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HTPC - Help, newbie build!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello,

First time poster. I am building my first htpc and was hoping to get soem recommendations. First let me say thank you in advance for your ideas. I will start by laying out what I already have, what my PC has, then specifiing what I was hoping to accomplish.

I have a Dish 722k DVR that plugs via HDMI into a Sony NSZ-GS7 which, along with a Sony Blu-Ray player (Don't know the model off hand), that plugs via HDMI into a Visio e550 55" flat screen. The Visio is not one of the "smart" models. Then I run SPDIFF out of the Visio into a Pioneer VSX-1017.

Satallite -> Google box -> Flat Screen -> Reciever

BluRay ->


The Pioneer handles HDMI but with serious limitations which is why it is last in the chain using SPDIFF.

I'm building a HTPC with a limited budget (wife was recently laid off) but have enough resources for something reasonable.

CPU: 40

MB: ASROCK H87m-ITX (HDMI out)

RAM: 8 gig

C: Drive: 120gb Solid State

D: LG Blu-Ray

E: 3tb Hard Drive

Cooler Master Elite 130 Elite mini ITX



What I am hoping to accomplish is to replace the Sony Blu-Ray player and Google box with the HTPC.

I need to...

....1. Choose Media Center software that handles, preferably with 10-foot view...
........a. Netflix
........b. Amazon Prime
........c. Youtube
........d. Web browsing

....2. Figure out if there is a way to pass through the Satallite video like the Google box does today.

....3. A remote that will handle all devices


I appreciate your thoughts on this. So far I have played around with...

1. OpenElec - BMX

2. Win7 BMC

3. Win7 MediaPortal

4. Win7 Windows Media Center

5. MediOs

6. J River Media Center

7. Sesam TV

The learning curve is pretty steep and I'm kind of stuck. So far, from my unwashed and probably incorrect perspective; the Windows media center is the only one that offers full Netflix functionality but little else. The J River Media Center is the only other that offers Netflix and is the most functional out of the box. It costs $50 but that is reasonable if it solves my problems. OpenElec is the lightest and fastest but does very little out of the box and probably won't do Netflix or Amazon. MediaPortal has a very slick interface, like XBMC on steriods, but along with XBMC requires some set up know how and as far as I know are limited on the streaming end. I don't even remember what MediOs looks like as it's all becoming a blur at this point.

Thank you very much for taking the time to ponder this.
Edited by Ash Telecaster - 4/9/14 at 4:08am
post #2 of 3
I don't use satellite but if I remember correctly, they use HDMI for HD Video signal? I believe you could use a HDMI capable capture card like AVerMedia DVR Card as a passthrough front the satellite box to the HTPC then to the TV.

Honestly no media center is really yet ideal for all of the media sources you are looking at using.

Window 7 Media Center is the easiest to use. Does come with builtin Netflix functionality. But since this is a HTPC, you can add shortcuts through windows desktop to other media services. Plus if you already have a Windows 7 license I think Media Center should install automatically, Win8.1 it is now a $10 add-on but still cheaper then J River.

OpenELEC/XBMC is really good if you have time to play with it. It does not work with Netflix or anything else out of the box, there are some work around scripts that wort of make it work but I've found that these are sometimes unreliable and often slow to load information.

For me, I've built a few HTPC's for family and friends over the past couple months and have used Windows Media Center for all of them because it is most compatible with the video formats used by Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.



As far as Remotes go. The one I prefer for WMC is any of the Rosewill MCE Remotes. They work really well with Windows and have shortcuts for Netflix built in.

The other remote that I've found that works with any OS is the random off brand one usually labeled as Adesso 1100, but you can usually find one for under $15 and generally work with Windows and Linux based systems.
post #3 of 3
I only use WMC to watch TV and prefer to go directly to Firefox for Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant, or other Internet Streams (lots of European Soccer is available only on streams). I've found WMC not to work as quickly with Netflix as I would like. I have Verizon FIOS which requires a cable card to get HBO and some other stations; I don't know what you need with Dish. I got a remote with the Hauppage 2650 cable card tuner which acts up more than I would like. My main control is the trusty Logitech K400 keyboard that runs remotely off a USB dongle. I downloaded the WMC keyboard shortcuts from the MSFT website which are now second nature. The keyboard also makes it easy to type in search strings.

Importantly, you only need 4GB RAM which is enough to drive the system without problem. Last night my wife and I were binging on season one of The Americans via Amazon Prime while I was taping two other programs at the same time. Not even a hiccup.
Photo Editing PC
(11 items)
 
HTPC
(11 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k  ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 2 ASUS GTX 960 2GB STRIX 16GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
256 GB Samsung 850 PRO WD 2TB Caviar Black Noctua NH U12S Win8.1 
MonitorPowerCase
NEC MultiSynch P221W SeaSonic G 650 Fractal Design Define R5 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i3-3225 Gigabyte H77N-WiFi 4GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR3 1600 120 GB Samsung EVO 840 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
500GB WD Blue LG Blue Ray DVD Reader Noctua NH-L9i Win7 
KeyboardPowerCase
Logitech K-400 Seasonic G360 Lian Li PC Q-27B 
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Photo Editing PC
(11 items)
 
HTPC
(11 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k  ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 2 ASUS GTX 960 2GB STRIX 16GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
256 GB Samsung 850 PRO WD 2TB Caviar Black Noctua NH U12S Win8.1 
MonitorPowerCase
NEC MultiSynch P221W SeaSonic G 650 Fractal Design Define R5 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i3-3225 Gigabyte H77N-WiFi 4GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR3 1600 120 GB Samsung EVO 840 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
500GB WD Blue LG Blue Ray DVD Reader Noctua NH-L9i Win7 
KeyboardPowerCase
Logitech K-400 Seasonic G360 Lian Li PC Q-27B 
  hide details  
Reply
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