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Old 02-27-2013, 07:03 PM   #1
Twinpeaksr
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Default Linux/NUC HTPC

Been studying to build a HTPC, wondering if anyone has tried I NUC/Linux system?

My Plan is:

Intel NUC Kit with Dual HDMI, Gigabit LAN, Core i3-3217U DC3217IYE
Crucial m4 32GB mSATA Internal Solid State Drive CT032M4SSD3
Crucial 4GB Single DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin
Mele F10 3 in 1 Fly/air Mouse+wireless Keyboard+remote Control Universal Pc Tv

I will then have it access my Server where the Media is/will be stored. I plan on using XMBC on Ubuntu. My goal is to use this as a learning prototype, if it works well I may use up to 10 of these throughout the house.

To the experts out there, does this seem like a plan that can see great success, or is it doomed to failure?

Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:36 PM   #2
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What media do you plan to pay on it?
Will there a wife and/or kids using the machine(s)?
Any gaming?

A hacked AppleTV can do basic tasks with XBMC, so you may consider that option at the less critical points in the house. I haven't used one myself, but I believe that they may be a little laggy, especially compared to an i3 system. I haven't looked into these in a while.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:20 PM   #3
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Music, DVD, Blu-Ray, Pictures... 1080P is required. Amazon Prime would be nice, but if not Internet Browser should support.

Others will eventually use this, but this is the prototype.

No Gaming.

Thanks for the AppleTV idea, but I refuse to use Apple products. Not looking for a fight, just a personal decision.

Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:30 AM   #4
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Well, I am impatient and ordered this, we shall see how this goes...
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinpeaksr View Post
Music, DVD, Blu-Ray, Pictures... 1080P is required. Amazon Prime would be nice, but if not Internet Browser should support.

Others will eventually use this, but this is the prototype.

No Gaming.

Thanks for the AppleTV idea, but I refuse to use Apple products. Not looking for a fight, just a personal decision.

Thanks!
Blue Ray doesn't play well with Linux unless you rip the discs.

Amazon prime works as well on XBMC as it does in a browser. That is, there are TV shows in 720p HD, but movies are only SD. They limit movie HD movies to official devices and file downloads.

Everything else should work fine.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:48 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info.

Plan to rip all my disks, I hope to have several of these setup accessing a centeral server, so I should never be playing off the disk.

The movie restriction on Amazon sucks, but I use it mostly for TV shows, if I like the movie I will buy it.

Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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Well I completed the build with the NUC thought I would give feedback for anyone else that is thinking about it:

Setup:
- NUC w/4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, Ubuntu 12.10, XBMC 12, MeLe RF Remote
- Media is on my server, 2TB RAID running Ubuntu (Server will be upgraded to 20TB in the future
- All communication through Gigabit 3Com switch
- NUC connected via HDMI to Anthem AVM20HD (AVM50), then to Hitachi 42" Plasma 720P

Pro:
- This this performs great. Streaming BluRay with very little issue (still have a few that skip, but I believe this is an XBMC setting, still learning the setup)
- Interface is very quick and responsive, no issue with lag, no issue with delay in loading ISO
- MP4 playback has been flawless
- the NUC is tiny, hidden behind my center speaker.
- the NUC is silent
- Software (Ubuntu/XBMC) install had no issues, all hardware detected and worked without intervention
- Fast Boot, about 12 seconds

Con (more like lessons learned):
- Had issues getting audio at first. found that once you setup on one HDMI, if you plug into the other HDMI you need to switch which one has audio. Not hard, but a good note.
- Default settings did not work in XBMC for ISO BluRay. a bit of trial and error and it was working well, still tracking down a bit of skipping on some disks (15% of ones played so far)
- Get a directory structure and naming convention setup to being with. XBMC forums and wikis give good ideas on how to do that. This will provide better scraping without the rework. Also note that the TVDB scraper defaults to series order not DVD order. this can cause issues with some series on DVD.
- There is some clipping occuring with the 720P TV, but I think that is due to an odd setup. Hitatchi used what they called 1080HD with is not really 720P and not quite 1080, I need to play with some settings and see if I can correct, but it is something I can live with.

