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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have 3 desktop PCs - a home server that is always on and currently streams movies and music, is a https & ftp-ssl server, print server and holds the backups for the 3 desktops & 2 laptops. This machine is skt775 machine w/ currently a dual core CPU, but I have a qx6700 I can put in it if necessary and has 2GB of but I have a 4GB kit if needed.


Machine 2 is skt1155 i5-2500K w/ 8GB ram, gtx560ti gpu, basically my main machine.


Machine is a AM2+ 5000, w/ 2GB ram if memory serves me w/ a small ssd connected to the 720p LCD TV . This machine is strictly for streaming.


There is also a xbox360 & ps3, both on copper.


Network is 1GbE for the the desktops and a/b/g/n for the laptops, phone and an iPad 2. The phones are android, iPad is 7.x and the computers are running some flavor of Win7, Pro or higher.


My goal - GET RID OF THE CABLE TV!!!


I have 30Mb internet connection and would like to swap over to a regular antenna, whatever comes out of the wall once we terminate cable, Netflix, Hulu Plus and whatever else is available as the cable keeps creeping and it is getting old.


Now the hurdle is that it has to be as easy as the current cable dvr for my wife. I will also probably be moving to 1080p LCD but not any time soon as I am constrained to 42-50" max.


I have read quite a few setup guides but the #1 priority is to keep it simple for my wife and I have not really found one that fits my needs.


Since the home server is already on 24/7, I would like to, if possible keep that the back end and add 1 or 2 2TB hdds in a non raid setup.


I have also read that XBMC can be remotely controlled from android and I think iOS phones & tablets.


I also have read about the scheduling program for $25/yr.


I am not stuck with any "ways it has to be" and I another machine needs to be on, so be it.


Could I please get your suggestions on software, any hardware suggestions are welcome and can it all be controlled from 1 remote, either through XBMC or something else, I am open to any ideas as I figure I will recoup any purchases in 6mos or less and probably have better quality a/v as another bonus.


Thanks for taking the time to assist me and just to clarify, I just want to stream to the 1 computer (amd one) and not the phones, iPad, 360 & ps3, unless of course one of the console would be easier. I have a background in many aspects of computers for about the last 20yrs, so I am not afraid to tackle the not so easy configurations.


Bob332
 

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I guess I can at least get the ball rolling. XBMC and Bluecop is probably your best bet at the moment. I don't think you need any new PC hardware for that. If you want to replace your client computer with something smaller and simpler, I've used Raspberry Pi ($35), but there are better, albeit more expensive, options.


For max WAF, I'd stick with real IR remotes like she's accustomed to rather than phone/tablet remote apps. To do that, simply get an MCE or Ortek dongle (~$12 most places). You can still use apps as well, if you prefer. My goal with my HTPC system was to make it look and work like my old satellite DVR, which I was able to accomplish simply by sticking with IR remotes. Unlike you, I kept cable, mainly because I can't stand Hulu. But having cable card keeps my costs as low as possible.


That said, I don't think it's possible to drop cable and replace it with an equivalent, easy to use system. But making your wife aware of the cost savings should help her tolerate the changes a bit more. I tried and failed to drop cable altogether, mostly because I have 3 other people to keep happy rather than just one. I'll probably give it another shot in a few more years.
 

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I would suggest that you gradually migrate to over the air TV by adding a Silicon Image hdhomerun to your router and an antenna connected to the hdhomerun. Start there using windows media center and see if you like it.


I also use Netflix which can be accessed through windows media center. However, I use an old PS3 to access Netflix for better quality and a harmony remote which switched the AVR and TV inputs. You may need an intensive wife education program with weekly refreshers at that point which could lead to divorce and division of common property.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej  /t/1523917/need-input-htpc-w-or-w-out-server-back-end-and-extra-questions#post_24524129


I guess I can at least get the ball rolling. XBMC and Bluecop is probably your best bet at the moment. I don't think you need any new PC hardware for that. If you want to replace your client computer with something smaller and simpler, I've used Raspberry Pi ($35), but there are better, albeit more expensive, options.


For max WAF, I'd stick with real IR remotes like she's accustomed to rather than phone/tablet remote apps. To do that, simply get an MCE or Ortek dongle (~$12 most places). You can still use apps as well, if you prefer. My goal with my HTPC system was to make it look and work like my old satellite DVR, which I was able to accomplish simply by sticking with IR remotes. Unlike you, I kept cable, mainly because I can't stand Hulu. But having cable card keeps my costs as low as possible.


That said, I don't think it's possible to drop cable and replace it with an equivalent, easy to use system. But making your wife aware of the cost savings should help her tolerate the changes a bit more. I tried and failed to drop cable altogether, mostly because I have 3 other people to keep happy rather than just one. I'll probably give it another shot in a few more years.

