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HTPC front end software/GUI

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi, just got myself a new haswell HD5000 NUC for an HTPC and im doing some research on front-end software (eg. XMBC, MediaPortal, MediaBrowser, Jriver, etc).

Im wondering what people are using on their HTPC's as their front end media GUI?

I am intending to use MadVR and its scaling algos so am probably going to use MPC-HC as the player, but interested to know about front-end software that puts a nice GUI on my media library and hopefully works with MPC-HC.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 35
It's a personal choice for most people.

I myself use Windows Media Center with My Movies set to use MPC-HC.
post #3 of 35
Hi

After I have been using Mediaportal for the last 8 years, I have now moved to Jriver because of MADVR is build in to Jriver so it makes it very easy to use, it just works biggrin.gif. I have used Jriveer for about 1 month and I will not be going back to Mediaportal.

Best Regards Chewie1
post #4 of 35
Mediabrowser 3 theater also supports MADVR
post #5 of 35
Having tried the most popular HTPC front ends, I use JRiver.
post #6 of 35
Another +1 on JRiver.
post #7 of 35
You guys must be audio guys. Jriver is great for audio. I'm more a video guy I guess...
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

You guys must be audio guys. Jriver is great for audio. I'm more a video guy I guess...
I want to use my HTPC as primary source for both with no audio or video limitations. Seems to me at this point that JRiver is the best compromise, however, I'm open to suggestions. I want just playback: no recording, no TV etc.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

I want to use my HTPC as primary source for both with no audio or video limitations. Seems to me at this point that JRiver is the best compromise, however, I'm open to suggestions. I want just playback: no recording, no TV etc.

Well Jriver is best for audio quality - but it lacks the really slick eye candy of something like mediabrowser as a pure browser. Jriver is a good compromise if you want to do it all - There is music support for XBMC or MB too. Pick your poison.

There is no right or wrong answer.
post #10 of 35
This topic must have been posted 100 times in the past year alone.
post #11 of 35
True^

But still a valid question as things change
post #12 of 35
I'm a video guy. JRiver all the way for me. I am more into video quality, and organising my media than mere eye candy.After a few ahs and oohs, my guests and I would rather settle down to watch the show/movie than the eye candy. JRSS surround processing is fantastic too. If JRiver were to update their TheaterView to something slicker,.while remaining as functional, I wouldn't complain in any way. However, that's secondary to me compared to all the other things the software does.
post #13 of 35

I like "All My Movies".  Faster and easier to use with less clicks.

post #14 of 35

Having tried the most popular HTPC front ends.And Jriver is a good compromise if you want to do it all.

qP1gH


Edited by zookid80 - 11/20/13 at 8:35am
post #15 of 35
I started out on MediaBrowser 2, then went to XBMC and ended up on JRiver. I have OTA cable, hundreds of TV shows and movies on my server, and I also have plenty of music.

I liked MediaBrowser 2 fine for my movies and TV shows on my server but I didn't like the way it had it's music setup and when I got rid of cable and my cablecard, WMC became much less of a priority.

XBMC is a slick front end with some really cool features and it's built in player has some cool functionality. But it's setup for integrating TV was a pain in the ass and didn't always work. And if you want MadVR you have to use MPC-HC and I didn't feel like dealing with it. I also couldn't edit and tag my music easily so it meant I had to keep another program installed for doing that, I used Media Monkey. When I wanted to down sample some of my music to transfer it to my Sony Walkman, Media Monkey was going to make me pay $30 to do it so I went ahead and switched to JRiver.

JRiver lacks the front end eye candy and customization of the previous 2 options but it's still not bad looking and when you're scrolling through your movies all the fan art still pops up so you're not missing out on a ton. MadVR is built in so there is no losing functionality by installing it and setup is a breeze, so I was a big fan of that. OTA cable is easy to setup and the built in guide is solid. And what really makes it stand out is the different interfaces which comes in real handy with my music in particular. I installed it on my laptop and the standard view makes it super easy to organize, tag, and edit my music library. I can also sync my mp3 players and phone on it and even down sample so I can make my 24/192 flac files actually fit on an mp3 player. Then when I want to play it on the surround sound I can just pull it up on my HTPC with the 10 ft interface.

