Also what size mkv? You cannot fit too many Blu-ray rips on the RAM in an iPad, I don't think.

The ones I tried were 1080p H264 files, they were a few gigs in size. I have not tried Blu-Ray rips.
Also tried a few 720p 10-bit MKV files.
The newest iPad is the first portable device that was able to handle that without problems, previously every portable device I tried would choke on 720p 10 bit MKV.
My Galaxy Note 2 is also able to handle them and seems to be on par with the new iPad (obviously it cannot do AirPlay).

So hopefully Tegra 4 should be able to handle modern HTPC duties, if not then Tegra 5 surely will smile.gif
post #45 of 159
I have some BR rips that are 30 gigs or more with variable bitrates peaking at 30mbps. When a wireless router and ATV can do that and the iPad can store many titles of this size, drop me a PM.

In the meantime, I'm using my HTPC.
post #46 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKANET View Post

In my experience, it's always nicer to have a single tiny extender (appliance) that can seamlessly handle "real" TV channels, bluray movies, online streaming such as Spotify, Pandora, Neflix, AmazonVOD, Youtube, etc without any compromises in functionality; with same functionality available over the Internet or on portable devices.  However, the options for a single system like this is practically unheard of these days.  My brother has similar functionality; except he has a pile of set-top-boxes and systems (DirecTV DVR, Slingbox, XMBC on macmini, airplay, appleTV, etc) connected to each TV and receiver.    This seems to be a common scenario for most people these days.  I'm hopeful Sony's MSO solution (late this year) may be able to integrate everything into one tiny box in each room.

I'm still thinking its probably going to work best to have a HTPC on your main TV and then have extenders everywhere else. There is noting else really that combines blu-ray disc player, DVR, streaming box, and ripped movie collection like a PC. That is until we get to the day where everything you watch is streamed, at that point I guess we just need a smart TV.
post #47 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I have some BR rips that are 30 gigs or more with variable bitrates peaking at 30mbps. When a wireless router and ATV can do that and the iPad can store many titles of this size, drop me a PM.

In the meantime, I'm using my HTPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

I'm still thinking its probably going to work best to have a HTPC on your main TV and then have extenders everywhere else. There is noting else really that combines blu-ray disc player, DVR, streaming box, and ripped movie collection like a PC. That is until we get to the day where everything you watch is streamed, at that point I guess we just need a smart TV.

While searching for an alternative to the HTPC, I did quite some testing like installing plex on a jailbroken ATV2, plex on my Samsung smart TVs, DLNA via TVMobili, Mediatomb, DLNA via plex...etc...etc...
None of them worked well with full bit-rate HD movies...
The plex client on the Samsung C-Series smart TV didn't support changing the audio stream, so all full bit-rate MKV movies with default DTHD, DTS-HD played without audio. In fact you get a pop-up message telling you that the audio is not supported. If you accept, the video contiues without the audio, I would try with DLNA after and end up with the same error...
On the Samsung D-Series, it was possible to select another audio stream, but then the movie starts to stutter like mad...
Only MKV files made from makeMKV worked okay, the ones from MKVmerge simply didn't play...
The plex player in general does not support Video_TS folders...
I could go on and on...

One afternoon, I fired up the bedroom HTPC, did windows update, removed all programs, re-installed plex, XBMC and TMT5 fine tuned a bit and that was it.... everything was back to what it used to be...
The same weekend, I did the other two HTPCs and sanity came back into the house... the apple TV went back into it's carton box....

The HTPCs are staying put until further notice...
post #48 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post


While searching for an alternative to the HTPC, I did quite some testing like installing plex on a jailbroken ATV2, plex on my Samsung smart TVs, DLNA via TVMobili, Mediatomb, DLNA via plex...etc...etc...
None of them worked well with full bit-rate HD movies...
The plex client on the Samsung C-Series smart TV didn't support changing the audio stream, so all full bit-rate MKV movies with default DTHD, DTS-HD played without audio. In fact you get a pop-up message telling you that the audio is not supported. If you accept, the video contiues without the audio, I would try with DLNA after and end up with the same error...
On the Samsung D-Series, it was possible to select another audio stream, but then the movie starts to stutter like mad...
Only MKV files made from makeMKV worked okay, the ones from MKVmerge simply didn't play...
The plex player in general does not support Video_TS folders...
I could go on and on...

One afternoon, I fired up the bedroom HTPC, did windows update, removed all programs, re-installed plex, XBMC and TMT5 fine tuned a bit and that was it.... everything was back to what it used to be...
The same weekend, I did the other two HTPCs and sanity came back into the house... the apple TV went back into it's carton box....

The HTPCs are staying put until further notice...

