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Looking for a HTPC solution

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
hey guys,

right now i use my laptop as my HTPC, but everytime i need to take it somewhere with me, it have to disconnect everything and pack it all up, then when i want to watch something i have to set it all back up, just a pain in the arse. looking for a simple yet elegant solution to this. I was thinking about just building a small computer, but i decided it wouldnt be cost effective. I just want something small, QUIET and effective to solve my HTPC needs. i dont need any storage on it, but i need it to be able to stream videos over LAN to my server that has all my hardrives with my movies on them.

my budget for this is around $100. i was thinking even like a android HTPC solution might work... i dunno. help a brotha out!

thanks!
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post #2 of 32
What about the WD live,

http://www.amazon.com/Streaming-Media-Player-Wi-Fi-1080p/dp/B005KOZNBW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1365172962&sr=1-1&keywords=wd+tv

I think Roku is another one worth checking out.
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post #3 of 32
post #4 of 32
I use a raspberry pi for a bedroom htpc, aside from being a little slow on menus in xbmc the videos streaming over the network play nicely over HDMI.
Waiting on X399
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Waiting on X399
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post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
i took a look at the Roku 3, i watched a few reviews about it but no one said anything about file share of the network connection. can it do that?

thanks!
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post #6 of 32
Raspberry pi would do everything you need very cheaply but will require some setup and learning. Installing RaspBMC is fairly painless and should pretty much work out the box

WD live boxes are an excellent solution also but a bit more expensive
 
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post #7 of 32
I use a Roku with Plex. Works great and without any issues. You just need to have Plex Media Server installed on your server.

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post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
How does plex do streaming large files? Like 11 gig bluray videos? Also in plex I noticed that the way you browse through your videos is similar to Netflix, can you change the view to a "list" style? Browsing through my thousands of tv shows and almost a thousand movies one at a time would be ridiculous...
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post #9 of 32
I've used WD TV Live Plus (ethernet model), Roku XS 2, XBMC, Plex, Playon, TVersity and many others - I always come back to XBMC - mainly because I hate having to go and find my own covers/info and I love how it plays anything and everything I've ever thrown at it.

Here's my opinion on the devices I've used in a nutshell:

WDTV:
Plagued with bugs around network playback, doesn't always "see" new files which require you to reboot stuff, mess with file/folder perms and logins - there is a hacked firmware which is a huge improvement and runs telnet to do some uber geeky stuff but it's just a hassle imo and can break netflix playback easily - not worth it imo. Handled most files even my bluray rips that peaked 40mbps over hardwire or usb without issue, also support pass-through audio for receivers for DTS-HD and more.

Roku XS 2:
Very nice menu setup and the "channels" idea is nice but lack of local network playback and usb file support sucked. Has support for Plex, Playon and others but more on that later. Controller was nice and being bluetooth made it a no-hassle experience when on the couch etc.
Menus started to lag in netflix and amazon but it was worth it at the time as it was the only device to support Amazon VOD which was a huge bonus as I had amazon prime.

Plex
What can I say about this, it was a love hate relationship? It seemed to ignore filters on mp4 transcodes when streaming to Roku (which supports mp4 264 ac3), the ui runs in a browser which was very picky about browsers and I found it sometimes to lag out and crash chrome.
When it streamed correctly it was very nice, I like how in the Roku channel you could pick your quality per file if you wanted which was a bonus for weak wifi connections (not that I used wifi).

Playon
I used to use playon for hulu to my WDTV unit as it supported uPNP, playon is nice however it also had a local file streaming capability - which sucks... not much more to say. Locked bitrate/quality and low video/audio encoder support which seemed strange as it used VLC to stream.

TVersity
Used to be good as a uPNP streamer, great file support but since they went paid and removed some online video scraper stuff Playon is the better solution imo.

XBMC
Best software period for local file playback, indexes tv, movies with hardly any errors ever and plays anything I've ever thrown at it. It's terrible for streaming netflix, hulu, basically anything online it sucks at streaming.
Bluray playback works out of the box if you use AnyDVD HD and skips all the commercials, warnings and crap - very handy when you just want to sit down after popping in a disc you rented or something and start viewing immediately.

I've tried XBMC on regular xbox, andriod, ubuntu and windows 7, 8, and I think my favorite implementation was the ubuntu version but I'm currently using Win 8 as we wanted to watch netflix which back then wasn't possible on ubuntu. Now that we have a bunch of other Microsoft stuff in the house (windows phones and Win RT tablets I doubt I'll throw ubuntu on my central media server for the whole house).

I would look for a decent tegra powered android stick/machine and use that with XBMC, I would get one that doesn't get it's power from HDMI however as I doubt that it'd have enough juice to deal with larger blurays.

Hope that helps
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post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 
Helps a ton! Will +rep when I'm online on my computer, typing in on my phone now. What device for at or under $100 would you suggest to run xbmc on? I've used it before on my original cracked Xbox, but the hardware was so outdated it wasn't a viable option to play anything above 480p. Which is the same problem I'm reading about with raspberry pi, not enough processing power to stream hd video. I have a very large library of 10+ gig movies that I know the raspberrypi just won't be able to stream properly. Things like the gbox midnight, the ouya and even the roku 3 are close, but I don't like all the bad reviews about the gbox, I don't like the ouya interface and I don't like how locked down the roku is (not able to put Xbmc on it ).
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