Originally Posted by steelman1991
XBMC is equally as snappy, if not more so - but don't let your petty predjudice of XBMC get in the way of reason.
Try both, they are free and both have their strengths and weaknesses. In fact I'm happy to throw a third - Media Portal - into the mix, again free so easy to try.
I have both XBMC and MB3 installed on my desktop. I'd be happy to youtube a video from desktop launch to file navigation of the same 3 movies and a TV show all files located in different categories and folders.
MB3 is faster once you suffer the "scan/update" process of the MB3 server program (that takes a while).
You can add PLEX into the mix too- if you want to make it a 4 way dance.
I do not think speed is a major reason why people choose one or the other at all; My guess the reasons are:
#0.) Desire to be inside WMC or outside it (I made this zero because it's the first fork in the road)
#1.) Personal Bias/ Comfort Level / Tendency to like what you have (what you use now, or started on first)
#2.) Fear of "learning curve" and set up of another - it takes a while and some growing to really get the most out of a front end. Most stop short of this when they try something else second. As a result the current remains the #1.
#3.) Wanting transcoding or ability to stream/upload/watch when away from home and commonality across all platforms (PLEX and MB3)
The main reason why people choose MB3 Classic or MB2 has been to remain inside WMC and retain the TV DVR support, and WMC centric experience to HTPC. The main reason why people like XBMC was to remain outside WMC, or not be tied to it (and MS).
If you want to be in WMC the best option is to use MB2 or Classic, or set up integration to PLEX and XBMC so you can navigate back and forth.
MB3 Theater should change all that up because it should offer it all- The common MB3 platform that support ROKU, LINUX, MS, iOS, Android, WMC, and outside WMC. It should offer trans coding, streaming online when away- remote launch- and also support MADVR and advanced video rendering.
Currently I see it like this:
XBMC = Great for those that want to be outside WMC. Easy to use, looks and works great. Lacks transcoding, online streaming when away, and the general dual program advantage like MB3 or PLEX that use a "server" program that can feed multiple devices and OSes. Can take more advanced work around to get live TV and DVR perfect.
MB2 : Can stay inside WMC, looks and works great. Can't transcode, or stream. No server client either. (or required)
PLEX: Basically XBMC with the "server" added side so you can transcode, stream online when away and also has support for android, iOS, etc... Not inside WMC
MB3 Classic : MB2 basically with the "server" side added for a common solution across platforms and devices like PLEX. Adds the "server" functionality of advanced control, transcode, and online stream when away. Still stuck inside WMC
MB3 Theater: All the advantages of the dual server and client, and MB3 platform advantages but not inside WMC. Integrated player can support MADVR with advanced rendering for better PQ. Also has some new features (can't say all yet since not released, but live video backdrops is pretty cool in the beta
It's not as much as one solutions is better than another- but more about how they are different and which solutions are important to which users.
They all have the good and bad about them.
If you have a "media server" and an advanced set up where you have multiple devices you likely would enjoy a "server" and "front end client" dual approach as it's speedier and has some major advantages. You can install the "server" on your server and it can do some of the heavy lifting so your "front end" on your device has less to do and works smoother and better. This approach also allows for clever automation and remote control options- and transcoding on the fly or remote streaming. This is important to someone who has a large media server, a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, and a dedicated HTPC I would guess as it really improved the experience.
If you have a single machine HTPC with all storage located inside (no media server) and you only care about that machine you likely don't need or like the dual approach and prefer either MB2 or XBMC traditionally depending on if you are inside or outside WMC.
For someone that has a single machine, mostly just download movies and wants to browse them stored locally on the machine XBMC has long had the main adoption for this purpose traditionally. While MB has long had the main adoption among WMC users.
Today the landscape is all cloudy- with all sorts of new devices popping up. Some people are looking for solutions to just more than a local HTPC single machine. Choosing a front end today now accounts for more than just your HTPC. Some people have many HTPC's, or have devices like ROKU and tablets or Jailbroken AppleTV's, Google TV's... really all sorts of stuff.
It's not as easy as XBMC vs MB like before.
back to the OP point,
In terms of speed I would imagine a server client program approach is going to remain the fastest over a larger library for a variety reasons, but it's really going to come down to your hardware and set up. For me- my server runs the "server" programs great- and I have generally fast HDD's in my server so the local performance is greater than the performance over LAN- so I notice that the MB3 runs better than MB2 or XBMC did once I got the set up right. I attribute this to the server side doing a little more of the lifting on that side - and if you have a limited power streamer box or a limited LAN connection you would appreciate that approach on a large collection.
Originally Posted by lukemb
We (MB) have a brand new architecture and as a result, everything is pretty fast, and designed for performance.In other words, we're obsessed with speed.
I can second this. +1. Having been on the MB3 DEV area I can attest that this is a significant aspect of conversation and goals. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but certainly speed is a major area of concentration and importance.
Sometimes it's just hard to make something rip quickly through many TB's of information very fast without using much power