I am quite glad to see that I'm not the only one who couldn't get different transcoding software to work like I expected it to. I do keep eyeing the WD Live boxes as they are supposed to play back almost anything.

If you are wanting a media-centric experience and don't already have a htpc then I can see AppleTV, Roku etc. being very compelling. Someone going from a *real* htpc to one of these just seems silly and I hope they realize there mistake before going back to it is more of a challenge than just running windows update. Decreased tech support is the only benefit I can see... smile.gif

That being said I hope the OP is enjoying the new setup.
post #49 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekeiiy View Post

It just depends on what you wish to accomplish. Yes, quite a bit can be replaced by various set top boxes or other device such as Plex client, Netflix, and so forth. Heck, quite a bit can be replaced by an Android phone or tablet; I'm not up on iPhone and if you can hook it up to a HDTV.

Some things, can done, but just takes more. I find it's a lot easier for me to use all the various online broadband sports packages. The ones I subscribe to are NFL Game Pass, NBA Game Time, NHL Center Ice, MLB at Bat,, WatchESPN, and MotoGP. I use a VPN service to avoid blackouts. Not one STB allows me to use all them. I use my VPN on a STB; one PC limit at a time and I can't share it with other devices via internet sharing. On phones, I can't get as high of a bit rate compared to the PC.

Then there are other online streaming services such as Hulu Plus, BBC iPlayer and so forth. The PC is way easier to access all the video. Hulu is limited in it's Hulu Plus, which is for everything but the PC. A lot of devices, Hulu disables HDMI output that are mobile. iPlayer, need to have that UK IP which can be done on mobile or other devices, but that's dependent on the VPN; some other services such as TVCatchUP block certain ISP that are know to be used by VPN. I'm aware about the licensing issue and not arguing the use of a VPN. But like the sports, the resolution is limited on other devices compared to the PC.

Then there is the whole live TV and DVR playback. Most poeple can use their actual TV for live TV. Some people, like me, have TVs so old they can only use a analog signal. DVR playback is a another issue, especially with copyr once flag which reguires a media center certification if you use Media Center to do the actual recording. And a lot of the media centers are limited in what they'll play or what can be installed on them, which can limit stuff such as XBMC or Plex.

In the end, the PC is just a more robust machine. But they're more expensive. STB are way cheaper and can do a lot. But, it still doesn't eliminate the PC entirely either. Somewhere you need one or a NAS to do the DVR or store your media for XBMC or Plex. You definitely need one to either rip or download your media. It must may not be the one in the home theater, but rather sitting in the office.

It's not dead, it's just evolving.

My sincere appologies to the OP. I know that I am hijacking, and I am sorry.

Lovekeiiy, could you please provide some information about your VPN. I am ready to do NBA Game Time Broadband for next season but am concerned about the blackouts. PM is just fine.
post #50 of 159
The VAST majority of consumers are content with what their Cable Co gives them or what they can buy off the store shelf. We represent probably less then then 1/10 of one percent of media consumers. When people see my setup, and how I can select any movie from my collection, they are in awe. They want one too, but to make it run reliably and without trouble, it needs decent parts and somewhat difficult setup, and they don't want to go trough the hassle or the money investment. They don't want to run a server. They have Netflix sometimes, but not all. Roku maybe if they don't have an Xbox. The industry isn't out to get HTPC users. As long as you can buy a disc, there will be HTPC's
post #51 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carefreepastor View Post

My sincere appologies to the OP. I know that I am hijacking, and I am sorry.

Lovekeiiy, could you please provide some information about your VPN. I am ready to do NBA Game Time Broadband for next season but am concerned about the blackouts. PM is just fine.

No prob, it was one provocative thread to begin with biggrin.gif
post #52 of 159
Well just bought a smart TV and have to say it is a threat to HTPC's. Its got built in wifi and is super easy to set up, has a very easy to use menu for accessing netflix, and the controller even has a mini keyboard on the back. I think for most people this is going to be a much easier way to stream content to their entertainment center. I have a feeling that even though I have my HTPC hooked up to it I might end up using the built in netflix app and just use my HTPC for playing recorded TV and physical media.
post #53 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Well just bought a smart TV and have to say it is a threat to HTPC's. Its got built in wifi and is super easy to set up, has a very easy to use menu for accessing netflix, and the controller even has a mini keyboard on the back. I think for most people this is going to be a much easier way to stream content to their entertainment center. I have a feeling that even though I have my HTPC hooked up to it I might end up using the built in netflix app and just use my HTPC for playing recorded TV and physical media.

