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My wife will hate me if I setup my theater with a HTPC that she can't figure out. Is there a way to make it easy to use?
 

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TheaterTeK and a Pronto might to the trick from what I read about it. If you can hold her off a couple of weeks.


Mike
 

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bergie,


What type of set up do you have now, and what are you using to control it? Is you wife comfortable with your current setup?


IMHO the best way to control an HTPC is with a Pronto, using Girder and an IRMan. This gives you the most flexibility and control, and if you work at it you can get the interface to the point where it's just as easy to use as a traditional non-HTPC home theater.


The only downside is that creating custom UI's in Pronto and writing macros in Girder can be quite a bit of work. Fortunately, for popular applications you can probably find existing GXR's and CCF's that people have already done, which you should be able to use with little or no modification.


To get an idea of what I'm talking about, you could take a look at the AccessDTV interface available in the software section of my web page. I've also done a complete interface for the upcoming TheaterTek DVD player, which will be available shortly.


You might find the following websites useful:

Pronto: http://www.prontoedit.com/ and http://www.remotecentral.com

IRMan: http://www.evation.com/irman/index.html

Girder: http://www.girder.nl
 

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bergie,


I have WinDVD set on autoplay. My wife and kids insert the DVD and use the mouse right next to the PC to select audio and start the movie. Pretty simple and takes a few seconds only. Not really much different from navigating the initial DVD menu with a remote on a standard player.


This approach does not lend itself to multiple remote interactions, but we usually watch straight through anyway.
 

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As already stated a pronto and Girder can make a PC setup perfectly usable and button press functionality...


Combine that with a Talisman GUI (see the link in my Sig) to overlay windows and provide a non PC looking interface and she may never notice..
 

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I have never learned how to master Girder and programm my Marantz learning remote (have to do this one day :)), so I'm going an easy way: RF controlled trackball mouse sitting on the table next to my right hand.


If you want the easy setup with high WAF (wife acceptance factor), load only the minimum software and use TheterTek player. If you need a custom resolution, load Powerstrip 3 and set this resolution as a video card's default. Set the PS3 to lad automatically and apply the custom res upon startup. Then install the TT player and you are set.


When the HTPC is booted up the PS3 will start and apply resolution settings. Then, when you insert a DVD, the TT player will start automatically. All the features are accessible via the mouse control (well, almost all, but chances are that if you set the TT player correctly, you won't need to use the features that are accessible from the keyboard) and the DVD navigation will be a breeze.


Good luck,

Leszek.
 

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One way is to use your HTPC as a scaler only.


Buy a cheap TV card like WinTV and download DScaler. www.dscaler.com


Setup your PC so it's start DScaler at startup.


Use a cheap DVD player and let DScaler do is magic.


Your wife or kid just have to use the DVD player remote like with a regular TV.


You can use the winDVD when you watch a movie.:)


If you install a solid OS like win 2000 or win XP you can even let the PC run all the time.


Bruno
 

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I use a Pronto with Airboard keyboard commands. Top levels lets the wife and kids hit 'Play movie'; 'Listen to Music'; 'Watch TV'; and 'Theater OFF'


works great


ken
 

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I agree that showing someone once how it do it should allow them to insert a DVD and play. I do like the new PowerDVD's resume feature.


Funny question though, Is there an easy way to make a wife HTPC compatible?


ans. No, unless you upgrade :D
 

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I use a combination of Girder, IRman and Talisman to create an easy to use interface. Girder and IRman along with a learning remote serve for control whilst Talisman lets me create a nice non-PC looking visual interface to replace the Windows desktop. My receiver came with the learning remote and it already had buttons for CD, DVD, etc so I just mapped just buttons to Girder and the associated apps (MusicMatch, PowerDVD, ATI TV, etc). I can control the whole htpc from the remote without touching keyboard or mouse.


You can see my Talisman interface at www.digicasa.com.


In a testament to the success of my efforts, my girlfriend has said that my system is really easy to use. She uses it all the time. In fact when she went over to her sister's house once she couldn't get the DVD player to work (they have a non-HTPC setup) and said "why don't you just get a system like Lester's, it's so much easier to use!".


Cheers

Lester
 

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Having the dvd software autoload on disc insertion is a great way to do this... then it's just point and click like a dvd player (you do have a wireless pointing device - yes?)...


IRman looks great (esp at $35)... but does anyone know if there is a product like IRman that also xmits?


It would be really nice to allow pvr software and dscaler to control external tuners this way... sort of like an IRman with a cableye...
 
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