In order to do everything I was looking to do I went from 3 programs, to 2, and ended up with 1. I'm sacrificing some of the eye candy and customization but I can finally use my HTPC as a true media center without having to switch programs to do certain tasks. It sounds like MediaBrowser really stepped up their game with their 3rd edition so you really can't go wrong with any of them, it just depends on what you're looking for.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDiesel14 View Post

so you really can't go wrong with any of them, it just depends on what you're looking for.

+1. Best thing to do is just spend a bit of time and try each one for yourself, all are either free, or have a trial period.
After spending a few days with each you can make your own opinion, that's the only one that counts smile.gif
post #17 of 35

WMC + MB2.6.x + MCM + Homemade xml/nfo editor

 

I'll move to MBT when it's released and when I'm sure that I can still have control on how my media is managed and displayed as it is now in MB2.

post #18 of 35
You can (I have) install all 4 side by side. MB3 / PLEX / XBMC / Jriver will all live amongst each other without any issues. I have this now on my HTPC but wifey likes MB3. She will fight me if I change anything.. she loves how it works and also loves the Netflix application plugin. I can't mess with that or I will get kicked out.eek.gif

She hates when I mess around with MB theater or MadVR or start changing audio streams because I want the HD audio track etc... Drives her nuts. She does not care about such things. She just wants simple and good looking. I am a little different tongue.gif
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I am a little different tongue.gif
Tell us something we don't know. biggrin.gif


What does your better half like for control? Remote, wireless keyboard?
post #20 of 35

Another good reason to stay single then :D

 

Like I said, I'm still on MB2 and I will stay with it unless MBT can use my custom folder/dir scheme for my TV documentaries. Call me selfish, but I hate having to go online and create each and every one on TheTVdb, having to deal with all their limitations in size of images and redundant metadata fields. I applaud their effort but TheTVdb isn't really ideal when it comes to single episode tv show/documentary. I prefer to simply drop a simple xml file in the folder with a couple of jpg and be done with it.

 

 

PS: I'm a long time user of XBMC and Media Portal. Neither is perfect, even in their latest incarnation.

post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by BllDo View Post

Tell us something we don't know. biggrin.gif


What does your better half like for control? Remote, wireless keyboard?

She likes the remote. She hates having to change the audio output from AVR to TV to hear the sound through the living room Plasma (as opposed to the 7.1 sound through AVR in the theater) I have it run to both locations since my AVR has dual HDMI outputs. The 55" Plasma in the living room connect to the kitchen and I have an old HK AVR525 driving a Polk Audio soundbar on that. If you do not change the output from AVR to TV there is picture but no sound in the other room as the Denon I have only does one or the other- it won't run 7.1 and still output audio to the second location with the dual outputs.

I never bothered to try the multi room multi source approach. I just thought of that. I might do that this weekend.

I have a logitech remote that is programed with USB, plus I have a URC that is programmed on PC with CCP program. We have an IR repeater set up, and also the URC does RF. But she actually will grab the cheap Lenovo keyboard remote mouse thing I have and use that if it's laying around too. She uses that to open the media browser (I am not sure she understands the green button) lol...

She has her way that works so I try to just leave it be. I was happy just to get her away from cable and cancel that. I won't push my luck.
post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

You can (I have) install all 4 side by side. MB3 / PLEX / XBMC / Jriver will all live amongst each other without any issues. I have this now on my HTPC but wifey likes MB3. She will fight me if I change anything.. she loves how it works and also loves the Netflix application plugin. I can't mess with that or I will get kicked out.eek.gif

She hates when I mess around with MB theater or MadVR or start changing audio streams because I want the HD audio track etc... Drives her nuts. She does not care about such things. She just wants simple and good looking. I am a little different tongue.gif

So funny! and familiar...WAF is always a consideration with this stuff.

Think thats great advice running them all side by side and seeing which is best.

