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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in over my head.


I have an HTPC which I built for my parents cottage. Love it. A few bugs here and there, but it's great for the most part.


Now I'm running in to problems.


1. I would like to be able to access this HTPC's media from another TV elsewhere in the cottage. To my understanding this would have to be done with either another HTPC or an Extender. The information on extenders these days is chaotic. My brother is pushing hard for Apple TV to do this, but I loathe the iTunes interface especially after having customized Media Browser so much. Does anyone have any suggestions or directions as to what I should be looking at here?


2. What's the current recommendations for distributed audio in a home? I do enjoy iTunes for controlling/organizing my music/podcasts.


Thanks for your time.


EDIT: Anybody know how to search a specific forum on AVSForum? I find the google search hits everything... yes, I'm an idiot.
 

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i use xbox 360s for this exact thing, works great! YOU just turn the 360 into an extender and everything you customized on the htpc is automatically changed on the 360 media center to how you have it. The interface is so easy my 8 year old can use it to access all of his movies and watch and record his shows he wants from his 360 in his room.


For music i use thew 360 music interface works well, you can use the tvs speakers or hook up a avr and get sound that way.


all in all very easy to do with the 360.


or just build a htpc client
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddysteddy8150
i use xbox 360s for this exact thing, works great! YOU just turn the 360 into an extender and everything you customized on the htpc is automatically changed on the 360 media center to how you have it. The interface is so easy my 8 year old can use it to access all of his movies and watch and record his shows he wants from his 360 in his room.
Did you have any trouble with codecs or containers? I've heard this tends to choke on mkv and the like.

Quote:
For music i use thew 360 music interface works well, you can use the tvs speakers or hook up a avr and get sound that way.
I'll have a look at this, but I'm loathe to leave iTunes after all the playlists and teaching of parents to use it.

Quote:
or just build a htpc client
Is the HTPC Client build covered in the build sticky? I'll have a look. If I can knock one out for less than the cost of an xbox, that may be the way to go.
 

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I've used a 360 as an extender. Its about average at best. Doesn't play a variety of different extensions (MKV's especially). Also, I've found it to be slow and choppy even hardwired to my server.


It seems the only the onthly thing it can do is very basic and specific functions. If you stick to those then its ok.


Personally I think it would be more worth it to save up and for another $100 or so just get a barebones system to install as an extender.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by redscare24 /forum/post/20826755


I've used a 360 as an extender. Its about average at best. Doesn't play a variety of different extensions (MKV's especially). Also, I've found it to be slow and choppy even hardwired to my server.


It seems the only the onthly thing it can do is very basic and specific functions. If you stick to those then its ok.


Personally I think it would be more worth it to save up and for another $100 or so just get a barebones system to install as an extender.

That's what it's looking like. It's unfortunate that nobody has filled the product gap here yet. I really don't want to have another large, intrusive HTPC at each set. I wonder how small and cheap I can make them. :/
 

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I run XBMC instead of WMC/Media Browser.


The good thing about this is XBMC is also able to be installed on the new Apple TV2's. I have one of these on each of my bedroom and computer room TV's.


The Apple Tv2's are small, silent, very energy efficient and only run $99 each.

They also have a native netflix app built in that works very well.


Apple TV2 with xbmc installed makes for a very nice inexpensive extender.
 

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I have two ideas for you:


1.

Rather than build your own system, have a look at one of the higher end atom nettops (asus, Lenovo). I think they work pretty well in Media Center (I've heard mixed results for Netflix though, as Silverlight doesn't really take advantage of the nvidia graphics). Advantages are size / space (you can tuck these away anywhere, or even use the VESA mount on the back of your TV to hide completely); they run about $300, and it's still a comp running windows, so you have all the flex that comes with that. The downside is speed. It's not a speedy system. But -- if you're priority is to act as an extender and not the host, I think it would do just fine.


2.

Jailbroken Apple TV. It's pretty easy to JB, and once you've done that the Apple TV will stream MKV's no problem. So you could do this and keep your itunes preservation for audio, and just share the video files from your HTPC. The biggest Pro I see with this is price - $99. Cons - it's obviously a limited system - no USB's, no local storage - you would still consider the HTPC the home of all your media. But, you'd add the ability to rent a movie on itunes, and netflix streams beautifully through ATV. Of course, you're now also talking about two different interfaces. I'm sure for you that's no problem, but for guests or parents or whomever, it's a consideration at least to mull over.
 

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Ive used the MKV container since I started using the 360 as an extender, mine works flawlessly. I use sharks007 codecs and it takes care of everything for me. I use makemkv to rip the movie pretty great setup and so easy to use. And media browser plugin as my front end.


As far as the music interface i find it better than itunes. And im not sure but i believe you can load the playlists into windows media player from itunes and it should work fine.
 

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Take a look at mediaportal. Or mythTV. Or nPVR. All of those have similar functionality to WMC, but can have multiple clients. XBMC can also have multiple clients, but doesn't come with pvr functionality. It all depends on what features are important to you.


I use SageTV, but you can't get it anymore thanks to Google.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You guys are all giving great replies... making decisions harder! :p


I really like the idea of the apple TV, but the change in interface bugs me... that said, with XBMC, I suppose I could get it looking pretty similar to Media Browser. It uses the same metadata from what I understand. Also as an all-in device, there's less to mess up with it. How does it decode stuff? Are the codecs loaded somehow when you jailbreak it?


The nettops are also worth considering...

Quote:
mediaportal. Or mythTV. Or nPVR
These are hardware? I'll do some digging.


Anybody have any idea where Google is going with set-top boxes with the Motorola thingy this week?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewSalter
You guys are all giving great replies... making decisions harder! :p


I really like the idea of the apple TV, but the change in interface bugs me... that said, with XBMC, I suppose I could get it looking pretty similar to Media Browser. It uses the same metadata from what I understand. Also as an all-in device, there's less to mess up with it. How does it decode stuff? Are the codecs loaded somehow when you jailbreak it?

?
An easier solution would be to load XBMC on your existing HTPC that you use now and then it will match the apple tv2's that you use for extenders in each room.

No codecs needed for xbmc....its built in player pretty much plays anything and everything.


An added bonus to the apple tv's is that they have built in wireless N and come with a simple to use remote.


Heres a video showing XBMC running on a apple tv2 with the default skin...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7DUByAlaEo
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan4081 /forum/post/20830631


An easier solution would be to load XBMC on your existing HTPC that you use now and then it will match the apple tv2's that you use for extenders in each room.

No codecs needed for xbmc....its built in player pretty much plays anything and everything.


An added bonus to the apple tv's is that they have built in wireless N and come with a simple to use remote.


Heres a video showing XBMC running on a apple tv2 with the default skin...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7DUByAlaEo

Well that looks badass.


Complex to do?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewSalter /forum/post/20830971


Well that looks badass.


Complex to do?

Not at all.


Its free so just load it on your existing PC to try it out.

If you like it then get some apple tv's and put it on those.


Get it here:
www.xbmc.org
 

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NPVR clients can also be loaded on PCs or supported Media Players.
 
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