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1168 posts

Uber Geek


# 100505 12-Apr-2012 15:00
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Hi All,

I have been looking at the media centre options for a while now and then I saw this:

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/computers/shuttle/compact-desktop-pc-sku-25309/

It is small, low power and cheap, only $450.

What I want is something that will play movies from my HD, enable me to watch TVNZ/TV 3 on demand, be connectable to QuickFlix and with relative ease hook up to a VPN for NetFlix et al. I would also like it to be able to stream movies to a media player in a second room but this isn't a deal breaker.

I don't want it to be 'real' computer because I have a reasonable spec laptop for content creation, such as it is. I want something for movies and TV. 

It is twice the price of an most media players but it seems the Shuttle does plenty more. I have an xbox but with no app for TV on demand and Gold Accounts and a second router needed for NetFlix on an xbox this seems like a better deal. 

Too good to be true?  

Anybody got one? Good or bad stories or reviews?  




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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2260 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 608320 12-Apr-2012 15:43
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Should be fine for most Mpeg2 videos, and lower res H264/DivX, anything with a medium/high quality picture will struggle though

Same with Youtube, it will struggle with anything 720P and above


You could build something that'd play HD videos back with this:
http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=878995

+ a motherboard/case $50 cheapest ITX I can see
+ some cheap DDR3 memory 2x 2GB sticks $32
+ existing HDD, or get a cheap SSD
+ XBMC Live

= $343 - higher if you need to purchase a HDD etc





I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

2834 posts

Uber Geek


  # 608324 12-Apr-2012 15:52
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Yeah ur better of building ur own HTPC

2nd hand Intel Core Duo with HSF $50
2nd hand 775 socket mobo $50
4gb ddr2 2nd hand $40
Antek NSK2480 HTPC Case with PSU $180
MCE Compatible remote + IR receiver ~$40 (ebay)
2nd hand video card that does DXVA eg. HD4670 $50

TOTAL = $410

Would be 3x as powerful as above computer

or with brand new stuff, using onboard HD2000 IGP, which is good for everything bar 1080i live tv stream -> http://pricespy.co.nz/list.php?l=60424&view=m




HTPC / Home automation (home assistant) enthusiast.


 
 
 
 




1168 posts

Uber Geek


  # 608349 12-Apr-2012 16:44
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Thanks guys. 

Watch this space for a "My first HTPC build- PLEASE HELP" thread coming soon.

Thanks again.  




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

2260 posts

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  # 608358 12-Apr-2012 16:59
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crackrdbycracku: Thanks guys. 

Watch this space for a "My first HTPC build- PLEASE HELP" thread coming soon.

Thanks again.  


My favourite type of thread! I look forward to it Cool 




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

28362 posts

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  # 608456 12-Apr-2012 20:31
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It's a shame that virtually nobody is bringing in PC's of that SFF any longer. A year ago there were a lot of eee box, Acer and Viewsonic machines around. if you look on US sites like new egg you'll see a huge selection of SFF machines, and you can pick up AMD M1 Hudson machines for ~US$150 excl RAM and HDD.

2260 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 608458 12-Apr-2012 20:35
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sbiddle: It's a shame that virtually nobody is bringing in PC's of that SFF any longer. 


Yeah I agree, it's a real shame.   I wish more manufacturers here brought in the Zboxes:

for $220 USD
Zotac Zbox

  • AMD E Series Dual Core E 350 Processor 1.6GHz
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 250GB Hard Drive
  • AMD Radeon HD 6310






I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

2834 posts

Uber Geek


  # 608460 12-Apr-2012 20:39
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For 220 USD you don't get 8gb ram or HDD

"Note - This is the second one of these I have purchased, and REALLY like the concept.

However, the listing states that it comes with a 250GB Hard drive and 8 GB RAM - this is not correct. The machine comes bare bones, and you have to add your own RAM and Hard drive."




HTPC / Home automation (home assistant) enthusiast.


