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To make a long story short, my folks are somewhat of the older generation. Computer isn't their thing. However I'd like to build an HTPC for them so I can share all of my audio/video with them. Is there a way to make an HTPC operate and feel like a standard home entertainment system by controller majority if not everything via remote control for their daily task like listeniing to music, or browsing through the DVD titles etc...?


Any recommendation of how to make this happen?
 

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I would never bother trying to teach my parents how to use a HTPC. If anything, I just burn them a DVD that will play automatically in their DVD player.


For a point of reference I get phone calls from my mother every once in a while asking me, "how do you attach files to emails again."


-Suntan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by netman /forum/post/0


This would be a perfect way to get written out of the family will.

LOL, I do agree.


Unless you are willing to provide 365/7/24 tech support.


I installed wireless DSL access for my folks, and now that's what I do - tech support.
 

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No no no no no.


I just spent an hour on the phone with my F.I.L. because the router I put in for him to share his DSL stopped working. He couldn't figure out why, esp cuz he "even changed the cables to see if it would help". I shudder to think what the man has done.


Then there was the time the cable guy came in, was baffled by the plasma I wallmounted for him, and plugged L/R/composite into the component video. Somehow that too was my fault.


He actually asked me to build him an HTPC and I said "absolutely not. Go buy a Tivo - we'll both be much happier. Heck, i'll even pay for it if you promise to not call me asking questions about it."
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB /forum/post/0


No no no no no.


I just spent an hour on the phone with my F.I.L. because the router I put in for him to share his DSL stopped working. He couldn't figure out why, esp cuz he "even changed the cables to see if it would help". I shudder to think what the man has done.


Then there was the time the cable guy came in, was baffled by the plasma I wallmounted for him, and plugged L/R/composite into the component video. Somehow that too was my fault.


He actually asked me to build him an HTPC and I said "absolutely not. Go buy a Tivo - we'll both be much happier. Heck, i'll even pay for it if you promise to not call me asking questions about it."

Opporunity lost IVB.


I would build him an HTPC and put him on monthly Cust Support plan equal or more than cable bill
 

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HELL's NO! ! ! !


I have vast experience with this assembling PCs for family and friends. I stopped doing this couple of years ago. The aggravation is not worth it.


I recommend Dell PC. 24 hours support from India.
 

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Only if I hated that person and would enjoy turning down repeated requests for help.


Once I built custom desktop PCs for my wife and daughter. Years of agonizing phone support followed for both. Then I bought PCs for them with Support.


HTPC's are the worst case, needing far more knowledge than general purpose PCs.


I suspect you are simply validating your own opinion. Listen to the little voice in your head. If you want to share media, make them CDs or DVDs.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xylon /forum/post/0


I recommend Dell PC. 24 hours support from India.

Dang, that's been my problem all along! I was born in India, although I moved to NY when I was 4 and did the fraternity thing in college.


My Berkeley in-laws must be misinterpreting my NY accent for an Indian one, and just think they're calling india
 

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I have a different idea than all the folks here saying NO. I think it is certainly possible. It depends on how good a job you do. I have built a beyond TV DVR recently and programmed my Logitech Harmony to control it and it pretty much looks like a Tivo Box. My mom is totally computer illiterate and she is able to operate it. In the rare occations of things not going what it is supposed to do, power cycle the PC and it will come back right.

You just need to remove the mouse and keyboard altogether and need a powerful and intuitive remote like Harmony. Only program the Harmony limited functions they need. The only concern I have is for them to get the audio/video content. But if you live nearby and can physically get the contents into the PC, it should be easy for them to view the contents provided that you do a good job on programming the remote and teach them to use the remote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannieboiz /forum/post/0


To make a long story short, my folks are somewhat of the older generation. Computer isn't their thing. However I'd like to build an HTPC for them so I can share all of my audio/video with them. Is there a way to make an HTPC operate and feel like a standard home entertainment system by controller majority if not everything via remote control for their daily task like listeniing to music, or browsing through the DVD titles etc...?


Any recommendation of how to make this happen?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by red2grass /forum/post/0


I have a different idea than all the folks here saying NO. I think it is certainly possible. It depends on how good a job you do. I have built a beyond TV DVR recently and programmed my Logitech Harmony to control it and it pretty much looks like a Tivo Box. My mom is totally computer illiterate and she is able to operate it. In the rare occations of things not going what it is supposed to do, power cycle the PC and it will come back right.

You just need to remove the mouse and keyboard altogether and need a powerful and intuitive remote like Harmony. Only program the Harmony limited functions they need. The only concern I have is for them to get the audio/video content. But if you live nearby and can physically get the contents into the PC, it should be easy for them to view the contents provided that you do a good job on programming the remote and teach them to use the remote.


I did the same thing but used MCE instead. I built my parents a pretty beefy system, put in two ATSC, and nvidia dual TV tuner cards. Got them a Logitech Harmony 720 remote.


Hooked it up to their 720p plasma, which had native PC support which was awesome, made things much simpler.


Anyways, I wrote a few scripts to reboot the PC nightly, and made sure S3 standby worked, then the biggest and absolutely the MOST important thing I did was changed the login account to USER, meaning every time that PC logged in, it was a non-admin account, this way they can't install anything and/or screw anything up.


I taught my mom how to use MCE in less than 15 minutes and since then she's been in heaven. Watches her dvr'd soaps, and listens to her music all the time. The setup is absolutely perfect.


But I WILL say this, its not for everyone. If you have the type of person who can screw up making Toast then I'd recommend against giving them a HTPC, but if they can work a cable box or a tivo then maybe just maybe they could use MCE.


- Josh



P.S. Just a side thought, if you want to share photos with loved ones really easy, What I did this past Christmas was bought all the grandparents and great grandparents (my wife and I had our first child last June) was get them an Internet based digital picture frame.


The digital picture frame pulls in RSS feeds of new photos I post online, so all I did was setup the picture frames to connect to a wireless AP, they then get online and pull in any and all new photos.


They are also nice becuase they have memory card readers and USB thumb drive support so if they take pictures them selves they can just plug in the USB thumb drive or memory card and view their own photos.
 

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I set my parents up with MCE2005 and two extenders over thanksgiving week. I was worried that they would have trouble using them but it turned out to be a huge success. So far (knock on wood) they have performed exactly how they should and the time it took to learn how to use them was really short.
 
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