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  Reply # 608568 12-Apr-2012 23:25 Send private message

kiwijunglist: raspbery pi looks good, although I'd be surprised if it could manage 1080i stream live tv over the network, although maybe in the future it the stream could be transcoded to non-interlaced, as it could probably manage that.

I have only the 1x TV, so if I thin client + tv server/nas would use more power than 1x htpc. 


im hoping the raspberrypi h/w can handle HD tv streams, wifi or ethernet wont have issues with delivering the data (will be using cat6 cables personally), so its just comes down to if the raspberrypi can decode the feeds in h/w (s/w wont be fast enough) 



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  Reply # 608657 13-Apr-2012 10:32 Send private message

Thanks for all the replies. 

Yeah there is a part of me that thinks: What's the point of an HTPC?

A factor is that my 'main computer' is going to be a laptop and there isn't a way around this. My partner needs one for word processing, spreadsheets and content creation. She, for whatever reason, doesn't like desktops. 

If this wasn't the case then I would buy the flashest desktop I could afford with piles of power and use that for a media centre, with thin clients or media players on the back of the TVs, as well as for the content creation stuff. 

As it stands I can use the xbox 360 for some stuff but it really is a second rate media hub; no TV On Demand support, no browser, have to format the HD to FAT32, for damn sure can't use the internal HD to transfer/store files for playback, can't record TV. I get that MS want to buy an xbox as well as rather than instead of another PC but it really is such a shame that everything has to go through Media Centre. I might go down the 'second router - VPN - NetFlix' road and see how that turns out. 

Or I may look at bare bones systems, Atech in Wellington have some so I might go chat with them. 

If I do go down the "Build you own HTPC" road can anybody point me to a Build an HTPC for dummies? 

Also I agree with others on this thread that this seems to be a very neglected sector of the market. I want a solution, and I'd pay for one. 







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  Reply # 608683 13-Apr-2012 11:15 Send private message

Building an HTPC is easy the tricky part is deciding what software to run on it and setting up that software.

The questions you need to answer, to buy the hard ware is

1. Do you want to watch/record live freeview DVB-T TV?
2. If yes, do you want the HTPC to be able to send the live TV directly to other computers in the house?
2. Do you want to store your media on the HTPC, or have the media stored on another device (eg. networked PC or NAS vs large HDD inside the HTPC)?
3. Are you using an audio receiver with HD Audio or will you just use regular audio over HDMI/SPDIF?
4. Do you requre 1080P output, or is 720P output (Apple TV2) enough?
5. Do you want to use netflix/hulu?
6. Do you want to use tvnz on demand?
7. If using TVNZ on demand are you happy just browsing the website using a keyboard + mouse, or do you want the content nicely integrated into the media client?




HTPC - Intel i3-2100 / 12GB DDR3 / GA-Z77X-UD5H / HD4670 1GB / HVR2200 / 750GB + 4 x 3TB / Win 7 x64 / MediaPortal 1.5
PC - Intel e8500 / 8GB DDR2 / HD5830 1GB / Win7 x64

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  Reply # 608702 13-Apr-2012 11:32 Send private message

kiwijunglist: 
4. Do you requre 1080P output, or is 720P output (Apple TV2) enough?


also be aware the ATV2 cant decode HD tv streams, it can decode HD mkv/mp4 usually ok, but if you want those for TV clients, you might be pushing it.

im waiting for the ATV3 jailbreak (or raspberrypi to ship, which the first batch will be shipping next week, so things are looking better)

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  Reply # 608705 13-Apr-2012 11:43 Send private message

I agree, it is very much about the software you run that makes or breaks an HTPC system.

One way to make it an easy plug and play setup would to have main system running windows 7 and then using
xbox 360's as media extenders for any other TV in the house, you can pick up second hand xbox's for $150 or less on trademe, that's if you don't mind Microsoft everywhere. It would also have the added bonus of being able to play games and DVD's as needed on all TV's




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  Reply # 608720 13-Apr-2012 12:14 Send private message

techmeister: 
One way to make it an easy plug and play setup would to have main system running windows 7 and then using
xbox 360's as media extenders for any other TV in the house, you can pick up second hand xbox's for $150 or less on trademe, that's if you don't mind Microsoft everywhere. It would also have the added bonus of being able to play games and DVD's as needed on all TV's



Yeah, I have given this ago with our current laptop and my xbox 360. It is 2ghz and 2GB ram but it is three years old. It took about five min before the it over heated and went down. This probably doesn't need to be said but it will be updated very soon.

As a laptop it gets moved around the house as we like to work in different places this means it also would have to connect wirelessly with the xbox, this can be done but isn't great for streaming movies. 

This means, as I see it, I have two options one I have bought a new laptop. I can keep the old laptop and plug it into the TV or xbox, but this laptop isn't going to last long anyway. Or I can look at a new 'main system' as you put it. This would be cabled into the xbox or main tv and stream to other TVs. 

Suggestions on the 'main system' given the below?

Do you want to watch/record live freeview DVB-T TV? 

No, I can do that over using the TV tuner in the TV for the little DVB-T I watch or I might get a Telstra decoder (probably not a T-Box) because Wellington TV reception is rubbish. Recording isn't needed. 

If yes, do you want the HTPC to be able to send the live TV directly to other computers in the house? 

No

Do you want to store your media on the HTPC, or have the media stored on another device (eg. networked PC or NAS vs large HDD inside the HTPC)? 

On the device or plugged in HDs, NAS is probably more than I need. 

3. Are you using an audio receiver with HD Audio or will you just use regular audio over HDMI/SPDIF? 

Regular audio over HDMI will be fine.

Do you requre 1080P output, or is 720P output (Apple TV2) enough? 

