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post #1 of 20 Old 03-20-2020, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Issues combining HTPC as a daily Driver?

I may need help with my plan if I'm not on the right path at all.

I was thinking I would build a MADVR HTPC. My current PC is a few years old, and about to the point I may just replace it anyway. I don't game much, but if I need to get a great video card, its definitely something I'm considering starting to do again here and there. As I go down that rabbit-hole, and I feel there's still a long way for me to go, I have gotten to thinking to combine everything into one box and have the HTPC as a VM on UnRAID, or maybe something else, and run some Dockers. Now, my initial plan is to have only 1 Win10 VM for MADVR, Gaming, and daily driver type stuff. I'm wondering if there's major downsides to this.

For instance, I've been looking at monitors and want to run a dual monitor setup at my computer desk, with a 30ft RUIPRO HDMI that is run to the Marantz. I was looking at buying one monitor soon as I'm working from home and working on a 32 inch tv looks kinda ****ty. I was thinking about getting a MSI Optix MPG341CQRV for now and later partnering it up with a 27" 4K UHD monitor. If I was gaming and not in the theatre I could game on the MSI and had have a 2nd monitor available, and in general like a dual setup. Then, I read for Netflix to stream 4k all monitors must be 4k capable. I don't really need netflix to stream to the theatre from the HTPC, as I have a ub820 and a shield, but Shield is limited in that it doesn't stream Atmos. Would other players execute the same way? Like VLC or any of the MadVR supported players, would they only support 4K playback if I only had 4k monitors connected?

Are there any other downsides to this? Am I thinking of this the wrong way?
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-21-2020, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcsauvag View Post
I may need help with my plan if I'm not on the right path at all.

I was thinking I would build a MADVR HTPC. My current PC is a few years old, and about to the point I may just replace it anyway. I don't game much, but if I need to get a great video card, its definitely something I'm considering starting to do again here and there. As I go down that rabbit-hole, and I feel there's still a long way for me to go, I have gotten to thinking to combine everything into one box and have the HTPC as a VM on UnRAID, or maybe something else, and run some Dockers. Now, my initial plan is to have only 1 Win10 VM for MADVR, Gaming, and daily driver type stuff. I'm wondering if there's major downsides to this.

For instance, I've been looking at monitors and want to run a dual monitor setup at my computer desk, with a 30ft RUIPRO HDMI that is run to the Marantz. I was looking at buying one monitor soon as I'm working from home and working on a 32 inch tv looks kinda ****ty. I was thinking about getting a MSI Optix MPG341CQRV for now and later partnering it up with a 27" 4K UHD monitor. If I was gaming and not in the theatre I could game on the MSI and had have a 2nd monitor available, and in general like a dual setup. Then, I read for Netflix to stream 4k all monitors must be 4k capable. I don't really need netflix to stream to the theatre from the HTPC, as I have a ub820 and a shield, but Shield is limited in that it doesn't stream Atmos. Would other players execute the same way? Like VLC or any of the MadVR supported players, would they only support 4K playback if I only had 4k monitors connected?

Are there any other downsides to this? Am I thinking of this the wrong way?
To be honest, trying to use your main PC as your HTPC isn't the most practical approach. I highly recommend having a separate PC for your personal use as well as a standalone HTPC. If your PC is only a few years old then you could easily repurpose it for use as a HTPC by simply upgrading the graphics card. If you use it for gaming then that's another issue entirely. I don't do any gaming so I can't address that issue. You should definitely upgrade the graphics card for gaming. Depending on what you have as a CPU, memory, and hard drive, you may need to beef those up as well. It all depends on what you plan to do with it.
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post #3 of 20 Old 03-21-2020, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rcsauvag View Post
I may need help with my plan if I'm not on the right path at all.

I was thinking I would build a MADVR HTPC. My current PC is a few years old, and about to the point I may just replace it anyway. I don't game much, but if I need to get a great video card, its definitely something I'm considering starting to do again here and there. As I go down that rabbit-hole, and I feel there's still a long way for me to go, I have gotten to thinking to combine everything into one box and have the HTPC as a VM on UnRAID, or maybe something else, and run some Dockers. Now, my initial plan is to have only 1 Win10 VM for MADVR, Gaming, and daily driver type stuff. I'm wondering if there's major downsides to this.

For instance, I've been looking at monitors and want to run a dual monitor setup at my computer desk, with a 30ft RUIPRO HDMI that is run to the Marantz. I was looking at buying one monitor soon as I'm working from home and working on a 32 inch tv looks kinda ****ty. I was thinking about getting a MSI Optix MPG341CQRV for now and later partnering it up with a 27" 4K UHD monitor. If I was gaming and not in the theatre I could game on the MSI and had have a 2nd monitor available, and in general like a dual setup. Then, I read for Netflix to stream 4k all monitors must be 4k capable. I don't really need netflix to stream to the theatre from the HTPC, as I have a ub820 and a shield, but Shield is limited in that it doesn't stream Atmos. Would other players execute the same way? Like VLC or any of the MadVR supported players, would they only support 4K playback if I only had 4k monitors connected?

