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Windows 8 OS for HTPC

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Anyone try or have a system running windows 8. If no what is the best one out there. Is Android a good OS for HTPC?

post #2 of 15
I looked into Windows 8 for a little while as a replacement for WIndows 7, because I wanted to use some of the apps available for Windows 8 (Hulu+, PRadio, Netlifx with 5.1 surround, etc...). However, after doing some research, very few of the apps are built for remotes. So to use Windows 8 apps effectively, you'll need to keep a mouse/keyboard handy. This kind of kills the whole "HTPC" concept for me, so I decided to stick with Windows 7, and am looking at integrating a Roku for all my online media streaming.

Windows 7 is pretty hard to beat, if you include one of the library navigations tools like MyMovies, MediaBrowser, or Plex into it.

There are plenty of people saying XBMC on linux is a great option, but I've never tried it, since I want CableCard compatibility.
post #3 of 15
Win8 works fine except for the need to have the Pro version and buy the Media Center add-on (if using a cablecard tuner or you just want WMC).

Where are you seeing Andriod as installable for a HTPC?
post #4 of 15
Microsoft is inviting people who expressed an interest in Windows 8 for an invitation only Windows 8.1 preview test program.

I am waiting to see what the improvement in 8.1 pro will be.
post #5 of 15
I use windows eight with Windows media center for my HTPC and it works perfectly fine. I use hippo lite app on my iphone to solve any need for a keyboard as my remote. I do have a K400 Logitech keyboard if I need to do any real work on the HTPC or just remote in.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

saw some on google  and i think that asrock has a mini pc that runs android.

post #7 of 15
Win 8 costs way too much for htpc. You need pro and then have to buy wmc. I would just buy win 7
post #8 of 15
Win8 is generally superior to Win7. But considering the cost and lower performance requirement by HTPC, Win7 may be the best choice.
post #9 of 15
If you do get Win8 then you will get the free upgrade this fall to 8.1. However, who knows what that will mean for WMC.
post #10 of 15
Agreed. For an HTPC, Windows 8 is too expensive and not remote control friendly, so is not even on the radar for many people here. I would also expect ZERO changes to the media/HTPC support in 8.1. MC will get no changes whatsoever. The only change in 8.1 worth mentioning is that you'll be able to boot to desktop, meaning the MC integration might be similar to 7, but that doesn't mean the option to 'run at start' and 'stay in front of other windows' will be re-instated in MC. I'm not holding out any hope.

My only outside hope is that, as most MC remote controls just emulate key-presses, and MS are also meant to be making Metro more keyboard/mouse friendly, maybe, just maybe, there's a chance that the remote control's might work a bit better, but it won't be intentional on MS's part. This might help with navigating Metro with a remote, but who knows.

8.1 is essentially MS's last chance for 8 to try and re-capture interest and boost sales. If it flops, then that'll be the end of it, but I'm sure they're already fast-tracking 9 just in case (minus MC this time of course)
post #11 of 15
Where did you read that Windows 9 will not have WMC in it?
post #12 of 15
I'm not sure what the strike against Win8 is with the remote control. It works the same as Win7 using a remote. The only difference is that Win8 has apps and remote controlling them is hit or miss. Win7 doesn't have apps so how can that be a negative against Win8?

Anyway, I stay in WMC and never bother with any apps. If I want to do something unique outside of WMC then I'll just use my laptop. Win8 was an improvement for me since it solved some sort of HDMI handshake issue I'd had with Win7. Also, I got Win8 Pro for $15 with WMC add-on for free.
post #13 of 15
Here is a link for more information on the Windows 8.1 preview: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Windows-8.1-Preview-Windows-Store-ISO-Dual-Boot,23227.html
8.1 can be installed on a separate existing dual boot partition, but the author concludes it is best to miss the preview and wait for the release. Read the article for information on media center issues.
post #14 of 15
I went ahead and upped to 8 from 7 mainly for the new Netflix app -- it adds surround-sound and better video bitrates (though my ISP, Roadrunner, will never get the co-lo enhanced HD, I'm sure). It supports the remote a bit (play/pause and arrows/enter), but I never really bothered setting up for WAF as I never achieved WAF for myself. biggrin.gif

On the whole, otherwise, Win8 "Modern" apps are garbage. I didn't bother with the Hulu app as it's Plus-only; instead I had the Hulu Desktop player installed w/ 7, and it still worked when upgrading (even though the Upgrade Advisor said it wouldn't).

So I don't really use the Start screen, as (since Vista) I pin my key apps to the Taskbar, and create taskbar groups for easier program access. There's still all the old "Start menu" shortcuts in a handy hidden folder in your user account that you can either make as a taskbar folder, or put a shortcut to. No need for a replacement program, though there are some decent ones.

Stardock's "Modern Mix" lets me run the Netflix app in a window, so I can side-by-side with a browser (I mainly use Chrome with NotScripts and Adblock). You'll need the latest Beta so the sound doesn't mute automatically when the app doesn't have focus.

Supposedly, Flash is "sandboxed" and "optimized" in IE10, so I set up pinned taskbar items for my usual streaming sites (Crunchyroll, Funi, Youtube). Aside from forgetting passwords occasionally, it works well for that.

I use the WMC add-on for DVR (w/ HDHomerun Prime + cablecard) and sometimes music (normally Pandora for that). I had bought ZoomPlayer a long time ago so I have that for misc downloaded/ripped video playback, though I've used MPC in the past and probably like that better for the remote support. I just have LAV installed for playback support (not the Shark pack).

I do a lot of windowed-video-plus-browser using a Bluetooth Logitech mouse (rarely need the keyboard except for config, the Accessibility keyboard helps for quick password entry when needed, and the extra buttons on the mouse and the remote can be assigned useful keystrokes). I don't rip discs, generally, so I don't really need a media browser solution; I just use the mouse in the filesystem a la desktop (but from my recliner, of course).

I did more config to ensure that defaults for various file formats totally avoid Modern apps and open in their desktop equiv. All of the normal classic Control Panel can be accessed via File Explorer, so you rarely need to access the Modern version. I made shortcuts to trigger Restart and Shutdown, but those are primarily for maintenance purposes as I always leave it on. The trick to autologin is the same as Win7, and setting up a System Event to open explorer.exe sends me straight to the desktop if I want (but since I cleaned up the Start screen to remove the annoying apps, I don't bother with that). I can navigate the Tiles fine with the remote, but I don't bother personally. Maybe someday if there are more worthwhile apps, but ModernMix allows me to pin those to the taskbar as well, so there's not much point. I can assign taskbar items to keystrokes and put those in my remote if I want, as well (haven't bothered yet).

On the whole I figure I didn't put in any more configuration time than I do for any Win7 installation (poking through gpedit, setting up taskbar folders, etc).

Upgrading directly from Win7 (after making a snapshot image, of course) was probably the biggest surprise, in that most everything I had installed (including tuner drivers) came across unmolested. Probably because 8 is basically 7 with "enhancements" (improved file copy, way better Task Manager). Aesthetically it's "meh"; I've made it even duller by using grays and blacks and muted colors since it's the media that is more important to me.

So it's obvious I use mine more like a desktop (though w/o a keyboard 98% of the time) and so what I did would be a barrier to those who need better WAF or want a more unified/slick look & feel. But Win8 isn't really a total disaster and there are plenty of ways to massage it to do what you want, though not necessarily the way you've always done things.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ok well i guess the vote is in for win 7.  Alright now here is another question ,can i run more than one media center on my pc.and can i make one of them launch on start up.

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