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HTPC or Network Media Player

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Need Advice

Should I go with a Media Center HTPC build out or pickup something like a Roku / WD live / Boxee?

Here's what I'm trying to accomplish:
1. An easy way to stream directly to TV videos from the Internet without using a different PC (not just certain services like NetFlix etal)
2. An easy to use interface somewhat like media players have. Wondering if there are PC apps for that.
3. Streaming directly for network PCs
4. USB port available for external keyboard
5. Local hard drive (not absolutely necessary)

So I guess I'm essentially asking:
A: Can I create on an HTPC with software for an easy to use interface somewhat like media players have. Wondering if there are PC apps for that?
B: What Network Media Centers would meet the most of my needs?

Thanks,

Hawk
post #2 of 7
well heres what you must remember. generally a htpc is going to cost more, but have alot more expandability such as running emulators and upgrading the storage. I tried to have a htpc for about a year, and it worked great. But what i found myself doing more and more was streaming media from it to my desktop, and then everyone in the house was as well. We would only catch the occasional movie, and no longer do anything else with it. Now some argue that a htpc is great for a DVR which is true, but i have a DVD from cox, which is needed for our digital cable. Therfore we converted our wii into a network streaming video player, and i stuck the hard drives from the htpc into my sig rig.
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P50
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i7 3770k BIOSTAR TH67+ 32gb 4x8 Corsair Vengence 1600 1x 256gb m2 
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post #3 of 7
As greensystem said, an htpc will be much more versatile than one of those standalone players you mentioned. I actually have an htpc in my bedroom and a wd live plus downstairs. I have that hooked up to my network using a powerline adapter and I can stream all my files from my htpc. I heard he as live has trouble playing large files over wireless so I went with a powerline adapter instead. The wd live is awesome little player though, it can play every file I have. If you don't need the full capabilities of a pc save yourself some money and go with the wd live. Otherwise an htpc would be most practical.
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post #4 of 7
I am totally sold on the idea of DLNA-enabled televisions, they have entirely replaced my desire for an HTPC - I think you might find it an appealing idea too, especially if you are considering a media streamer.

If you aren't familiar with DLNA, imagine integrating a WD Live-style setup, minus the local storage (if any), in to the television itself. Plug the television in to your network, and the television can stream movies from Netflix, Youtube or networked computers.

I went from having a television, a cable set top box, an over the air high definition antenna and an HTPC to just having the television itself hooked up to the antenna and the home network. It's so nice and neat now, and with the computer being in another room, there is no fan and hard drive noise from an HTPC, in addition to dramatically lower electricity bills from eliminating a computer and a set top box.

About the only thing you miss out on with this setup is recording cable or over the air programs, but I find that there isn't much appealing to watch there, anyway.
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great input all. It's much appreciated!

Hawk
post #6 of 7
I will tell you this STAY AWAY from Roku products; their customer service terrible, they will not help at all and if u want to get something replaced dont hold ur breathe. They give u the run around of resetting and all the other stuff than blame your internet connection when its perfectly fine 14.5 mbps. Invest your money in a company thats customer service is not in india.
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post #7 of 7
Htpc. Its more flexible in the long run.
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