Thanks for starting the responses



Can I ask why you dislike Hulu? I have not used it, just going off others suggestions from different places.
 

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I use a smart TV in our family room for OTA and Netflix with a dlna (TV) app to access JRiver content. TV has a - no hassle - soundbar . Remote is the cheap Harmony. All the Wife and kids know is it turns on and works.


Bedroom and workshop TV's each have a Roku box used for netflix, pandora and dlna rendering from JRiver.


jriver runs on three separate PC's, each with lots of disk space. syncback is used to synchronize media between all three PC's. This provides built in redundancy (backup) without the hassle of running a sever or NAS software. Any one PC can be turned on and all (dlna) content is available everywhere with or without the other PC's being turned on. Weekly backups are kept on a usb drive in a ($20) firesafe which is swapped offsite with a usb drive stored in a bank safe deposit box about once every three months.


If I ever lost our family video/photos my wife would have my head.


The reason I use Jriver is because I'm fundamentally a music person. For the most part I would be fine without any TV. Syncback provides local backups, encryption of sensitive files and is a lot less complex then running NAS (RAID) or a standalone media server. The bulk of the data is written once; incremental syncs only take a couple minutes.


It works for me, your mileage may vary.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob332  /t/1523917/need-input-htpc-w-or-w-out-server-back-end-and-extra-questions#post_24519483


Now the hurdle is that it has to be as easy as the current cable dvr for my wife.

This is going to be your biggest struggle. The trouble is there really aren't any good content aggregators for online content. Online content providers seem fixated on making it hard for 3rd parties to integrate their services in a seamless way, so it's sort of a cat and mouse game between the providers and the 3rd parties meaning aggregators are prone to breaking with no warning.


XMBC+Bluecop is one of the better ones I've seen, I've got it installed on my OpenELEC box. It's nice that you can add shows from Hulu etc to your XMBC video library which makes it easier to use. But there's still the issues of it being less than 100% stable, and the fact that you have to "know" which service a given show is on to find it. So it's not as easy as searching a program guide.


FWIW, my big problem with Hulu is Hulu Plus doesn't get you everything, or at least the last time I tried Hulu Plus on my Xbox there was a "significant" amount of content you couldn't watch. It was "free" content that didn't require Plus, but couldn't be shown on "CE" devices like the Xbox.
 

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One reason I like the HDHomeRun Dual is that the RG6 cable run from the OTA antenna can be very short. As long as Ethernet is available, the antenna and tuner can be at the opposite end of the house from the HTPC and TV.

I think in your case two would be best. One for the OTA antenna and one for the (clear QAM) cable.
 

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I'm in the center of a condo building in Boston. Mohu Leaf (no amp) picks up 20+ channels and feeds a 4-way splitter->TVs and Homerun. Reception improved greatly when I moved it out of the server closet and into the adjacent coat closet, despite requiring a longer lead.
 

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Speaking on aggregators, have you considered this:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mohu/mohu-channels-personal-channel-guide-makes-tv-smar


They just listed the streaming apps that they have confirmed are compatible (as well as those that are not compatible) with their device currently:
http://www.gomohu.com/kickstarter/channel-specs/streaming-apps/


It is an Android based aggregator being made by the same company that makes the Mohu antennas. I am in no way affiliated with them. While I am currently a backer of the project, I may pull out since they mentioned XBMC is not currently supported and my house relies heavily on XBMC - I already have a working solution in place where I record shows using HDHomeRun and Windows Media Center, transcode using Handbrake and serve the shows to various clients (including PCs, RPi, mobile devices).


Anyway, did not see any mention of the above product and thought it might be something you may find interesting based on comments above.


Good luck,

-Topper
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by topperdude  /t/1523917/need-input-htpc-w-or-w-out-server-back-end-and-extra-questions#post_24584246


Speaking on aggregators, have you considered this:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mohu/mohu-channels-personal-channel-guide-makes-tv-smar


They just listed the streaming apps that they have confirmed are compatible (as well as those that are not compatible) with their device currently:
http://www.gomohu.com/kickstarter/channel-specs/streaming-apps/


It is an Android based aggregator being made by the same company that makes the Mohu antennas. I am in no way affiliated with them. While I am currently a backer of the project, I may pull out since they mentioned XBMC is not currently supported and my house relies heavily on XBMC - I already have a working solution in place where I record shows using HDHomeRun and Windows Media Center, transcode using Handbrake and serve the shows to various clients (including PCs, RPi, mobile devices).


Anyway, did not see any mention of the above product and thought it might be something you may find interesting based on comments above.


Good luck,

-Topper

Thanks, going to put a mechanical hdd in the HTPC very soon and put xbmc on it to make sure that is 100% the way I want to go, if not this looks very interesting.
 
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