 
 
 
 


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  # 608464 12-Apr-2012 20:45
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kiwijunglist: For 220 USD you don't get 8gb ram or HDD

"Note - This is the second one of these I have purchased, and REALLY like the concept.

However, the listing states that it comes with a 250GB Hard drive and 8 GB RAM - this is not correct. The machine comes bare bones, and you have to add your own RAM and Hard drive."


Oh gutted, was wondering if they'd accidentally put them up there!

Have you had a smooth run with your Zotac stuff?  I've had the N330 with Ion back a few years ago, and it was a great board 




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

2834 posts

Uber Geek


  # 608470 12-Apr-2012 20:49
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I dont have one, I have the opposite an HTPC in a giant LC16-M case. Soon to be changed to Lian Li PC-C60B (another massive case) - I don't use NAS so like all my HDDs inside the HTPC.




HTPC / Home automation (home assistant) enthusiast.


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  # 608488 12-Apr-2012 21:20
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kiwijunglist: For 220 USD you don't get 8gb ram or HDD

"Note - This is the second one of these I have purchased, and REALLY like the concept.

However, the listing states that it comes with a 250GB Hard drive and 8 GB RAM - this is not correct. The machine comes bare bones, and you have to add your own RAM and Hard drive."


there are $50-70 US cheaper barebone options awaylable.

Have one, good for email and browsing. too slow for RAW converters :( 




helping others at evgenyk.nz


2834 posts

Uber Geek


  # 608502 12-Apr-2012 21:31
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I just got this on trademe for $275

i3-2100 CPU + 4GB DDR3 1333 + Gigabyte Z68XP-UD4

So going to replace my current HTPC - AMD X2 4200+ / 4GB RAM / Gigabyte Mobo
I'll probably still use my HD4670 1GB over the onboard HD2000 video.




HTPC / Home automation (home assistant) enthusiast.


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  # 608519 12-Apr-2012 22:02
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personally ive shifted away from big/powerful HTPCs for thin clients. i have a tv server which is pretty powerful (unless you are reading this thread in the future and laugh at my powerful machine) core i5 3.3GHz, SSD OS Drive, 2TB WD HDD for recordings, and with 16GB RAM (using 4GB RAM Drive for tv buffer for quicker channel changing), but aiming to switch to raspberrypis for the clients (if they ever release them.... looking like august...). may reason server is so powerful is it has a smartcard reader and decrypts sky so serves multiroom sky to every tv in the house (which is really really nice).

I was using mac minis for the front ends on the tvs around my house, which are nice and you can pickup off trademe semi-cheaply (any core 2 duo > 2Ghz should playback all 1080P stuff fine), currently ive got some old HTPCs running XBMCBuntu updated with xbmc pvr branch which is working really well connecting to my fortherecord tv server, while i wait for my raspberrypis.

but since the devices connected to the tvs are just for playback and no recording etc (which is nice/must have if you have multiple tvs) they can be replaced with really thin clients like the raspberrypi/ATV.

personally i think thats the way the HTPC scene will head, a raspberrypi or similar (google tv, apple tv etc) attached to back of the tv, powered by the tv and hidden away, with a NAS/Server with the media. since those devices are designed to be cheap, use little power and can playback all your media.

just putting this out there incase you werent aware of alternatives.

i understand some people do want a full HTPC housing all their media in one machine (mostly people only with only one tv connected to a computer), but if you have more than one tv connected try a different route (a lot cheaper).

310 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 608531 12-Apr-2012 22:12
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Something like Asus E35M1-I MB would a good bases for an HTPC if you want it to be very compact (ITX)
or any motherboard based on the FM1 (fusion) socket.

The AMD HD6310 in these boards is a very good multimedia onboard video that does most of the HD video processing so powerful cpu not needed.


310 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 608556 12-Apr-2012 22:51
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mmmmm raspberrypi very interesting gadget

2834 posts

Uber Geek


  # 608561 12-Apr-2012 23:04
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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. 




HTPC / Home automation (home assistant) enthusiast.


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