720p is plenty on this system, if I want 1080p I'll rent a Blu-Ray. 

Do you want to use netflix/hulu? 

Yes, this is one of the project drivers. Ease of use is important, the ability to stream to other devices is not. 

Do you want to use tvnz on demand? 

Yes, this is also a driver. 

If using TVNZ on demand are you happy just browsing the website using a keyboard + mouse, or do you want the content nicely integrated into the media client?

Yeah, it would be nice but I can live with keyboard and mouse. 
 




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  Reply # 608735 13-Apr-2012 12:43 Send private message

ok

The fact that you want to use TVNZ on Demand severely limits your choices:

PS3 has a TVNZ on demand plugin.  So you can buy a PS3 and also buy an external USB HDD.  This is probably quite a cheap option. You need to double check that PS3 can use netflix/hulu etc, i imagine it probably can via a VPN.

As far as other media players go, I'm not sure if there are that have a web browser that can display flash videos for  TVNZ on demand.  If you didn't want tvnz on demand, I would tell you to buy a WDTV Live HD from bond n bond on special for $148 and an external HDD.

The other option is HTPC.  Since you don't need freeview, you can get away with quite a low end system.  If you wanted brand new then I would buy the following

Prices are from memory

G620 CPU ~$90 (or i3-2100 for $160 if want a grunty HTPC)
H61 motherboard with onbaord HD2000 video + onboard audio ~$100-140
Antek NSK2480 Case + PSU ~ $180
3TB Green HDD ~$250 
MCE compatible IR receiver + remote ~$30 on ebay
Cheap 4GB RAM = ~$40

Total =  $710 (or $780 for super fast HTPC) or if you only want 1TB then it costs $600ish

Or on the cheap

CPU ~$40
Motherboard ~$50
Video card ~$50
MCE IR receiver + remote ~$30 
1TB HDD ~$100
Case with PSU ~$100
2 or 4GB Ram ~$20

Total = $390 

or just buy a suitable 2nd hand PC + $30 MCE IR remote +$40 2nd hand video card if it doesn't come with a DXVA compliant video card.




HTPC - Intel i3-2100 / 12GB DDR3 / GA-Z77X-UD5H / HD4670 1GB / HVR2200 / 750GB + 4 x 3TB / Win 7 x64 / MediaPortal 1.5
PC - Intel e8500 / 8GB DDR2 / HD5830 1GB / Win7 x64



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  Reply # 608742 13-Apr-2012 12:56 Send private message

Yeah, I have considered a PS3. For what they do, including play Blu-Rays they are a very competent media hub. I also know that my xbox with do NetFlix with the right VPN set up, this would require a new router but that isn't the end of the world. 

I wouldn't mind buying a suitable second hand PC, except that I think the market is more fraught than the second hand car market. 

I don't mind spending in the $700 to $900 region but I would rather that then spending $500 on a 2nd hand PC and the next thing I know I have a new stand for drinks. 

Any advice on buying second hand PCs?  




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  Reply # 608758 13-Apr-2012 13:33 Send private message

If you can afford it a brand new just get a brand new one, probably a lot easier and save a lot of time.

The Antek NSK2480 is the most commonly recommended case, and it comes with a PSU, otherwise you can go for something smaller or something bigger (more HDDs, larger + quiter fans, eg. PC-C60B).

I'd recommend you get G620 or i3-2100 and a socket 1155 motherboard that supports the onboard video and use 4gb of cheap ram in it. Consider asking CL or playtech to give you a bundle deal including putting it all together for you.

Also avoid cases that have LCD/VFD displays on the front as they are a gimmick. 




HTPC - Intel i3-2100 / 12GB DDR3 / GA-Z77X-UD5H / HD4670 1GB / HVR2200 / 750GB + 4 x 3TB / Win 7 x64 / MediaPortal 1.5
PC - Intel e8500 / 8GB DDR2 / HD5830 1GB / Win7 x64

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  Reply # 608873 13-Apr-2012 17:24 Send private message

I would recommend AMD FM1 socket as the onboard video is much better than anything Intel onboard.




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  Reply # 608881 13-Apr-2012 17:46 Send private message

Just realize most of the cheap Xbox's on trademe have the rrod problem so not such a good idea after all.




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  Reply # 608882 13-Apr-2012 17:50 Send private message

I'm currently thinking a Barebones system from Atech http://www.atech.co.nz/pk.aspx?297&ssid= could be a good starting point. 

As already stated the hard part is going the be the software. 

The easy route is Windows but I'm going to have a good look into XBMC and other options before I make a decision. 






Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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  Reply # 608893 13-Apr-2012 18:13 Send private message

That barebone system doesn't look that cheap, it's self assembly so you should price up the individual components and make sure that is a good deal. I would think that the discount is about $20 or less.




HTPC - Intel i3-2100 / 12GB DDR3 / GA-Z77X-UD5H / HD4670 1GB / HVR2200 / 750GB + 4 x 3TB / Win 7 x64 / MediaPortal 1.5
PC - Intel e8500 / 8GB DDR2 / HD5830 1GB / Win7 x64



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+1 received by user: 65


  Reply # 608894 13-Apr-2012 18:15 Send private message

Thanks will do. As I said it is a starting point. 




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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  Reply # 608896 13-Apr-2012 18:17 Send private message

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=465179257
this was in my watchlist as was gonna by a 2nd hand PC, the above system is similar to the above but better.




HTPC - Intel i3-2100 / 12GB DDR3 / GA-Z77X-UD5H / HD4670 1GB / HVR2200 / 750GB + 4 x 3TB / Win 7 x64 / MediaPortal 1.5
PC - Intel e8500 / 8GB DDR2 / HD5830 1GB / Win7 x64

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