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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I've been thinking about building a HTPC, but never having seen one in action I'm not really sure what to expect. I currently watch most of my TV via PlayOn streamed to the PS3.


Anyway, last night I connected my iMac to the TV to watch Lost. This meant using the web browser to navigate around ABC.com, choosing the right video, making it full screen, and then moving the cursor out of the way. Every time it came back from a commercial break the picture resized itself and I'd have to click the "full screen" button again. A few times we wanted to pause playback, which required hunting down the pause button and clicking it -- more difficult when using a wireless mouse than I expected. Any time we tried to play a short clip or interview it made us sit through a 30 second commercial -- even for a 30 second clip.


All in all, the picture quality was great but usability left a lot to be desired. Is this typical of a HTPC experience? I always sort of assumed that software would exist to scrape the TV networks' web sites and provide menu-driven access, but I'm not really sure if that exists. If you're not recording video for later playback, do you go about it like I did with a web browser and a mouse?
 

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Hulu Desktop and you're done. You can integrate an icon into Windows Media Center and it will launch it for you and bring you back when you're done. And your MCE remote will work with it as well.


On my HTPC I have the following which gets us 99% of all programming we got via DirecTV (other then live sports):


1) OTA HD recording via Windows Media Center's DVR interface. This covers the 4 big networks.

2) Hulu Desktop. Covers most cable shows from nets like USA and Syfy. Also can catch shows from NBC, Fox or ABC that you may have missed or need to catch up on.

3) Netflix Streaming. Built into WMC and this catches the rest of our cable shows like Leverage from TNT or syndicated shows like Legend of the Seeker.

4) Netflix Bluray/DVD. Covers everything else from movies to TV shows not available streamed. Got to wait an extra 6 months but I don't care, I'm not paying $80-$100 to a pay TV provider.


5) CBS has streaming built into WMC but just like you probably know from PlayOn not all their shows are available for full episodes. But we have used it a couple times when we missed something OTA due to our local station sucking so bad.


I do have Boxee installed and I see the potential of it but it is so very buggy (crashes all the time) we just don't use it unless there is no other choice to get something.
 

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The only reason I prefer using ABC or any other network over Hulu most of the time, is because the video resolution is much better than Hulu. I use Hulu from time to time ..only when necessary. Directly from the network.. yields better video quality IME.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joesyah /forum/post/18297227


The only reason I prefer using ABC or any other network over Hulu most of the time, is because the video resolution is much better than Hulu. I use Hulu from time to time ..only when necessary. Directly from the network.. yields better video quality IME.

+1 You can get considerable better PQ from the network site. if you got yourself a better wireless keyboard and mouse you wouldn't mind so much.


But streaming video is the pittance of what an htpc can do and pretty much ruins the experience for most of us, as everything else works so well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Originally Posted by gonzo90017 /forum/post/18299438


I recommend using Zinc instead. It gives you access to Hulu, ABC, Netflix, Comedy Central, etc. etc.. And it's available for Mac. http://zinc.tv/

Hey, I checked out Zinc and it is really cool. I think I don't really know yet what all a HTPC can do, but Zinc does exactly what I'm looking for now. Just a friendly interface to watch streaming Internet videos.


It's funny, a HTPC wasn't even on my radar; I was just doing research before building a NAS box, followed some links, and now I think I know what my next project will be. Anyway, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joesyah /forum/post/18297227


The only reason I prefer using ABC or any other network over Hulu most of the time, is because the video resolution is much better than Hulu. I use Hulu from time to time ..only when necessary. Directly from the network.. yields better video quality IME.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/18298438


+1 You can get considerable better PQ from the network site. if you got yourself a better wireless keyboard and mouse you wouldn't mind so much.


But streaming video is the pittance of what an htpc can do and pretty much ruins the experience for most of us, as everything else works so well.

Yeah... using the iMac with the TV was just an experiment to see what the experience would be like. The quality was great and there were no freezing issues like I've experienced with my PlayOn setup (which to be fair might be caused by the Playstation's DLNA software). It was just the user interface that was a pain. But the experience was good enough that now I want to look into what else a real HTPC can deliver. I'm sure there's a ton of good info on this site.



Thanks everyone, for all your feedback and information!
 
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