• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."
  • Community Question: What makes a good motherboard?

My HTPC...a failure

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

colonelciller

Senior member
Sep 29, 2012
916
0
0
HTPC should be a player only... not a ripper, converter, game center, etc.
once you go beyond just simply playing you no longer have an HTPC... you have a PC

keep it simple

**windows 7 professional or ultimate
**vlc media player for video
**music player of choice capable pf playing all formats that interest you


nothing else

store all media on a home server or via shared folders on a desktop computer located in another room. connect the HTPC to home router by a wired connection.

imho a HTPC should never ever have any moving parts (aside from a dvd).
NO fans NO spinning drives. silence is golden.

if you really want simple connect HTPC to DAC... DAC to AMP... Amp to speakers
Bel Canto is stunningly simple.. 1 dial. not cheap though and only 2 channels. they sound fantastic though
http://www.belcantodesign.com/

even better... skip winOS...golinux. load nothing on it but music player, VLC.. desktop shortcuts to media folders located onhome server... (my dream machine)... fanless... silent... simple... no big brother
 

black0ut

Member
Feb 23, 2013
26
0
0
Get a universal remote. Harmony one lets you program certain buttons to do complicated actions.

After you get sick of harmony's garbage button press buffering, upgrade to a URC remote :).
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
I agree OP XBMC does have some problems for the untrained. I think these are things that the XBMC community can either A) make an addon to solve or B) actually solve it client side.

It really shouldn't be complicated to use and I too OP had trouble with getting XBMC to do exactly what I want. I wouldn't consider your HTPC to be a failure at all. You've run into some bumps that are going to need some smoothing. The end product should be spectacular though. Or at least I hope so =D. XBMC doesn't run well for me on my current dedicated PC but then again it isn't even hooked up to a TV so I'm not too worried. I just been testing and getting familiar with it. Next step is to iron on the kinks so it's easy for anyone to use although I think some of it has to do with the fact that it's running on a PC that is 10 years old.

If you haven't though try WMC/MB, follow a guide, make sure you actually buy the stuff you're supposed to (I tried without buying the stuff and it was just horrible which is why I'm using XBMC), and see how it works for you. Even with my kinks in XBMC so far, I definitely will be using it as my front end.

The best part about XBMC though is the community. If you can think of well thought out solutions to XBMCs problems bring it up on the forums. I'm sure you can get it in a new release soon after or as an addon.
 

wirednuts

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2007
7,121
1
0
I find that the key for my better half to use XBMC is to use an iPad as a remote control. Movie selections is done on the iPad (she doesn't use the remote control-mode of the app very often - Selections are done w/o looking up to the TV/projector screen).

ding ding ding.

it works SO well, that youll notice its actually easier to control everything with your phone. yahtse remote is what you want, the og app doesnt work right.

im even implementing this setup in my car. xbmc on a raspberry pi, and a 3.5" phone for the control. no reaching to the dash and pecking at the screen, everything is just a flick of the thumb. or i just speak into the remote for what i want :D. and i can control it from outside the car- great for music at campsites and such.
 

thestrangebrew1

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2011
3,049
175
106
I find that the key for my better half to use XBMC is to use an iPad as a remote control. Movie selections is done on the iPad (she doesn't use the remote control-mode of the app very often - Selections are done w/o looking up to the TV/projector screen).
Yea I'll have to look into this for my wife. We don't have an ipad but we do have an N7 that supposedly you can use as a remote. She's also got an iphone so maybe that will work too. Right now we're using a candyboard with a trackpad, but a remote would make it so much easier for the wife and kids.

We don't do much with the htpc though. It's strictly for streaming movies from my server. My other one, I'll probably install steam and find some kid friendly games for my 3.5 yr old but that's about it.
 

radtechtips

Senior member
Feb 12, 2013
661
1
76
Did you looked at element os, its a ubuntu variant i think. Iv never used it but i saw some screen shots and the apps were layed out like a tablet on the home scree
 

wirednuts

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2007
7,121
1
0
Yea I'll have to look into this for my wife. We don't have an ipad but we do have an N7 that supposedly you can use as a remote. She's also got an iphone so maybe that will work too. Right now we're using a candyboard with a trackpad, but a remote would make it so much easier for the wife and kids.

We don't do much with the htpc though. It's strictly for streaming movies from my server. My other one, I'll probably install steam and find some kid friendly games for my 3.5 yr old but that's about it.
even a 3.5" phone works great. any android phone will. it takes little cpu power and it just runs through wifi.

do it yesterday. it is a night and day difference when using xbmc because you do everything from the phone. and everything on the phone app is very intuitive. AND, if you do find something you cant do with the phone, there are directional keys to navigate with. but, for the most part, the whole library is right there in your hand, just select what you want and sit back.
 

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
7,175
423
126
Like AnitaPeterson opines, we just use the standard Win7 Home shell with Power DVD handling the playback chores. Honestly no one spends a lot of time looking at the interface, its disc playback, Netflix, YouTube, etc. in full screen over 90% of the time. We have a wireless keyboard with an integrated trackball, the only complaint is I can't find one with a trackball that works good and holds up over time. No one has complained that it is overly complicated.
I'm in the same boat. Just plain ol' Windows- but with a few tweaks to make it more HTPC friendly.

