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What media software to use? (for HTPC)

post #1 of 18
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I'm thinking of building a HTPC for the living-room. Some cable TV watching, but also movies/shows that are ripped or downloaded. I have a question though...

I went to a friend's house--he works for Apple, and therefore has numerous Mac's--and for his home theater set-up, he uses a mac mini that has a VERY clean/sleek program (don't recall the name of it off the top of my head), and it is virtually like a tivo or DVR for regular TV (cable, etc.). BUT, it also has the ability, via a script (I think) to query specific..."locations" that host downloads of "media" and it automatically schedules downloads of things that you have added to your queue when they are available--it all runs automatically, and also serves as the media player. Wish I could recall the name--will have to ask again what it's called. But...

Does anyone know of such a program that is available for windows? Something similar? Forget about the little thing where the program queries websites for available downloads--what about just for TV viewing and possible recording? I feel like any video player software that comes with video input cards is really poor--are there any favorites?

Or for that matter, any preferred brands of video input devices? I've only ever used ATI-branded ones in the past. I have an ATI one--external via USB, but for an HTPC, I'd sooner get an internal card.

Thanks in advance!
Edited by guyladouche - 1/12/11 at 1:51pm
    
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post #2 of 18
I believe "Media center Master" will do auto torrenting, and meta data downloads.

Edit: Yeah it looks like it does, I personally use it jsut for meta data (it does a really good job at that), but I see utorrent downloading as well in its menus and whatnot.




Edited by canna - 1/12/11 at 2:03pm
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post #3 of 18
I guess you have not heard of windows media center.
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post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by canna View Post
I believe "Media center Master" will do auto torrenting, and meta data downloads.

Edit: Yeah it looks like it does, I personally use it jsut for meta data (it does a really good job at that), but I see utorrent downloading as well in its menus and whatnot.



Awesome, that looks VERY promising, very much like what my buddy had on his MAC. Thanks for the find, I'll give it a try later!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hick View Post
I guess you have not heard of windows media center.
My only familiarity with MCE was from XP--never used it for Windows 7. Have you used it--if so, how do you like it? For recording, how is the quality of the video files? Is it easy to browse broadcast/cable/satellite TV programs and create a record queue (apart from Internet TV that it offers)? It's convenient that Windows 7 comes with MCE--I'll give it a shot on my lappy (only have XP on my desktop) when I get some time. Thanks for the suggestion.
    
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post #5 of 18
I rate Windows Media Centre good. With the proper add-ons and apps to go with it, I rate it awesome. WMC has great recording quality, and can record a show or series automatically every time it airs.

Use it with DVD Library manager, Media Centre Master, My Channel Logos, and Media Centre Studio for the best possible experience.

I have used WMC with my HTPC for 1/2 a year now, and so far it has worked flawlessly.
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post #6 of 18
I like Xbox Media Center, very clean interface just like Apple's. I actually sold my Apple TV after I installed XBMC. You can change the themes, add metadata and there's so many settings to tweek to your liking. Check it out =D
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post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoshi864 View Post
I rate Windows Media Centre good. With the proper add-ons and apps to go with it, I rate it awesome. WMC has great recording quality, and can record a show or series automatically every time it airs.

Use it with DVD Library manager, Media Centre Master, My Channel Logos, and Media Centre Studio for the best possible experience.

I have used WMC with my HTPC for 1/2 a year now, and so far it has worked flawlessly.
Sweet, thanks for the feedback!

Quote:
Originally Posted by starwa1ker View Post
I like Xbox Media Center, very clean interface just like Apple's. I actually sold my Apple TV after I installed XBMC. You can change the themes, add metadata and there's so many settings to tweek to your liking. Check it out =D
Hmm...I don't have an xbox360. But thanks for the suggestion!
    
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post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyladouche View Post
My only familiarity with MCE was from XP--never used it for Windows 7. Have you used it--if so, how do you like it? For recording, how is the quality of the video files? Is it easy to browse broadcast/cable/satellite TV programs and create a record queue (apart from Internet TV that it offers)? It's convenient that Windows 7 comes with MCE--I'll give it a shot on my lappy (only have XP on my desktop) when I get some time. Thanks for the suggestion.
XBMC - Nice, been around for a while, no live tv.
Media portal - Nice, needs some tweaking, can have live tv (OTA OR NTSC), can put all tv tuners in a server and stream all around the house.
MCE - Nice, needs plugins to make it on par with the above 2 (check out Media browser).


Its 100x better on 7 than xp. I use it for all my htpc's, I have been playing with media portal a bit again just so I can put all my tv tuners in my server and stream the live tv though.

Browsing Live Tv is just like on a cable box. Nice interface and easy scheduling.
- If you want to do sat. you need a hauppauge Hauppauge HD PVR or they will be releasing an internal pci-e one soon.
- If you want HD Cable you will need a CETON InfiniTV 4 Digital Cable Tuner, or silicon dust is making a dual tuner for around half that (you will need to rent a cable card from your cable co.) MUST USE WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER 7!
- If you want standard cable (what you can watch with the cable hooked up to a tv) you need a NTSC tuner card and for OTA (over the air antenna) you need an ATSC tuner.

EDIT - XBMC USED to stand for xbox media center, now it is just XBMC. You used to install it on the original XBOX now it is just a front end for a HTPC.
Edited by hick - 1/12/11 at 5:41pm
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post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hick View Post
XBMC - Nice, been around for a while, no live tv.
Media portal - Nice, needs some tweaking, can have live tv (OTA OR NTSC), can put all tv tuners in a server and stream all around the house.
MCE - Nice, needs plugins to make it on par with the above 2 (check out Media browser).


Its 100x better on 7 than xp. I use it for all my htpc's, I have been playing with media portal a bit again just so I can put all my tv tuners in my server and stream the live tv though.

Browsing Live Tv is just like on a cable box. Nice interface and easy scheduling.
- If you want to do sat. you need a hauppauge Hauppauge HD PVR or they will be releasing an internal pci-e one soon.
- If you want HD Cable you will need a CETON InfiniTV 4 Digital Cable Tuner, or silicon dust is making a dual tuner for around half that (you will need to rent a cable card from your cable co.) MUST USE WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER 7!
- If you want standard cable (what you can watch with the cable hooked up to a tv) you need a NTSC tuner card and for OTA (over the air antenna) you need an ATSC tuner.

EDIT - XBMC USED to stand for xbox media center, now it is just XBMC. You used to install it on the original XBOX now it is just a front end for a HTPC.
Wow, thanks for all the info! I think I'll give MC in 7 a shot, see how I like it. It appears to be promising, and a far cry from XP MCE...
    
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post #10 of 18

Windows Media Center + Media Browser

Was looking for a recent video showing the Media Browser interface. Just found this for now:


Seems like my search-fu needs some work.
Edited by rui-no-onna - 1/12/11 at 7:27pm
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