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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The fam's Tivo Premiere is starting to kick it, and I have a lot of spare hardware around that either needs to be put to use or sold, so I've decided to make an HTPC/home server/NAS. I have the hardware composition solved, but I want recommendations for software. These are desired traits/abilities:

1. Ease of use. The family is coming from Tivo and uses iOS devices, so I need a software platform that can tie in streaming services, OTA television, web browsing, and *hopefully* some sort of iTunes-ish integration. Simplicity and utility are paramount.

2. Software that leverages a straight forward remote control, a la the Tivo Glow. If the actual Tivo remote can be used, even better.

3. Software that allows at least some interaction with an iOS device, but is Windows based.

Open to any and all suggestions that meets the above criteria, so let's hear it.
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hmm... sorry to say this but what you're describing is pretty much an Apple TV!

I've been running HTPCs for maybe 8 years and I certainly wouldn't use 'simplicity' to describe my experiences!

MythTV is really good though and can do all you describe but I'm not going to pretend I know how to. And of course being open source you can always write the piece of code it's missing should you need to but while it's been going for probably more than 10 years it's still only on version 0.27 so there is still a long road ahead! I'd suggest starting off with MythBuntu as it's an all in one distro and you have the support of the Ubuntu community should you need it. It's also the most popular myth distro as far as I know so it seemed sensible for me to start off with that (after I failed numerous times to compile and install it myself!)

XBMC is a brilliant standalone media centre too - you can actually install it onto the 2nd revision of Apple TVs but not the 3rd and the 2's still carry a hefty premium because of this. You can install this to work separately on mythbuntu or you can go for the XBMCBuntu distro or anything inbetween.

Or you should use windows media centre.... but where would be the fun in a simple, hassle free computing experience!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. I was "afraid" that Windows Media/Apple TV would be the best choices, but wanted to see if anything new had evolved in the HTPC arena the past couple of years. I'm vaguely familiar with Myth, and will look into it as well. I feel Apple TV would be too restrictive for what I want to do, so perhaps WMC is the best choice. Is there a preferred version of Windows Media?
 

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well, if you can get a 2nd generation Apple TV then you can jailbreak it and run XBMC on it.

I suppose it depends how much functionality you want out of it and how many evenings you're prepared to spend fixing it when a botched update or similar causes it to cease functioning!

An Intel NUC with some USB tuners and win 7 would be an extremely capable machine and limit any headaches as it's all pretty standard kit. Win 7 comes with Windows Media Centre by default, it was only winXP that had the 'media centre edition' and from Vista onwards I think it's been included as standard. Not looked for it on win 8 but I'm sure it's there.

This will allow you to install and use itunes, XBMC, WMC, stream (Netflix, Hubu etc) easily while being in a very small package. The only downside is your HDDs and tuners will have to be USB or streamed over your network from another machine with the tuners in.

ITX is the next step up.. still a small platform but substantially larger so you can fit HDDs inside your case. They usually only have a single PCI-E slot so tuner cards would still have to be external but does mean you can stick a decent GPU in there should you ever want to run the odd game. A GTX750ti is a pretty good choice at the moment, ~£115 and the similar performance to a GTX480

After that you're into uATX which will usually give you 2-3 PCI-E slots and another 2-3 PCI slots but the cases are again larger

When my MythTV network was full configured I had a backend myth server which had 3x tuner cards and about 6x HDDs which handled the scheduling, recording and streaming of my OTA TV channels to the 2x frontend machines around my house Myth handles this all transparently in the background so after it's set up, using any of the frontend machines is the same as if it were a combined front and backend but it can be a lot more lightweight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That is my other qualm with Apple TV; I already have a load of hardware I need to make use of, and Apple TV would defeat that purpose. This HTPC would be folding on the side, so it looks like Windows will be the way to go.
 
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