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91 posts

Master Geek


#143058 2-Apr-2014 11:32
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I'm building a reasonably spec'd new HTPC for streaming from services like Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer and for capturing Freeview via a Hauppauge DVB-T capture card.  I'll use a Logitech K400R wifi keyboard with multi-touch  touchpad, a lounge TV will be the display, and possibly an IR remote that came with the Hauppauge (or a Harmony 650 remote if it's better).  I'm intending to use MediaPortal as my main media player (though perhaps XMBC or Plex in future) and a browser like Chrome for streaming services, so I'm not worried about a built-in media player.

The big question is whether it's better with Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Possible pros with Win8:
- touch interface might be useful in the future for TV-scale interfaces - or useful right now to switch between MediaPortal and browser or between browser tabs, if I can get MediaPortal and Chrome as tabs on the Metro UI
- improved startup times and sleep modes might be useful
- general refinements on processing that might help 1080i/1080p playback
- in support for longer than Win7

Possible cons with Win8:
- drivers may not be as robust as with Win7
- less mature tweaking

All advice gratefully received.



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  #1017110 2-Apr-2014 12:06
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I strongly suggest you read www.anandtech.com and look in their HTPC section.  They have a heap of information about this, but most importantly:

In Windows 8, the Media Centre add-in is an extra cost
In Windows 8, the NetFlix tile supports HD
In Windows 7, the NetFlix add-in does not support HD, or 5.1
In Windows 8, if you use a Media Centre remote, you have to press the green button twice to get to the Media Centre app
In Windows 7, the Netflix add-in is a PITA to get working
In Windows 7, Hulu is a non-supported add-in that loads an external app
In Windows 8, Netflix and Hulu are native apps
In Windows 8, a Media Centre remote can be used to navigate the tiled interface of the Metro interface

If you want to get the most out of your setup, you will quickly come across items such as madVR, hardware accelaration, trying to get an assolute 24p playback (which leads into ReLock).  This is good reading on the topic.

If your after absolute quality, then look at JRiver, which along with good hardware and madVR can give excellent quality results.  Here is some info on madVR in JRiver.

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  #1017245 2-Apr-2014 14:53
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I just rebuilt my HTPC using a Gigabyte BRIX and still using Windows 7 Media Centre. Mainly because Home Premium comes with Media Center, 8 doesn't...





 
 
 
 


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  #1017247 2-Apr-2014 14:56
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FWIW Windows 8 works really well in our house, mainly for xbmc and netflix.  The netflix app in particular is outstanding IMO, though I can't say I've really tried netflix on Windows 7.

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  #1017290 2-Apr-2014 15:48
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another option is to use Win 8 but use MediaPortal for TV and local media along with the Win8 apps for Netflix and Hulu. A bit clunky getting between the 3 but it will do pretty much everything you could want. 

Personally I use mediaportal on windows 7 and just have an apple tv for netflix\hulu.




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  #1017311 2-Apr-2014 16:10
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just out of interest, how do you get the Netflix app to show up in Windows 8? I am running a VPN to access Netflix and normally use IE or chrome to log into the site but would like to get the native app. I also use Netflix through the xbox360 app and that works fine too.

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  #1017320 2-Apr-2014 16:20
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thefunkysoulone: just out of interest, how do you get the Netflix app to show up in Windows 8? I am running a VPN to access Netflix and normally use IE or chrome to log into the site but would like to get the native app. I also use Netflix through the xbox360 app and that works fine too.


I am pretty such that just using unblock.us and installing it from the store was all I needed to do (ditto with HuluPlus).



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Master Geek


  #1017507 2-Apr-2014 20:18
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timbosan: I strongly suggest you read www.anandtech.com and look in their HTPC section.  They have a heap of information about this, but most importantly:
...
If you want to get the most out of your setup, you will quickly come across items such as madVR, hardware accelaration, trying to get an assolute 24p playback (which leads into ReLock).  This is good reading on the topic.

If your after absolute quality, then look at JRiver, which along with good hardware and madVR can give excellent quality results.  Here is some info on madVR in JRiver.

Thanks so much timbosan.  Some great resources.  Anandtech has been down every time I've looked recently, but back there now.
Thanks for the other comments too.  Windows 8 looks worth a try.

One thing I'll try is using Hola Unblocker as a free Firefox or Chrome extension and get each streaming service on its own tab with it's own setting.
I see there's a free Hola Windows app that can do peer sharing, but that might allow system-wide fixing of streaming services that could enable native Netflix & Hulu apps etc.

 
 
 
 


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  #1024306 13-Apr-2014 11:29
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I Changed my location to US then installed Netflix and Hulu from the the App store. To get Netflix in Mediaportal I use the my programs plugin and set windows explorer to start netflix e.g. ( explorer.exe netflix://). I havent yet tried to get Hulu to start from Mediaportal...





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  #1024457 13-Apr-2014 18:16
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michelangelonz: I Changed my location to US then installed Netflix

Was that using the Hola Windows app or something different?

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  #1024460 13-Apr-2014 18:23
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To install you just need to change to US. To use it is another story... You will need a VPN service.




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