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HTPC to replace my Dune media player?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have had fairly decent luck with media players and have tried a lot of them. They all have compromises and I'm sure it's no different with HTPC. However, there are files that sometimes play fine in VLC player or Media Player Classic after I rip them which don't play on my media players. I suspect this is a problem with Java, seamless branching of BluRay titles and other things. Most of my movie collection is full BD-ISO rips and MKV main movie only rips. I'm finding the MKV route to be much simpler to play on most devices so future rips will probably be of that type to keep it more simple. I tried streaming my movies from a Windows Home Server with mixed results. In the end the system became riddled with Windows errors and the operating system on WHS ruined the experience. I scrapped the WHS and went with unRaid in a large pre-built box that I purchased from a forum member here. I am streaming movies from that box to my Dune media player now and the experience is much more stable using unRaid. So, I have the storage portion handled with unRaid I think. Now I'm considering a very simple HTPC as a player and something like XBMC? I have no experience at all with XBMC but the look is what I want. I guess I'm wondering what I should purchase for hardware that would provide HDMI video with properly handled 1080p/24 as well as bitstreaming HD audio (TrueHD and DTS-MA) to my receiver. What type of software should I use to make this a seemless process and is there a relatively cheap option I can start off with?
post #2 of 7
A NUC would probably be your cheapest and best performing starting point. There's a couple of threads around about them. If you wanted, you could even run OpenELEC (a custom LINUX distribution with XBMC) and forego Windows to save some additional dollars. You can run it off of a USB drive or buy an mSATA SSD. USB would be the cheapest.

For a larger and more capable build, check out Assassin's guide stickied at the top of the board.
post #3 of 7
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1476070/htpc-nuc

A similar discussion that should have some of the info you want.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Interesting. So I could get something like this little box http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856102004 and istall openeluc on it with a thumb drive. Is openeluc just the cataloging software? What is actually playing the file?
post #5 of 7
XBMC is the playback software. OpenELEC is just the name of the custom Linux distribution built to run an XBMC unit and that's it -- basically turning your computer into a XBMC "box" and that is its primary, and really only, function. It's to allow your playback device to function more as an appliance, like a traditional piece of home theater gear, and less of a computer. You won't have the maintenance and overhead of running a full OS.

There are many OpenELEC supporters around here who can share more. Or you can check it out at:

http://openelec.tv
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polemides View Post

XBMC is the playback software. OpenELEC is just the name of the custom Linux distribution built to run an XBMC unit and that's it -- basically turning your computer into a XBMC "box" and that is its primary, and really only, function. It's to allow your playback device to function more as an appliance, like a traditional piece of home theater gear, and less of a computer. You won't have the maintenance and overhead of running a full OS.

There are many OpenELEC supporters around here who can share more. Or you can check it out at:

http://openelec.tv


Wow, sounds too good to be true. My wife loves how Netflix works on the XBOX so it sounds like this would be similar. Scroll through movie covers and just select the one you want to play. I would be all hard wired, no wireless. I use an SMB share off of my unRaid to my Dune and other media players currently. I guess I just assumed that I needed some sort of playback software like VLC or a front end software player to make this work. I just wonder if my full BD-ISO rips with HD audio would bring this little box to it's knees.
post #7 of 7
Not even close...you shouldn't have any problem playing back full 1080p even on the Celeron model running off of a USB drive. xneppo posted a demo in that other thread I posted the link to.

You'll have to check with someone more familiar with OpenELEC to see what the .ISO support is like. I have no experience with ISOs personally as I use folder structure.
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