Dumping Cable, need "DVR" alternative - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-01-2014, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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It has been years since I've been on this site, and I don't have much free time to do the research so I apologize in advance.

Basically I'm ready to dump cable (uverse) mostly because of cost, but I'm also on my 4th DVR in 5 years...

What I'd like to do is basically get/make a media center that can DVR OTA network shows, play back my movies (ripped and downloaded) and get played back on any of my 3 other TVs throughout the house.

I understand that besides my "main" media center that will probably live in the basement, I'll need some kind of client machines/boxes at each TV. My questions are, is there a good all in one hardware and software package, or am I better off building a machine with good video processing, a capture card, and a huge hard drive? What software would I get?

The second half of the puzzle is what do I use for the clients? As was mentioned I've done very little research, but would like to avoid Apple products as we are an android house and I prefer to keep that trend going if it matters. Every room in the house has Cat 5 run to it, so networking them back to the main media center is no problem. I'm willing to spend a bit to make this happen since I'll re-coop that cost by dropping cable.

To maybe complicate things more, I'd like all the clients to be able to access Netflix, amazon instant, etc as that's how I plan to supliment the missing cable shows we like now. Am I just crazy or can you guys help me out and at least point me in the right directions? Thanks!
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-01-2014, 09:33 PM
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Well for clients the WD SMP should fit all your needs. Refrubs on ebay now for $49. there is very little that can go wrong with these so odds are they are just returns from folks who couldn't set them up correctly.

There are several ways you can go with the server. XMBC is popular and there are several Linux based systems out there with a full compliment of software in the iso. That is the route I'd opt for if cost is a concern. Check out Flawless Server. There is also Playon which can have dvr capabilities and offers access to network streams as well as basic Hulu which is free. If you have decent OTA reception look at adding several tuner cards or look into silicon dust which offers a dual tuner unit that is network enabled. The WD units can also accept OTA tuners too.

Lots of options out there....
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-03-2014, 07:19 PM
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Sounds like there is a couple of things you are looking for.


I would use a plex server since XBMC clients do not work on some things that are not rooted like the iphone. 


I have had good luck with roku's for clients they seem to work better or a least make it easier to use. I also think Chromecast is a good option. Just make sure you get roku 3 there better then the other ones out there.


Lots of good information can be found on my site. 






You should also check out sickbeard  http://sickbeard.com and couchpotato.to . Those two programs can really make getting rid of cable easy. 


I would start with a Roku and add what you need then eliminate cable after a few months. 

Check out my website
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-08-2014, 04:28 AM
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Roku! For HTPC stuff just get Plex. Easy to configure and very nice. is offline  
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