Are there any other downsides to this? Am I thinking of this the wrong way?
I'd suggest either:
1) Use the old PC for unraid or whatever and build the new HTPC as a madVR / Gaming device
2) Don't bother with unraid at all or any VMs just install win10 and build a nice HTPC and add your storage.

Honestly, for a single machine use, I cant see the need for docker, VMs etc. Just build a PC.
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-21-2020, 12:26 PM
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I used a combo daily driver and HTPC for many years. It was fairly incident free. At max, I had three displays (two for myself and one to drive the A/V equipment). My video output was 1080p. Video drivers were the biggest pain point. My windows getting rearranged occasionally or updates breaking things.


It was worth it to me to share the nice video card between gaming and madVR. If you go down the path of lots of VMs, 4k streaming, and complexity; I imagine you're just asking for headaches.
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post #5 of 20 Old 03-21-2020, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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First I'm glad both of you posted. Both of you, along with a few others, are the primarily motivation I have for being interested in MadVR! I think that's good.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
To be honest, trying to use your main PC as your HTPC isn't the most practical approach. I highly recommend having a separate PC for your personal use as well as a standalone HTPC. If your PC is only a few years old then you could easily repurpose it for use as a HTPC by simply upgrading the graphics card. If you use it for gaming then that's another issue entirely. I don't do any gaming so I can't address that issue. You should definitely upgrade the graphics card for gaming. Depending on what you have as a CPU, memory, and hard drive, you may need to beef those up as well. It all depends on what you plan to do with it.
It makes me wonder why though? I mean other than my Netflix/mixing monitor resolution examples what are some other downfalls of this?

I was previously thinking that my motherboard wouldn't support the newer cards, but I was wrong. This could be an option. My issue with this is if I'm spending $1500 for a video card it'd be better to justify that purchase with multi-tasking it for gaming if I so decide. My current play is to pickup a 2070 to start looking at MadVR, but to look at the 3000 series possibly coming out later in the year.

My CPU is a AMD Phenom II 6 core. My Ram is 8GB DDR3 1333. Hard drive I have a few TB's but was looking at getting some advice from you at some point about the best way to a large Data solution. If I begin ripping my discs, I estimate I have near 20 TB's now, and with the Theatre in a usable state now I've been buying discs again as opposed to renting so I've been buy 1-2 a week. I have saved another thread where you were giving someone advice about a picking up a used Micro Station.

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Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
I'd suggest either:
1) Use the old PC for unraid or whatever and build the new HTPC as a madVR / Gaming device
2) Don't bother with unraid at all or any VMs just install win10 and build a nice HTPC and add your storage.

Honestly, for a single machine use, I cant see the need for docker, VMs etc. Just build a PC.
Unraid came in initially as a storage solution. The docker idea came about as Pihole seems pretty helpful, and for non-theatre area's I can run Plex in a docker. I'd also like to see what else is out there, I'd be very interested in setting up like a software firewall or something. Previously, my idea was going to be new build, then some type of storage solution, but with Unraid I could combine them all to the same box. I could run the PC as a VM and passthrough the GPU direct to the VM.
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-21-2020, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I used a combo daily driver and HTPC for many years. It was fairly incident free. At max, I had three displays (two for myself and one to drive the A/V equipment). My video output was 1080p. Video drivers were the biggest pain point. My windows getting rearranged occasionally or updates breaking things.


It was worth it to me to share the nice video card between gaming and madVR. If you go down the path of lots of VMs, 4k streaming, and complexity; I imagine you're just asking for headaches.
What is your setup now?
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post #7 of 20 Old 03-21-2020, 12:36 PM
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I transplanted the computer components from a tower case to an HTPC case. It's now installed in my A/V rack. My laptop is just as powerful for everything besides gaming. I don't have much time for that these days and just use the Switch when I do.
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-23-2020, 07:04 AM
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I did this for a while, it got annoying and when I got some cash I built a stand alone HTPC.

If it's just you, and you don't mind using a keyboard/mouse it might be alright.

But with multiple monitors it can be difficult to use the HTPC like an appliance with a remote. For instance opening something like Kodi and then it opens on the wrong screen. So you have to get up and fiddle with it, drag it to the main screen.

Or maybe you have to turn the monitors off every time.

Also I have kids so if I wanted to use the PC and they wanted to watch something it was a no go.