Does anyone remote in to control their HTPC or do you just plug in a keyboard and mouse when you want to do more than just watch/flip thru movies, etc?
post #23 of 35
I tried JRiver, XBMC, Plex and MB. I did not like the first two and am primarily using MBC now. I was using Plex for remote playback but now I am using MB Android app instead. I have always liked MB best and now it is even better.

As far as JRiver being the choice of audiophiles, why is that always said without any anecdotal evidence submitted?
post #24 of 35
You could try MeediOS as well. It has a ton of plugins and a madVR video player (shameless plug since I wrote it). The madVR plugin will automatically download, install, and keep the required codecs up to date.

Some screen shots:
http://www.meedios.com/EN/index.php?option=com_admirorgallery&view=layout&Itemid=96&AG_MK=0&AG_form_paginInitPages_0=1&AG_form_albumInitFolders_0=screenshots/Evolution%20Theme&AG_form_scrollTop=0&AG_form_scrollLeft=0&AG_MK=0

madVR screen shots:
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=167183
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by krma View Post

So funny! and familiar...WAF is always a consideration with this stuff.

Think thats great advice running them all side by side and seeing which is best.

Does anyone remote in to control their HTPC or do you just plug in a keyboard and mouse when you want to do more than just watch/flip thru movies, etc?

I remote in to both server and HTPC.

My server is whs 2011 and HTPC is x64 w7 pro

What I like about mediabrowser 3 is that I can browse on my cell phone my video library with my iPhone or tablet and then play it (send to HTPC to launch) on the tv. I do this often for my wife.. So I don't have to get up and go into the room and help her find something
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I tried JRiver, XBMC, Plex and MB. I did not like the first two and am primarily using MBC now. I was using Plex for remote playback but now I am using MB Android app instead. I have always liked MB best and now it is even better.

As far as JRiver being the choice of audiophiles, why is that always said without any anecdotal evidence submitted?

I've seen some evidence. The main thing is it bypasses windows normal audio rendering in favor of higher quality. I.e wasapi

It's also using higher sample rates and bit rates for overhead.

I personally can't tell much but in fairness I have below average hearing and modest components and consumer speakers (Polk audio, Denon AVR 3312). I'm planning on building soon a SEOS 12 build for speakers that should prove a nice upgrade.

The "audio" guys are just operating in a territory I don't want to go. But there is a bunch of them around here on AVS. I think the end results are all in line with your complete set up. No one is going to notice anything serious on their PC speakers through mobo analog outs... Lol.

Most of my music is mp3 anyways. Jriver dudes are usually doing flac or DVD audio.

On movies Jriver is not any better and I'm like 95% movies. I'd trade the audio for better video options and eye candy (and I do )
post #27 of 35
Ahh.. that is correct.

Isn't WASAPI available by using reclock though?
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Ahh.. that is correct.

Isn't WASAPI available by using reclock though?

For audio ? WIth high sample rates and flac ??? I am sure anything is possible but if I was an audio guy that cared about quality I'd just use Jriver who intelligently and neatly packaged it up all up for me. I'm probably more advanced than average guy at messing around with software configs and plug ins and players and stuff and I wouldn't want to mess around anymore than I have to do it.

I don't think the question is *if* you can achieve the same without Jriver, rather *why* would you want to bother ? I have a Jriver license but I choose not to use it. If I wanted or needed what it offers I wouldn't have a problem paying for it. The cost seems very reasonable to me for what it offers. I just basically only do 99% movies and almost no music. I do like the "red october" [madvr] but I do take the trouble to set that up on MB3T, and previously on MPC-HC /MB classic.

I know some XBMC guys do some stuff to get playback too. I think foobar was popular too.
post #29 of 35
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438027/mfusicks-how-to-build-an-affordable-30tb-flexraid-media-server-information-requested/2100_100#post_23983781

Posted some videos of MB3T "live backdrops" as an example. This is cool stuff, and has lots of potential. Basically all you do (or plugin does automatically) is create a folder called "backdrops" inside your video folders and they play behind the mediabrowser.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Ahh.. that is correct.

Isn't WASAPI available by using reclock though?
XBMC can use WASAPI as well.
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