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Information Paralysis! Where to start? - Page 2

post #31 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post


I have multiple de-centralized DVR/HTPCs, and it's honestly not a big deal. I explained that all recordings should be scheduled from the living room, and they are

If you venture into Netflix, Hulu, and Sickbeard territory you really don't want/need the DVR as much anyway. It's mostly reserved for live tv with pause/rewind functions rather than a tv recordings warehouse. If you have a server, you'll prbably begin to focus more on getting high quality shows to the server (usually DVD/blu ray rips or the less savory sources) rather than scheduling a bunch of recordings on your DVR

So after doing more, and more reading, it seems like this might be the most logical solution:

Media server for movie, music ripping/storage. Game emulation storage here?
1st Main(HT) htpc w/DVR, tv tuner(s), and ample storage for recorded shows (wife has to have Bachelor(ette)). Streaming for Pandora, Netflix, Prime, Spotify, VUDU, etc. Internet access.
"client"(living/bedroom) htpcs in other rooms for media play back, DVR playback, streaming apps as mentioned, light web browsing/email and game emulation.

How does that sound? Reasoning, It could allow me to replace the Verizon gear sooner, allowing me to save money sooner. Doing that would allow me to snowball the savings into building a monster server.

This route will also allow for multiple "simple" remotes that the wife can use.

Is this a plausible setup??

BTW, I'd like to thank all of you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with me!!!!
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanco View Post

So after doing more, and more reading, it seems like this might be the most logical solution:

Media server for movie, music ripping/storage. Game emulation storage here?
1st Main(HT) htpc w/DVR, tv tuner(s), and ample storage for recorded shows (wife has to have Bachelor(ette)). Streaming for Pandora, Netflix, Prime, Spotify, VUDU, etc. Internet access.
"client"(living/bedroom) htpcs in other rooms for media play back, DVR playback, streaming apps as mentioned, light web browsing/email and game emulation.

How does that sound? Reasoning, It could allow me to replace the Verizon gear sooner, allowing me to save money sooner. Doing that would allow me to snowball the savings into building a monster server.

This route will also allow for multiple "simple" remotes that the wife can use.

Is this a plausible setup??

BTW, I'd like to thank all of you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with me!!!!

I understand the desire to rid yourself of verizon equipment and the dvr tax, but I'd advise an HTPC testbed first. Depending on your own personal requirements for simplicity, it could take anywhere from a day to a lifetime to get everything working "just right." I'll go ahead and admit that mine feels like the "lifetime" duration, but a some point long ago it reached a simplicity that could easily be explained to my wife, parents, extended family/friends, etc (even though I'm not 100% happy with everything still)

Starting with FiOS, you'll need a cablecard instead of the existing DVRs. It will cost an extra $2-$4 / month, but once you have everything setup and working you can return all the DVRs and STBs. I'd advise to pay extra for the cablecard as soon as you purchase (receive) your cablecard tuner. The cheapest network tuner ($/tuner) is the HDHomerun Prime at $140 (usually runs 130 or less during a good sale). The more appropriate choice for 3 HTPCs (or in the rare event that you plan to record lots of shows that air at the same time) might be the infinitv6 ethernet version. I think either networked version is preferable to the USB/PCI versions. http://www.amazon.com/SiliconDust-HDHomeRun-CableCard-3-Tuner-HDHR3-CC/dp/B004HKIB6E/ref=pd_cp_pc_0/187-4746847-1111608 http://www.amazon.com/Ceton-InfiniTV-ETH-6-channel-CableCARD/dp/B00CBXEKZ0 http://www.missingremote.com/review/ceton-infinitv6-ethernet


If you have any W7 machine (laptop or desktop) you can add the software and start playing around with WMC. I think XBMC is more appropriate for adding Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc through advanced launcher, but it's not entirely straightforward. Using WMC for those functions isn't 100% straightforward or guaranteed to always work either (with the exception of netflix being very straightforward). In any case you will probably have to play around with the menu options and determine how many steps you are going to be willing to let yourself and everyone live with to get around in the interface. I feel like everything should always be one step from the main menu, but that's not always easy to setup. XBMC is what I use and I launch WMC from within XBMC and exit back to it for TV Guide / Live TV / Recordings. Mediabrowser is also nice and already plugs into WMC. Mediabrowsers plugin is better IMO than the XBMC-integration tool, but I prefer to stay primarily in XBMC and exit only to WMCs Guide and Recorded TV sections. Pandora, Netflix, Prime, Spotify are going to take the longest and most trial and "proven in use" testing to determine if you are happy and can explain to everyone how to get to and use them. This is why I'd recommend starting with any W7 pc you may have before turning the whole household on its head (which may make for a short lived project)