Streaming serves like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. will likely always be easier to use on Smart TV's than HTPCs. Those companies just don't make apps for HTPC's anymore, and most of the solutions besides the ancient WMC Netflix app are just hacks. HTPCs are far more suited for other things like watching your personal media.
post #54 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Streaming serves like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. will likely always be easier to use on Smart TV's than HTPCs. Those companies just don't make apps for HTPC's anymore, and most of the solutions besides the ancient WMC Netflix app are just hacks. HTPCs are far more suited for other things like watching your personal media.

Yeah, the way of the future, the way of the future is that we won't be using DVR's, live TV, or disc's. We will just be streaming everything. Hell, I even stream everything in my car.
post #55 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post

The ATV2 can't cope with full bitrate 1080p movies. (period)
Running plex on it is only good for DVD quality rips.
720p plays very well to be honest, but if you try to play a 38G MKV movie on a jail broken ATV2, it will hang barely after two minutes if it starts at all.

That has not been my experience, to be honest. I used the Media Player app from the jailbreak and played full bitrate rips without stuttering. Perhaps you are experiencing network issues and the stream can't send fast enough?
post #56 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PobjoySpecial View Post

A nice user experience. smile.gif

HP N40L w/ UnRAID (~$200 + OS + HDDs)
Raspberry Pi w/ RaspBMC (~$60)

Don't need Unraid at all, all my media is served thru USB HDDs attached to my routers and now to my new toy, Pogoplug 2 running ArchLinux, $16 shipped, 6TB file servers across the home network. Beats the hell out of dedicated Unraid box, and consumes just 4W.

Rasberry Pi is ridiculous. Any cheap Chinese Android stick can do what it can do and then a lot more plus hundreds of thousands of apps and games developed for Android.

All this not very related to the thread, I must say.
Edited by galileo2000 - 1/12/13 at 10:18am
post #57 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 View Post

Don't need Unraid at all, all my media is served thru USB HDDs attached to my routers and now to my new toy, Pogoplug 2 running ArchLinux, $16 shipped, 3TB file server across the home network. Beats the hell out of dedicated Unraid box, and consumes just 4W.

Rasberry Pi is ridiculous. Any cheap Chinese Android stick can do what it can do and then a lot more plus hundreds of thousands of apps and games developed for Android.

All this not very related to the thread, I must say.

The main reason people pony up for a software raid is for the parity drive. Having to re-rip a couple hundred dvd's doesn't sound like fun to me but to each there own... The bigger issue is if you store pictures or documents the extra protection is always appreciated(off-site backup is recommended also).

Not listening to your wife complain about lost pictures... Priceless...

Let's say you spent $400 on the hdd's. Spending $16 on the server is cheaping out a bit man.

Pogoplug is a cool option though. Unraid is free for up to 3 hdd's btw(don't remember there being a time limit).
post #58 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 View Post

Don't need Unraid at all, all my media is served thru USB HDDs attached to my routers and now to my new toy, Pogoplug 2 running ArchLinux, $16 shipped, 6TB file servers across the home network. Beats the hell out of dedicated Unraid box, and consumes just 4W.

Rasberry Pi is ridiculous. Any cheap Chinese Android stick can do what it can do and then a lot more plus hundreds of thousands of apps and games developed for Android.

All this not very related to the thread, I must say.

Yes unfortunately hard drives plugged into a router seem to be the preferred network attached storage for these streaming boxes. Sure wish it was easier to use a windows machine as your default DVR and media server.
post #59 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

The main reason people pony up for a software raid is for the parity drive. Having to re-rip a couple hundred dvd's doesn't sound like fun to me but to each there own... The bigger issue is if you store pictures or documents the extra protection is always appreciated(off-site backup is recommended also).

Not listening to your wife complain about lost pictures... Priceless...

Let's say you spent $400 on the hdd's. Spending $16 on the server is cheaping out a bit man.

Pogoplug is a cool option though. Unraid is free for up to 3 hdd's btw(don't remember there being a time limit).

Family photos should probably be backed up 3 times. Your original machine, an onsite backup(could be raid), and an online or offsite backup like karbonite or google drive. For me I've found the easiest way with my sloppy backup habits is just to use google drive as my default documents folder. But yeah for backing up your movie collection you are pretty much stuck with just backing up to another hard drive, I've solved the problem by not collecting movies. If I want to watch something from the past I'll just pull it up on amazon.
post #60 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Family photos should probably be backed up 3 times. Your original machine, an onsite backup(could be raid), and an online or offsite backup like karbonite or google drive. For me I've found the easiest way with my sloppy backup habits is just to use google drive as my default documents folder. But yeah for backing up your movie collection you are pretty much stuck with just backing up to another hard drive, I've solved the problem by not collecting movies. If I want to watch something from the past I'll just pull it up on amazon.

Yes that. biggrin.gif I have mine backed up like 7 times, on all my Android devices and PCs.
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