I used to use xlobby which was the best HTPC front-end ever IMHO- it just made sense, you could customize it anyway you wanted, create your own buttons to launch any function, make any and every thing (fonts, icons, graphics, buttons, data fields, backgrounds, database categories etc.) any size, shape, location you wanted. WAF was 100% because I could custom-tailor it to anything my wife needed. ("Why isn't there a button right here to go straight to my playlists?" *click* done!)

But since that whole thing went commercial (and then belly-up) I never found anything else that didn't frustrate me too much, and all with very low WAF.

So now I simply have Windows 7, custom font at 150%, large, clearly labeled desktop shortcuts to launch everything we use- and really it works perfectly. The desktop itself is the only 10ft. interface we really need.

End of the day, the old way was much 'slicker' but if I'm honest, the best thing about it was showing it all off when friends were over. "Holy crap, that's cool! I want that in my house!" Makes you feel like all the tweaking effort was worth it.

But it was all just eye-candy- the primary goal is really just to watch/listen to some entertainment, and truth-be-told, Windows does that easily without all the other fluff.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
...the primary goal is really just to watch/listen to some entertainment, and truth-be-told, Windows does that easily without all the other fluff.
That was the conclusion I reached... W7 with WMC and Media Browser. Pretty much idiot proof, didn't require far-reaching tweaking, and runs about 99.9% of the time. I didn't have that with even XBMC...
 

wirednuts

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2007
7,121
1
0
I think you lose degradation around 50' depending on materials used to construct the cable. Not 100% though. Just seem to remember reading that somewhere.
generally, this is spot on. most cables can make it 50ft, some more some less. 25' is fairly guaranteed, but then again there are some pooly made cables out there that have trouble at 6'

but, 90% of the time, 50' can be done with any 50' hdmi cable. for a time being anyway. ive seen it a few times where it works for months, then it doesnt. we suspect the video chip driving the signal degrade a little, which forces us to use active extenders.
 

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
0
0
I think you lose degradation around 50' depending on materials used to construct the cable. Not 100% though. Just seem to remember reading that somewhere.
I think thats long enough to reach from our media pc to the tv
generally, this is spot on. most cables can make it 50ft, some more some less. 25' is fairly guaranteed, but then again there are some pooly made cables out there that have trouble at 6'

but, 90% of the time, 50' can be done with any 50' hdmi cable. for a time being anyway. ive seen it a few times where it works for months, then it doesnt. we suspect the video chip driving the signal degrade a little, which forces us to use active extenders.
Check out redmere HDMI cables at monoprice. I just ordered one for a 30' install I am doing. Haven't used it yet so can't tell you first hand how it works.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10255&cs_id=1025503&p_id=9430&seq=1&format=2
 

AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
5,648
41
91
HTPC should be a player only... not a ripper, converter, game center, etc.
once you go beyond just simply playing you no longer have an HTPC... you have a PC

keep it simple

**windows 7 professional or ultimate
**vlc media player for video
**music player of choice capable pf playing all formats that interest you

Why bother then? What you just described is a Blu-Ray player with MKV and WiFi capability. :D
 

crashtech

Diamond Member
Jan 4, 2013
9,541
1,459
126
Why bother then? What you just described is a Blu-Ray player with MKV and WiFi capability. :D
Once in a while a houseguest will use our Win7 HTPC to look at something on the net, or even check an email if they don't have their device with them. It seems pretty handy and I think it makes people feel welcome.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
There is a lot more to an HTPC than streaming ripped movies or playing a BD... we use ours to source instructional and documentary education videos and stuff like that off the web for our daughter (we home school.)
 

monkey333

Senior member
Apr 20, 2007
790
4
81
Recent xbmc convert, it's too complicated?!? My only issue is maintenance with the media, but I could fix that, adding media that is.
 

wirednuts

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2007
7,121
1
0

Riddlinkidstoner

Senior member
Sep 3, 2006
272
0
0
I find that the key for my better half to use XBMC is to use an iPad as a remote control. Movie selections is done on the iPad (she doesn't use the remote control-mode of the app very often - Selections are done w/o looking up to the TV/projector screen).
This. The XBMC app for the iPad was phenomenal for ease of use when I had it setup. Of course the actual setup part was tedious but well worth it.
 

Chrishuff1

Platinum Member
Jul 25, 2000
2,780
0
71
Check out Meedios. Excellent front end. I'm surprised no one recommends it on this forum, it's freakin fantastic and super easy to setup!
 

cheez

Golden Member
Nov 19, 2010
1,722
67
91
we use ours to source instructional and documentary education videos and stuff like that off the web for our daughter (we home school.)
I didn't know you can do that. That's kind of bad in some ways. The kids not interacting with other kids will problems later on. Need socialization.

:D
 

crashtech

Diamond Member
Jan 4, 2013
9,541
1,459
126
I didn't know you can do that. That's kind of bad in some ways. The kids not interacting with other kids will problems later on. Need socialization.

:D
Are you sure this sort of value judgement is appropriate, given the dearth of information? Certainly your comment is not at all topical.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY