Idle SSD... want to try something new in HTPC-land

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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#1
Even though I'm running WMC with Media Browser on the HTPC... very happily I might add... I know that some day WMC will die. To that end, I'd like to experiment with some of the other HTPC options out there. I have a idle 120GB SSD in my desktop (not the HTPC... yet... but I may install it there eventually) that I can use in a dual-boot setup.

What would be something to try that could eventually replace WMC and it's ease of use? (with emphasis on ease of use.... my wife has to be able to use it.)

We don't have cable, we don't stream TV. We watch video stored on local disks, almost all in MP4 format, and we stream Netflix. Although I am only running audio through an old 2.0 analog system now, eventually it will get upgraded to 5.1... but that may be neither here or there for this experiment. Sent to a 60" 1080 panel via HDMI. We control the HTPC with a generic Rosewill W7 remote.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#2
Kodi is the WAF HTPC king. It is open source so no dead end ever, and it has skins that make WMC look like Windows 2000. Should work good with that remote in Openelec. Give Openelec a spin, the media applianceness of it rivals a roku.

In order for it to work optimally though you need to have some other box (smart Blu Ray player, game console, etc.) take over Netflix duties. Or consider another box that can do both if you like Kodi (aka the FireTV).
 
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Charlie98

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Nov 6, 2011
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#3
Kodi is the WAF HTPC king. It is open source so no dead end ever, and it has skins that make WMC look like Windows 2000. Should work good with that remote in Openelec. Give Openelec a spin, the media applianceness of it rivals a roku.

In order for it to work optimally though you need to have some other box (smart Blu Ray player, game console, etc.) take over Netflix duties. Or consider another box that can do both if you like Kodi (aka the FireTV).
I should have added that I originally tried XBMC (pre-Kodi) and didn't really care for it... but in all honesty, I didn't mess with it all that much, either, opting to go with WMC. This was within Windows, by the way, not as a standalone.

And, truth being stranger than fiction... I'd take a Win2K look. I like plain and simple... I don't need a whirling dervish of a GUI to entertain me, I just need a simple one to get to my movies or Netflix.

We do have a BD/Netflix player... as a spare in case the HTPC ever went down. I don't really want to split duties between 2 different devices... that adds a layer of complexity that I know I will eventually hear about. :eek:
 
May 15, 2000
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How long ago did you try xbmc/kodi? I was running jrivers media center 18 for awhile and I ran xbmc along with it and I wasn't impressed.

While I love the video quality of mc 18, I didn't like that when you pay for it it's only good for one version (not a big deal when most companies release major releases every couple of years) but they upgraded their software frequently and the changes between versions wasn't that big.

Anyway, so I gave xbmc/kodi a try again and after tweaking it and getting the best addons for it, it's now my go to device and I'm trying to figure out how to get it on more tv's without a full blown PC (it is possible and there are a ton of options).

So I'd give kodi another try. You can try a live cd version of openelec I believe which would make it super easy to experiment with.

I forgot to mention, no native netflix/hulu support does suck and having a second box just for that is unacceptable to me.
If both are important to you, you can make it work if you run kodi on windows.
 
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Nov 22, 2008
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I am surprised... no love for Plex?
 

Charlie98

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Nov 6, 2011
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#6
I forgot to mention, no native netflix/hulu support does suck and having a second box just for that is unacceptable to me.
If both are important to you, you can make it work if you run kodi on windows.
If I have to run Kodi through Windows to get Netflix... I might as well keep using WMC.

Right now I have Kodi running through W7 on my desktop, even with a different skin (eminence) it's still the same old XBMC. I'll have to work with it some more before I jump in with a standalone version.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
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#8
I should have added that I originally tried XBMC (pre-Kodi) and didn't really care for it... but in all honesty, I didn't mess with it all that much, either, opting to go with WMC. This was within Windows, by the way, not as a standalone.

And, truth being stranger than fiction... I'd take a Win2K look. I like plain and simple... I don't need a whirling dervish of a GUI to entertain me, I just need a simple one to get to my movies or Netflix.

We do have a BD/Netflix player... as a spare in case the HTPC ever went down. I don't really want to split duties between 2 different devices... that adds a layer of complexity that I know I will eventually hear about. :eek:
While I haven't used Netflix on my media center for awhile (I just use the Netflix app on the TV itself) I did use an add on that allowed XBMC\Kodi to launch Netflix and return back to XBMC\Kodi when I exited out of Netflix.

From the user perspective it was fairly seamless.

With the Bluray drive installed, I also had it set up to be able to play from bluray disc from within XBMC however I haven't done that in ages.
Pop in the disc and play.