A 2070 is great for madvr you don't need to spend $1500 on a GPU.
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post #9 of 20 Old 03-23-2020, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I know I don't *HAVE to spend that much to get everything going, but if I could dual-purpose the box then I am saving some money their. Also, I read some cards have troubles with Highlight recovery and 60fps movies ( I don't need to buy a card based on 1 disc that I don't really want to see that movie strongly anyway).

My original plan was to just have wireless Keyboard/mouse and move it back and forth between the theatre and office, which would be right outside the theatre. Maybe I should rethink that as I do have a C4 system, and I guess that could get old after awhile.

Currently, just my wife and I but kids will be coming, probably. My thinking was that by the time they would be old enough to start using either on their own it'd be 4-6 years in the future and then I could build a separate machine if I had to.

With multiple monitors, how does the players know resolution to play? If I had a 2K monitor mixed with a 4K, and my NX7, would I run into issues trying to play 4K HDR files? It seems with Netflix I would be unable to, not sure about ripped discs. I suppose I could avoid this pitfall by just going with all 4k monitors, but would still have other issues mentioned.

After reading the responses here I am rethinking my approach. I'm still pretty early on in my planning.
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post #10 of 20 Old 03-23-2020, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rcsauvag View Post
Yeah I know I don't *HAVE to spend that much to get everything going, but if I could dual-purpose the box then I am saving some money their. Also, I read some cards have troubles with Highlight recovery and 60fps movies ( I don't need to buy a card based on 1 disc that I don't really want to see that movie strongly anyway).

My original plan was to just have wireless Keyboard/mouse and move it back and forth between the theatre and office, which would be right outside the theatre. Maybe I should rethink that as I do have a C4 system, and I guess that could get old after awhile.

Currently, just my wife and I but kids will be coming, probably. My thinking was that by the time they would be old enough to start using either on their own it'd be 4-6 years in the future and then I could build a separate machine if I had to.

With multiple monitors, how does the players know resolution to play? If I had a 2K monitor mixed with a 4K, and my NX7, would I run into issues trying to play 4K HDR files? It seems with Netflix I would be unable to, not sure about ripped discs. I suppose I could avoid this pitfall by just going with all 4k monitors, but would still have other issues mentioned.

After reading the responses here I am rethinking my approach. I'm still pretty early on in my planning.
Haven't tried myself but have read about people having a 4k TV in HDR with an SDR monitor being a lesser resolution and them working together.

If you can get the app to open on the proper monitor then it should use that resolution, issues arise when one monitor is off, or doesn't wake up fast enough, or windows
just decides to open an app in a different window. It can work for sure, but I would anticipate some hiccups.
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post #11 of 20 Old 03-23-2020, 09:26 AM
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First I'm glad both of you posted. Both of you, along with a few others, are the primarily motivation I have for being interested in MadVR! I think that's good.....

It makes me wonder why though? I mean other than my Netflix/mixing monitor resolution examples what are some other downfalls of this?
Having a standalone HTPC is mostly a matter of convenience. You can certainly set something up in a single PC to use it for recording TV shows or playing back all of your media as well as using it as a desktop PC. You can also use it for storage if you have the space. The real question is why would you want to do that? PCs pretty much suck as streaming devices. You're better off using a Roku or a Nvidia Shield. I also have an unRAID server that runs Plex so I can stream content from the server to my Nvidia Shields as well as content from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney Plus.

I have a Windows 7 HTPC with WMC in my home theater setup that I use primarily for recording and watching live TV. A also have a Windows 10 HTPC with JRiver Media Center for playback of TV shows, Blu-Ray movies and 4k content as well as my music library streamed from my server. I have standalone Intel NUC HTPCs that run Windows 7 with WMC for watching live TV on various TVs throughout my house.

Quote:
Unraid came in initially as a storage solution. The docker idea came about as Pihole seems pretty helpful, and for non-theatre area's I can run Plex in a docker. I'd also like to see what else is out there, I'd be very interested in setting up like a software firewall or something. Previously, my idea was going to be new build, then some type of storage solution, but with Unraid I could combine them all to the same box. I could run the PC as a VM and passthrough the GPU direct to the VM.
I have a standalone unRAID server that currently has 163 TB of storage. Clearly that would not fit inside the same case being used as a HTPC or desktop PC. The point about having separate PCs for use as a desktop computer, HTPC, or server is that it allows you absolute freedom to do whatever you want, not to mention that it's far less complex than trying to run everything from a single box using VMs and dockers and such. It's going to cost you more for the additional hardware, but servers and HTPCs don't require a lot of horsepower to operate. You can pick up used PCs dirt cheap to use as an unRAID server. You could easily repurpose your existing desktop as a HTPC and just get a new desktop PC.

The main component you should be concerned with in a HTPC is a graphics card. You could use your HTPC as a gaming platform and kill two birds with one stone since you would also need a better graphics card for gaming. Probably the main thing you need in a server is ample memory and enough SATA ports for all of the hard drives you require. A desktop PC can be configured based on what you need to do with it.

