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Feedback on HTPC Streamer + Blu Ray Player

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I am looking to find a solution to my media needs. I currently have a Samsung BD-E5900 Blu Ray Player and while it has streaming ability, it is terrible. The built in wifi drops out everytime, so I have resorted to an airport express to give it internet. I want to be able to watch movies from my computer (via the network), stream netflix/hulu/vudu/youtube, and watch Blu Rays. I am an audiophile and so making sure I am feeding my receiver proper sound formats is important.

I am leaning towards an integrated setup, either with an Intel Pentium G630 or AMD A6 CPU. Will these processors with their integrated graphics be able to provide clear 1080P playback from blu-rays? Additionally, will the onboard HDMI output audio and video? I can not get DTD-HD Master Audio from an optical output so I must have the HDMI carry both signals.

I will not be using this for storage, and as such will just have a small (60GB) SSD for the OS and blu-ray software. I was hoping to avoid buying Windows 7/8 and just using Ubuntu, are there any hardware conflicts you may see? Also, does Ubuntu have software to play blu-ray discs?

I will probably use XBMC to play files from my computer, again if anyone sees any conflicts, please let me know!

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any help!
Edited by Transmaniacon - 2/22/13 at 8:36am
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post #2 of 8
I've run Linux based media centres for a while now and know your pain.... Seemed like such a simple task those years ago and started with integrated graphics but just have a look at what my media pc turned into in my sig (mega media pc and gaming rig)!

Regarding integrated graphics, especially if you're contemplating Linux, definatly go with an nvidia card, their drivers allow 23.967 fps playback (for blu-ray rips) and lossless hdmi audio with the hd audio codecs. Lots of people have issues with smooth playback with igpus and ati drivers aren't as developed as nvidia and more people use use nvidia so support will be easier. Something like the gt610 will be cheap, silent and make your life loads easier (http://uk.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/GT610SL1GD3L/)

The onboard gpu will be able to play 1080p though and if you're not to concerned about some stutter then I guess you could use the igpu.

To play blu-rays direct from the drive, there isn't anything that works particularly well that I've found (although not looked since I got a ps3 about a year ago) as the decryption can only be done under license (I think) so I'd suggest keeping your existing player for blu-rays off the disc.

Standard Ubuntu uses a Pulseaudio sound server which is great if you want to mix system sounds with mp3s for example but it resamples your audio usually all to 48kHz so you get a loss in quality. Uninstalling it is certainly possible but there are a lot of dependencies so it can be awkward to get passthrough to work after. However, recent installments of xbmc seem to handle audio better so this may not be an issue anymore.

I use mythbuntu (a variant of xbuntu) which doesn't install it in the first place and also sets up the DVR software Mythtv, worth a look if you're interested in recording tv on it too
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post #3 of 8
If I were to build a media pc today this is what I'd put in it.... Definatly not the cheapest but certainly a very capable machine and plenty of scope for upgrades or moving bits around should the need arise....

http://uk.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z77I_DELUXE/

http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=product&prod=94

http://ark.intel.com/m/products/65520

Quiet CPU cooler, would need to check it fits in case:

http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products_id=37&lng=en

http://uk.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/GT610SL1GD3L/

http://www.corsair.com/en/power-supply-units/cx-series-psu/cx500-80-plus-bronze-certified-power-supply.html

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/Greenmemory/products/green-ddr3

http://www.corsair.com/ssd/force-series-gt-ssd/force-series-gt-120gb-sata-3-6gbps-solid-state-hard-drive.html/

+ basic DVD drive or BD drive for future use

+ 2 Tb WD caviar black drive for data

You could probably half the cost of components if you wanted... It's just what I would build! Amd processor/board combo would be cheaper, could do away with quiet HSF to start and see how you got on, certainly don't need a SSD for a media pc not an i5 but as I said, its what I would do... I'm a bit of a techno whore though!
Edited by pharcycle - 2/23/13 at 1:04pm
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the helpful information. I am leaning towards windows 7 as I dont want to hinder blu ray playback. The build i am considering is about $400, with intel integrated, ssd, and blu ray drive. I am just getting a plan in place, thanks again. Which integrated graphics chipset do you think will be sufficient for blu ray playback with powerdvd 12 and HD streaming?
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post #5 of 8
I'm afraid I dont have and therefore never used powerdvd12 and none of my processors have igpus so it's somewhat difficult for me to test!

Try any igpu, they should handle it but you may have telecine judder due to display rate mismatch.
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
So I have decided to forego the blu ray aspect of this htpc, I will just keep using the my Samsung blu ray player for discs as that aspect of it works great. Instead I am just going to build a Linux streamer, so I will not have any software issues. I will probably try that xbmc Ubuntu so I can stream content from my pc, and also utilize websites like Netflix, Hulu, amazon, and vudu. Will a pentium g630 or similar be adequate for playing 1080p files from my pc?
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Will a pentium g630 or similar be adequate for playing 1080p files from my pc?

it will probably handle it ok... if you have any issues though the gt610 i referenced above would be a good card for a htpc for $40

for what they cost, you may as well stick a bluray drive in there too, you can use it to rip your own BD-ROMs for playing back and support will only get better over time. I'm probably going to be trying a new ubuntu install soon but my hardware will be quite different to yours.

you don't need to go for the XBMC-buntu distro... its really easy to install XBMC on its own (http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Install_XBMC_on_Ubuntu/HOW-TO_1). Mythtv however (http://www.mythtv.org/) is pretty tricky to install so I recommend mythbuntu (http://www.mythbuntu.org/) as it sets everything up for you if you're interested in trying it out. You'll need some tuner cards to use it to its full capacity but it then lets you record, pause and stream live TV across your network and can transcode recordings from the raw MPEG-2 to h.264 or MP4 for your phone/portable device etc. It has been around for probably about 10 years and is very mature software but its version is 0.26 so its still classed very much in development. Works astonishingly well but documentation can be a bit involved and the guides are not always relevant to the current version.
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well since I'm keeping the blu ray player, I need a small case about the height of my HT receiver (RX-V665) and less than 14" wide so it fits in my stand. I love the Lian li q16b but I'm having a hard time justifying the cost... Do you think for just streaming my media and watching online content, a PS3 would suffice for a good bit less money?
Gaming PC
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k Gigabyte Z68-D3H-B3 MSI HD7950 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
64GB Crucial M4 SSD 1TB WD Caviar Black CM Hyper 212+ (Push/Pull Blademasters) Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus VS247H Logitech G15 SeaSonic X-850 Lian Li Lancool PC-K9 WX 
MouseAudio
Razer Death Adder Lexicon Alpha (Balanced), Mackie MR5 MK2 
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Gaming PC
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k Gigabyte Z68-D3H-B3 MSI HD7950 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
64GB Crucial M4 SSD 1TB WD Caviar Black CM Hyper 212+ (Push/Pull Blademasters) Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus VS247H Logitech G15 SeaSonic X-850 Lian Li Lancool PC-K9 WX 
MouseAudio
Razer Death Adder Lexicon Alpha (Balanced), Mackie MR5 MK2 
  hide details  
Reply
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Overclock.net › Forums › Specialty Builds › HTPC › Feedback on HTPC Streamer + Blu Ray Player