The one thing I would recommend is to make sure the naming convention of your files and folders follow their recommendations so that the scrapers pick everything up properly.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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#9
If I have to run Kodi through Windows to get Netflix... I might as well keep using WMC.
I'm going to resurrect this thread because things have changed... and not for the better. :'(

Of course, we all know Netflix dropped WMC support, so now I'm having to use IE to watch Netflix (because selecting Netflix within WMC just opens a IE window, anyway.) The W7/WMC remote I have doesn't play well with Windows, of course, and I'm wondering if I have any recourse? Yes, my TV has a Netflix shortcut, but I would have to listen to it through the TV speakers.

Does the Harmony remote work with IE?

If I wind up switching to Kodi (or other) will my WMC (or Harmony, et al) remote work in Kodi?

I still like MediaPortal...
I have it downloaded, I just haven't fooled with it, yet. :)
 
Nov 22, 2008
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Why dont you just get a keyboard with touch pad?
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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I recently (reluctantly) converted from WMC/MB3 clients. I just got tired of maintaining two full HTPC client machines and a Win8 server around the house, just to play TV and movies. I moved to using the Win8 server as the OTA recording box and file server, still on WMC8.1, but the client machines are a Shield box and a Raspberry Pi2. The old Win7 client boxes are sitting in a pile collecting dust.

The kodi switch will not be painless for you! Eventually, my wife stopped complaining. Maybe yours will too. Mine mostly complained about the recorded TV performance (WMC content), and she wasn't wrong - the recorded OTA performance of Kodi is just not as good as the native WMC experience. If you are using WMC to record OTA content, you will have to jump through additional hoops to get things working effectively.

For Netflix and local movie content, I see zero reason to do anything other than a shield console. It does all of the streaming sources except for Amazon Prime (which can be hacked in, if needed), and it does it soooo easily. It works with Harmony remotes and/or the bundled game controller or remote control. This would be my #1 choice by far. The Rpi2 is also a capable box and MUCH cheaper, but it is more complicated to get working, it is limited on the streaming sources, and it is slightly slower when bouncing around Kodi menus. Unless you REALLY need something smaller and cheaper, the shield wins hand down.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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#13
WMC/MB is just such a good combo together... I know The Day is coming, I just don't want it to get here.

I've also considered turning the HTPC into a server, and then running some sort of streaming device at the TVs... but that may be a bit over my head.

The bit I've messed with Kodi... I just found it clumsy. We really don't do multimedia stuff... no music, TV, cable... nothing. Just Netflix and recorded movies, primarily.

A lot of people are raving about the Shield... I'll have to look at it, too.

Because I don't want to upgrade W7 in 2020, I may wind up switching to some sort of Ubuntu OS... which probably means Kodi in any event. I just keep hoping someone will come up with a new and improved WMC.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#14
I just keep hoping someone will come up with a new and improved WMC.
I am convinced that is what the jRiver folks are trying to do. I don't think they are going to get into protected content by themselves though. They really piggyback on MS.
 

Charlie98

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Nov 6, 2011
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#15
I am convinced that is what the jRiver folks are trying to do. I don't think they are going to get into protected content by themselves though. They really piggyback on MS.
I don't get you... how so? :confused:
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#16

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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#17
They really want to be the replacement for WMC, but I don't see them getting past this now. We will see, maybe TV Plus will still exist.
Minus the cable card issue, is it viable? I just downloaded the trial, I'll have to give it a look this weekend.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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Minus the cable card issue, is it viable? I just downloaded the trial, I'll have to give it a look this weekend.
jRiver? Yeah sure, it is pretty nice. It has some really nice skins, it has nice bonuses like MadVR support, it can do live TV pretty well from what I understand (haven't tried that part). They do a good job on staying on the cutting edge.

Not customizable enough for me plugin-wise but as a WMC replacement it does a great job. I am sad the kickstarter failed.
 

n0x1ous

Platinum Member
Sep 9, 2010
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#19
Plex? will definitely be tops if you want ease of use for the wife.
 
Apr 1, 2011
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Have literally been looking at the same things as the OP in the past couple weeks.

Was pleasantly surprised to find the Emby have an official Kodi plugin available on their page.

Emby server is still used as the file & metadata manager.
Kodi is the sexy front end.

Have been using it instead of the Emby WMC for the past couple weeks and must admit the general interface is much more fluid. It's also handling all video containers natively with ease (haven't come across anything it can't play yet).

https://emby.media/downloads/emby-for-kodi/

Good luck!
 

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