You have lots of options available. You don't need to jump in with both feet right off the bat but rather upgrade as your budget allows. My server started off as a simple unRAID box with just a few hard drives. I have upgraded it numerous times over the years to the configuration that I have today, and I'm still not done. Hard drives die and need to be replaced every once in a while and I keep several on hand already pre-cleared in case I need to use them.
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post #12 of 20 Old 03-23-2020, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Having a standalone HTPC is mostly a matter of convenience. You can certainly set something up in a single PC to use it for recording TV shows or playing back all of your media as well as using it as a desktop PC. You can also use it for storage if you have the space. The real question is why would you want to do that? PCs pretty much suck as streaming devices. You're better off using a Roku or a Nvidia Shield. I also have an unRAID server that runs Plex so I can stream content from the server to my Nvidia Shields as well as content from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney Plus.
I do have a Shield and a Roku in another room. BUT the Shield I think is limited with Netflix as it doesn't support Atmos, I beleive. I think through the browser you can stream HDR and Atmos. There are also some apps that are only supported on some platforms, but can be streamed through a browser. In this case, if there wasn't a Shield/Android app for it I may be able to Cast it through my phone.
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Quote:
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I do have a Shield and a Roku in another room. BUT the Shield I think is limited with Netflix as it doesn't support Atmos, I beleive. I think through the browser you can stream HDR and Atmos. There are also some apps that are only supported on some platforms, but can be streamed through a browser. In this case, if there wasn't a Shield/Android app for it I may be able to Cast it through my phone.
Netflix can stream 4K HDR if you have their Ultra Premium Plan. They also have some Atmos content for streaming, but it's a limited selection. You have to set the streaming quality to High or Auto.

https://hd-report.com/list-of-4k-ult...ws-on-netflix/
https://help.netflix.com/en/node/64066

The latest model of the Shield supports Dolby Atmos from Netflix and also does HDR. I picked one up a few months ago and it works great. The new remote is much better than the original model and worth the upgrade.

https://www.techhive.com/article/344...-features.html

If you have an older Shield you can upgrade it to get HDR streaming:

https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/26/ex...hdr-streaming/
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post #14 of 20 Old 03-23-2020, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I have the 2017 Shield. I was able to stream HDR, but I believe I am unable to stream Atmos through the Shield.
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I have the 2017 Shield. I was able to stream HDR, but I believe I am unable to stream Atmos through the Shield.
For local media you can, for Netflix you cannot.

In my personal opinion HTPC's are nice for local media, and terrible for any streaming service. I mean if you don't mind having a keyboard and surfing from the couch it can work. But PC's aren't really great when it comes to the streaming services using a remote, they just aren't built for that. But you can definitely do it.

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In my personal opinion HTPC's are nice for local media, and terrible for any streaming service. I mean if you don't mind having a keyboard and surfing from the couch it can work. But PC's aren't really great when it comes to the streaming services using a remote, they just aren't built for that. But you can definitely do it.

Agreed on streaming vs local media. Things worked for me since I was focused on the latter. I had JRiver dedicated to the appropriate screen and controllable through my Harmony remote. That cleans up a lot of the issues you've mentioned. However, it was definitely additional work that just isn't required with a dedicated streaming box. Was worth it to me to share a $500 video card.
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post #17 of 20 Old 03-25-2020, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Agreed on streaming vs local media. Things worked for me since I was focused on the latter. I had JRiver dedicated to the appropriate screen and controllable through my Harmony remote. That cleans up a lot of the issues you've mentioned. However, it was definitely additional work that just isn't required with a dedicated streaming box. Was worth it to me to share a $500 video card.
And this seems like a similar boat I am in.
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For local media you can, for Netflix you cannot.

In my personal opinion HTPC's are nice for local media, and terrible for any streaming service. I mean if you don't mind having a keyboard and surfing from the couch it can work. But PC's aren't really great when it comes to the streaming services using a remote, they just aren't built for that. But you can definitely do it.
The PC *is* built for that. It's the provider's apps that aren't.

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post #19 of 20 Old 03-25-2020, 10:44 AM
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The PC *is* built for that. It's the provider's apps that aren't.
Yes correct the PC could handle it. But still a PC is an all around device. It does a lot of things well, some things ok.

I stuck to my guns for a long time avoiding streaming boxes because I thought HTPC's were superior, but the simplicity of a device that
is built to do a single thing is actually pretty nice (thinking Nvidia Shield here). I still have a nice HTPC but there are certain things I wouldn't
bother trying to do on it unless I had to.

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post #20 of 20 Old 03-25-2020, 09:14 PM
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Blame paranoia from media companies. Is what it is, but seems silly when it's not slowing down the pirates.
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