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Noob HTPC'er - a little help please...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
First off i'll apologize that my questions are probably dumb ones. I've been doing a lot of reading but i just haven't found the right answers.

I bought a HTPC from craigslist. It's a home built job based on a PC that is several generations old, but all the components are recent enough to get the job done. The OS is Win7 and i'm running Windows Media Center. The HTPC has two tuner cards and I have an antenna in the attic. No cable. Internet via ethernet.

My questions have to do with accessing Netflix, Amazon Prime Streaming and Hulu Plus. There is a button that clicks right into Netflix - works great. I added a shortcut - found here on AVS Forum - for Amazon Prime. It clicks right into my account, but the PQ is horrible. If i back out of WMC and enter Amazon thru our Internet browser, log in, find the right show and then hit full screen, the PQ is very nice - it' just too cumbersome to get there… I haven't really pursued a shortcut for Hulu yet…

So, any advice on how to make this interface a bit more streamlined?

Thanks a ton!
post #2 of 5
I think you found one of the unfortunate realites of using an htpc, that being that streaming services don't have very good front end integration. They're all very laptop/keyboard and mouse centric. Netflix is the only one that was built to actually work in WMC. Even with its quirks it still is the best way to watch from the couch on a computer.

The plugin I saw last year for Amazon Prime looked amazing, but I thought I read that an update by Amazon broke it and the developer wasn't sure he could fix it? What kind of cpu and video processor do you have? Are you seeing "tearing" where it literally looks like the screen is being torn like a piece of paper, or is it a low bandwidth stream you are receiving?

For Hulu definitely find the Hulu Desktop software. They've discontinued carrying it on their site, but places like Softpedia and cNet still have it. No idea how much longer it will work if it isn't "officially" supported anymore. It is an .exe file that you will have to launch from inside WMC. There are a few ways to do it, but this site's solution is probably the most streamlined http://huluwmc.teknowebworks.com/

What kind of remote(s) are you using? If you have something wtih a trackpad/trackball you can actually open websites inside WMC. Internet Explorer is natively supported. Here is a forum post I made on how to do that a while back along with a link to more info http://www.avsforum.com/t/1436930/my-media-browser-and-arcsoft-tips-and-tweaks#post_22548696 You can download the files in that post to make Pandora work inside WMC. Amazon Prime can be done the same way. You might also need to download/update the WMC Flash Player. This used to happen automatically when Internet TV existed inside WMC - truth be told I don't know if this will actually work. I just came across it recently http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=165877&clcid=0x409 http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/1/5/215D0B65-18FB-4880-AFC9-F908CE40C12A/flashplayer.msi

You can also download a browser called Kylo that natively works inside WMC fairly well.

Assassin is an extremely knowledgable forum member who created some great guides to walk you through some of this stuff http://assassinhtpcblog.com/wmcplugins/
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great response! I have some homework to do and appreciate the links and the effort you took to respond.

My theater consists of a projector, AV receiver and bluray player. I decided the value was just not there to spend the money on cable TV so canned it and installed an antenna in the attic. The reason i went with a HTPC is really simple and twofold. One, I needed a device that would translate the OTA TV signals which is not built into the projector or AV receiver, and two, I also wanted to record/time shift TV programs.

Perhaps a way to skin this cat is to use the HTPC for TV viewing and then add something like a Roku for all my streaming stuff.

I'm using a universal remote - Logitech 650 - for the PJ, AV and BR player and the Windows Media Center remote for the HTPC.

More comments are sure welcome!
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

For Hulu definitely find the Hulu Desktop software. They've discontinued carrying it on their site, but places like Softpedia and cNet still have it. No idea how much longer it will work if it isn't "officially" supported anymore.

Thanks for that information. I just made a backup copy of my Hulu Desktop .exe file.

I never bothered to integrate Hulu Desktop into WMC7 because I don't use Hulu that often. Also I use a wireless keyboard to enter a program's name because I find that easier than using their virtual keyboard. Since I'm grabbing the keyboard I just use it to launch Hulu Desktop from the Windows desktop. After that I do use the WMC remote to pause, play, etc.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by aces-n-eights View Post

Perhaps a way to skin this cat is to use the HTPC for TV viewing and then add something like a Roku for all my streaming stuff.

 

I think that would be your best bet. I actually gave up trying to get it all through the PC after a while and just use my Xbox 360 for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.

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