Finally, NEITHER gamebrowser II for mediabrowser NOR rom collection browser for XBMC can scrape games over a network share (last I checked) although I believe the devs of both were working on the feature. You typically have to have games stored on each machine, but emulator packs really don't take up that much space. Someone who's followed either more closely feel free to correct me if they've updated and allow for network share scraping. This is also true of Steam/Origin/Ubisoft games which have to be installed on each machine in order to run. I only have one gaming machine, so it's not a huge consequence for me
post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

I'll start by saying youre in luck as a Verizon customer. Verizon and Comcast are the most lenient with the way they use DRM. That gives you some more options for getting recordings around your house. They could change that at any time, and your recordings would only play at the location they were recorded at, but I'll explain that in a second.

If you want to use the cable card since like I said Verizon is very permissive you can use a few different software packages - Windows Media Center, XBMC, J River, Media Portal are the ones that come to mind immediately. Likewise you can use any of those with an antenna.

All the streaming services you listed can be used on a computer, but for most of them you have to leave the media center interface to use them, or at the very least need a mouse/trackball/trackpad type remote to navigate them. I believe XBMC has done the most work getting these integrated but I dont use it. I use WMC and have Pandora, HBO Go, ESPN 3, and Xfinity on Demand running inside of it, but I need to use a remote that had mouse functions to navigate. If you want a traditional remote centric experience you will probably want to use a Roku or similar box for streaming media.

As for the different locations here are your options:
-use Windows Media Center. use one main pc and several official WMC extenders
-use any of the software packages and stick a pc at each tv.

pros of using extenders: recordings made on the main pc can be played anywhere. given that you have Verizon this is a non issue, but they could change their policy or you could be forced to switch providers. extenders are cheaper than pcs. they "share" a recording schedule meaning if you schedule the system to record CSI from your bedroom that scheduled recording will show up on all systems.

cons of extenders: they have lousy file compatibility. this is a non issue if you dont plan on ripping movies, but if you should decide to there are no extenders than can play back all common file formats. the Xbox 360 supports some streaming services, but you have to leave the DVR interface and also pay a monthly subscription to use them. The Ceton Echo doesnt support these (yet, I believe it is in development) and the discontinued extenders (which work very well for live tv) don't do streaming well if at all.

pros of multiple computers: more configurable. you can play all your media files. you can also do all the pc streaming services.

cons: you don't share recording schedules (at least in Windows Media Center. I think some of the other software packages can do this) meaning that each computer won't know that CSI is scheduled. this also will keep the recording from being centralized - each PC will store their own recordings. you can network them and access everything though.

as far as emulators, thats a definite possibility. I know it can be done with XBMC, and this is how my WMC set up looks with my emulators. when a game is selected it launches the emulator in full screen to play the game. i set two buttons on my controller to map to ALT and F4, which I press together to exit the emulator and go back into the game browser:



I like your game media displayed biggrin.gif
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

I understand the desire to rid yourself of verizon equipment and the dvr tax, but I'd advise an HTPC testbed first. Depending on your own personal requirements for simplicity, it could take anywhere from a day to a lifetime to get everything working "just right." I'll go ahead and admit that mine feels like the "lifetime" duration, but a some point long ago it reached a simplicity that could easily be explained to my wife, parents, extended family/friends, etc (even though I'm not 100% happy with everything still)

WOW is this SO true. I still am trying to get the kinks out of this thing. Seems like there are roadblocks every step of the way. ( i can't believe people don't care more that they can't fast forward MKVs).
I still look at things and don't see the WAF yet. But I have until Jan when the current commitment runs out with Fios. Then the money saved will carry a long way towards WAF.
post #35 of 35
Inside wmc only .wtv can be fast forwarded.

If you have mkvs that are direct DVD remuxes you can make wtv files out of those pretty easily.
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