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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just returned my dish PVR, and cancelled my subscription. No cable or satellite for me any more. I will live off a combination of Netflix (incl bluray), Hulu, and OTA (PBS). I have a PS3, but have never been particularly happy with its user interface/lack-of-remote. (It works ok, but we would have use for it elsewhere.)

so, I am now thinking of building a HTPC. It could be win, osx, or linux. (I know all three reasonably well, but I hate fiddling too long.) TIVO is out, because their subscription cost is too high for my taste. I also happen to own an HDHomeRun, even though I have not yet done much with it.

I figure that the software would be my first decision. I am ok shelling out $100 for good software (and $20/year for a programming guide) that really does it all. alas, there seem to be about 30 choices over the three platforms ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...tware_packages ).

Alas, the software may not do everything I need. Yet, thinking about my needs, they should seem pretty standard. Optimally, the software would integrate all. The first screen would give me plain options:

[1] blu-ray playback (in 5 ch, not 2 ch sound---and not a different program);

[2] hulu;

[3] netflix;

[4] View Saved Shows;

[5] Schedule Recordings --- this should be real easy and good (aka like TIVO)

[6] Watch Live TV

Alas, what kind of program does all of these? I could not see any software that nicely integrates everything. did I miss one? I dislike the idea of a keyboard needed for control (should be optional), a separate browser with click and type to find in hulu/netflix, a power dvd for blu-ray, yet another program to watch live TV, yet another to talk to the HDHomerun, etc.

Advice appreciated.

PS: [I also need to stream over an 802.11 wireless network, so I hope that hulu and netflix are sufficiently buffered by the software so that they are not likely to stutter.]

PPS: If Mac, I will get a current mac mini. If PC, I will get a Shuttle with more horsepower.

1,143 Posts

Originally Posted by ivo welch /forum/post/16967792

Alas, what kind of program does all of these?

Only one - Windows Media Center. Unfortunately it won't do everything out-of-the-box. You'll need some plugins and addons to get full functionality.

1. WMC (Vista and Win7 versions only) will play back blu-ray discs, but you need to buy one of a handful of software players like PowerDVD to handle the HDCP authorization. The movie plays in WMC and uses WMC's controls. The integration is pretty seamless form the user's perspective.

2. Hulu support can be added to WMC with a plugin called SecondRun.tv .

3. Netflix playback is built in to WMC on Vista and Win7

4. Built in to all versions.

5. Built in to all versions.

6. Built in to all versions.
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