Final Thoughts:
- Overall I would recommend this setup, for ~$400 you get an HTPC that has plenty of capability and is in a nice small form factor. the one draw back is that if you don't have a NAS or Media Server, you will not store a lot on the NUC.
- Plan is to have about 6 of these all over the house, I am hoping that I will be able to setup XBMC to use one master DB for access so I don't have to keep them all up to date, but I have some time to learn I am sure I can come up with something.
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Last edited by Twinpeaksr; 03-11-2013 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Additional Content
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:21 PM   #8
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Rock on. I've been using the NUC as a HTPC since November or December of last year. Originally went with OpenELEC flavor of XBMC, which didn't have the updated Intel HD4000 graphics drivers in the kernel. Switched to Windows 8 and XBMC and haven't looked back.

Highly recommend it!
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:58 AM   #9
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great thread and the NUC looks like the perfect HTPC device.

is it a fanless device?
i saw a fanless silvstone case designed for NUC and i see the bare bones systems on newegg (but not sure if those a fanless or not). if the newegg ones are then i think i'll go for that.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinpeaksr View Post
Been studying to build a HTPC, wondering if anyone has tried I NUC/Linux system?

My Plan is:

Intel NUC Kit with Dual HDMI, Gigabit LAN, Core i3-3217U DC3217IYE
Crucial m4 32GB mSATA Internal Solid State Drive CT032M4SSD3
Crucial 4GB Single DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin
Mele F10 3 in 1 Fly/air Mouse+wireless Keyboard+remote Control Universal Pc Tv

I will then have it access my Server where the Media is/will be stored. I plan on using XMBC on Ubuntu. My goal is to use this as a learning prototype, if it works well I may use up to 10 of these throughout the house.

To the experts out there, does this seem like a plan that can see great success, or is it doomed to failure?

Thanks!
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Last edited by Kendray; 03-28-2013 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonelciller View Post
great thread and the NUC looks like the perfect HTPC device.

is it a fanless device?
i saw a fanless silvstone case designed for NUC and i see the bare bones systems on newegg (but not sure if those a fanless or not). if the newegg ones are then i think i'll go for that.
It's definitely not fanless. The fan is on the other side of the PCB. It can get kinda loud at times. I notice it the most when I'm scrolling through the movie list on XBMC.
See here, scroll down about half-way: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6444/i...uting-hands-on

It was absolutely silent when I was running OpenELEC. Now I can hear it after installing Win8.. Just haven't had time to look into it.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:59 AM   #12
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Fan noise is not something I have noticed when playing back with Ubuntu/XBMC, but I run at higher volumes through my amps.

Ran 4 HD movies back to back last weekend without any hickups, I am sure the fan was running at least some of the time, but I did not notice it.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencers View Post
Rock on. I've been using the NUC as a HTPC since November or December of last year. Originally went with OpenELEC flavor of XBMC, which didn't have the updated Intel HD4000 graphics drivers in the kernel. Switched to Windows 8 and XBMC and haven't looked back.

Highly recommend it!
Glad to hear I am not other only one who has found this to be perfect for HTPC.

Thanks!
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:45 AM   #14
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I've been using a NUC htpc with w7 since some time last year. It's great. Small, quiet, capable.

I use it as my dvr to record tv. Very little local storage so I set it up to automatically move recordings to my home media server.

Haven't had issues playing anything back streamed from my server. Use xbmc and wmc.

Con I had was initial problems with live tv and recording live tv. Pixelation and stuttering. I have the hdhomerun prime tuner. A plugable USB Ethernet dongle instead of the Ethernet on the NUC completely solved that issue. I have no idea why.
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