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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm at a crossroad: Go with the traditional component based home theater, or with an HTPC. After lots of reading you guys have convinced me of the superiority of HTPC in flexibility and PQ. There's just one little thing I can't figure out from the many threads and postings: WAF (=Wife Acceptance Factor).


What it boils down to is: How user-friendly can an HTPC be made? Can the software DVD player be made to work just like any hardware DVD player box? Complete with using a remote and LCD read-out showing what the thing is doing. Can the CD (or MP3) player be used with a remote and little LCD display without even switching on the big-screen TV? In short, can the whole thing look & feel similar to hardware, without having to go through Windows to start programs, select menus etc?


As I said, I've been reading through just about everything in this forum and know about Girder, IR-remotes, LCD read-outs. My question is how well these can be integrated with the software to make my wife accept this. I would be interested to hear how you're doing this, including hardware/software recommendations, and of course, what your wife thinks about your HTPC...


-Rob-
 

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I just wrote down few steps on "post it' and my girlfriend knows how to use it.


The point is not how difficult it is but how much they willing to learn new thing.


Actually, the steps are simple.

- Power on computer, AMp and monitor

- put the dvd in the DVD-rom

- the winDVD program will auto start up and play

- the control panel is just look like the general DVD player

- enjoy the movie



Good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
While it's of course always possible to just treat an HTPC as any other PC with a somewhat over-sized monitor that's not what I'm looking for. One of my uses would be to rip all my CDs to lossless MP3s and turn the thing in to a jukebox. But I don't want to have to switch on the TV just to start MP3 playback. There has to be a better way!


Similarly, moving a mouse around the screen to control a DVD player is not the way to go IMO. That's where people use a remote. Preferably such that all DVD functionality is controlled by remote, just like a hardware player.


There's a little more to it than that: Ideally one would want the same remote to also control the TV screen and receiver. So that pressing the "DVD" selection button selects the appropriate input on the receiver, and starts the right software. I suppose a regular learning remote should have no problem integrating that type of functionality in macros, but still, I've not done it and would like to hear from others how far they got with this.


I'm sure many are doing just that. I'm hoping to hear how it's done and, especially, what the limitations are (ie. what cannot be done in an HTPC to emulate regular hardware players).


-Rob-
 

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My fianceé loves our HTPC...We got a nice case, and everything is played

from it. So we have three things: BG808, Amp and a HTPC.



Nicholas
 

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I have an htpc hooked up to my Toshiba RPTV. I control the PC, the TV, my audio reciever and my sat reciever from a $40 RCA universal learning remote... a very simple remote with tactile buttons as opposed to a screen.


On the PC I use a PCTV pro remote reciever to control PowerDVD, Media Jukebox, Windows Explorer and the WinTV2k app for my Hauppauge pvr 250. I don't use girder since the PCTV remote app is configurable.


I've got two problems with my HTPC remote control system... Getting the focus on the right application for a particular button press (you won't have this problem if you use Girder) and figuring out how to power up the system from a remote.


So, yes, it is possible to control a pc via remote. It does take quite a bit of time to get it setup and working, or at least it has for me but I think it can be as user friendly as a regular component. Not as stable, but as user friendly.


I can't speak to the LCD feature... if I want to use something I do have to turn on the TV.


Al
 

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Hi,


For a quick and dirty remote control setup, try StreamZap at http://www.streamzap.com ....It is very automatic configuring and it is used with the HOLO3DGRAPH product. It has some predefined automation, so that it means it will control some software DVD players such as WinDVD right out of the box without manually configuring.


By the way, HOLO3DGrAPH is another, additional, wife-friendly method of running a Home Theater Computer ( More Info and Screenshots ). (Note -- I am the main software author of the HOLO3D user interface software. No mouse or keyboard required.)


There are a great many great HTPC configurations to choose from within this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Mark!

StreamZap does look like a good solution to improve WAF. Could someone give me a quick rundown how StreamZap compares to Girder? Seems both do about the same thing but not having used either I'm no expert.


Holo3DGraPH looks like a solid product! For my particular case I'm thinking the PC's internal DVD player instead of an external one, and my understanding is that Holo3DGraPH won't help with that, right?


-Rob-
 

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Girder is a software-only product that associates (& triggers) various events based on various input triggers.


The events can be simple OS commands (launching programs, setting focus) to keyboard input, to direct windows messaging parameters, to just about anything you can think of.


The triggers can be keystrokes, other Girder events, or (with the appropriate hardware), serial & IR signals.


Check out the site--it's really complex & flexible:

http://www.girder.nl


The StreamZap can work on its own or you can use a plugin to associate the StreamZap hardware with Girder. I do the latter...


Good luck,

Brad
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Rejhon
Note -- I am the main software author of the HOLO3D user interface software. No mouse or keyboard required.
Mark,


I was browsing the HOLO3D link you posted and discovered the aSimilatorâ„¢.


Do you know what the aSimilatorâ„¢ will price out at? Will it feature auto-switch (i.e., detect which input is hot and output via selected connector)? Release date?


Thanks,

Duffin
 

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Like Rop, I too am considering building a HTPC box, but the WAF UI has me stumped.


I want:

1) DVD player

2) MP3 Player

3) HDTV Tuner/PVR


I believe I can control 1&2 via StreamZap and Girder, but isn't just invoking the respected player window UI and then you navigate with the remote versus a mouse?


And it seams StreamZap cannot control an HDTV tuner/PVR card/application.


So, I can't get all into one program or UI for the wife?


Thanks for the advice!


Duffin
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mosquito
I think the HiDTV card is actually sold with the StreamZap remote. Check out www.pc-dtv.com
From the block diagram, it outputs to a VGA card, but if the VGA card has DVI, that would be active, correct?


Duffin
 

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It is worth considering using a laptop (you need to find one that has SPDIF out - there are a few). A laptop has high WAF as it looks nice and you can control it easily using the mouse and its built-in display.
 

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duffin,


You'll have to ask your questions to Immersive Inc. directly -- I don't work in the aSimiliator department.


Rop,


Yep, the HOLO3DGRAPH is designed to use external video sources such as a DVD player.
 
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