What are your planned HTPC changes over the next year? 2 years?

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
747
6
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#1
I'm currently running several Win7 WMC pcs as individual DVRs (that share recordings when they are not copy protected). For downloaded content, I use Mediabrowser/Emby, as I've always liked their WMC plugin. My recording is stored locally on each DVR, my downloads are stored on my Windows Server.

It mostly works, and the latest mediabrowser is fancy with a lot of new features, but its pretty unpolished. Videos keep stuttering, the WMC plugin crashes frequently. Not sure whats going on, currently debugging.

I've been trying out Kodi on a few machines, and that seems to work better, but Kodi is not as integrated into WMC as MB is. Kodi has a different interface, so if I switch and force my family to relearn, I better be sticking with it and not flip-flopping.

And of course, Kodi does not have DVR of protected content, at least, until the news broke of the SiliconDust DVR kickstarter. If the SD DVR software does most of what they are shooting for, good chance I will be switching to that as I would really love better whole house DVR integration.

For streaming, I've been using Mediabrowser, but it seems like Plex is the bigger player. Not sure which is the more reliable platform, as I've never used plex, but with word that the SiliconDust DVR has plex support on its priority list, I'm considering switching.

Short verison:

Plex vs Mediabrowser for someone that uses WMC but may switch to Kodi?

Do any of you use Kodi for your downloaded media in conjuction with WMC in a manner similar to the MB plugin? Does it work well?
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
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#2
I have a win7 machine with WMC as a DVR, but almost all of my viewing (including movie libraries) is through Kodi on a dedicated HTPC. One of Kodi's PVR services is called ServerWMC. You have to manually download/install it on the Windows machine as the backend, then install the addon in Kodi, but it works well and streams the shows recorded in WMC to the Kodi client machine (and you can have multiple clients). The Win7 machine is also the movie/music server. In the short term, if you want to go the Kodi route, it might be a good solution for protected content.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#3
I really need to change my livingroom system, that old ION2 box is dying on me. But I don't want to just buy another Chromebox when Skylake is so close. My hope is I can hold out until Skylake. Also I am considering switching all my skins to Mimic, I can get it looking more modern than Aeon with some tweaking. That will be a learning curve with my wife though.

Overall I plan to stick with Kodi though. I still think it is the best local content solution, especially for multiple clients. The MySQL part has been solid for me for years. I don't use the WMC DVR backend though.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
5,941
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#4
I upgraded my G620 Pentium CPU to an i3 2100, swapped the old 64GB OCZ SSD for a 120GB Crucial M500, and bumped the RAM up to 2x4GB. Only thing left to do this year is upsize the 3TB HDDs to 5TBs.

I threw my old GTX560Ti 448 in... if I ever sell it I'll replace it with a GTX750, but I'm actually pretty pleased with the old 560... keeping the fan noise down with the fan profile seems to work pretty well.

I plan on sticking with W7 and WMC/MB until it EOLs...
 
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Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
0
81
#5
My WMC/MB boxes have no stuttering issues except where my network is crappy. Zero crashes on MB plugin. I think you have some abnormal issues.

Future plans - make them smaller and less power hungry, but stay with WMC/MB until Kodi can play recorded TV content with the same polish as WMC.

I try the serverwmc/kodi option every few months, but it never seems to work well for me.
 
Nov 27, 2001
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#6
If Skylake does indeed offer hardware-based h.265 decoding, I may upgrade my upstairs HTPC to it. It's currently running an i3-3225, which works fine, but who doesn't love to tinker? :awe: My downstairs Gaming HTPC already has a GTX 960 (GTX 960 is the only GPU with a fully hardware-implemented h.265 decoder), so it's fine.

Apart from that, I'm in the Kickstarter for SiliconDust's DVR system. If that works as well as they suggest, that may end up becoming my new setup. I currently just record to whatever PC I want to watch it on, and it would be nice to easily watch on whatever TV. I'm also excited that I won't have weirdly overlapped recordings anymore. :p
 
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
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#7
My downstairs Gaming HTPC already has a GTX 960 (GTX 960 is the only GPU with a fully hardware-implemented h.265 decoder), so it's fine.
Nice.

Yeah I have high hopes for Skylake.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
5,941
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#8
My downstairs Gaming HTPC already has a GTX 960 (GTX 960 is the only GPU with a fully hardware-implemented h.265 decoder), so it's fine.
I have to axe... did you get the GTX960 specifically for the HTPC/h.265? From what I've seen, the 960 is a horrible price/perf card. Just curious... :confused:
 

lsd

Golden Member
Sep 26, 2000
1,158
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#9
I have no reason yet to upgrade the htpc's. Maybe when 4k is widely available I will do so.
I have a g3258 with wmc in the family room htpc and athlon 3850 with wmc/kodi in the theater room htpc. So far I'm not liking kodi with servermc plugin, I find the interface terrible and about every 10 minutes or so I will get buffering during live tv. I never see any sort of buffering on my extenders.
 

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
747
6
81
#10
I have a g3258 with wmc in the family room htpc and athlon 3850 with wmc/kodi in the theater room htpc.
How do you have the WMC/Kodi setup? Is Kodi with the ServerWMC plugin the main setup, or do you switch back and forth between WMC and Kodi using remote, keyboard, or other option?
 

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
747
6
81
#11
My WMC/MB boxes have no stuttering issues except where my network is crappy. Zero crashes on MB plugin. I think you have some abnormal issues.
Hmm. Possible. The network is wired gigabit between the server where the files are hosted and the main HTPC. CPU usage is low on both the HTPC and the server. I'm beginning to suspect it may have something to do with the direct play vs streaming vs transcode-streaming options. I think some of the files are either streaming or transcoding when they should not be. Like I said, when I play direct with VLC or with Kodi, I don't have the issues. The plugin does crash for me every once in awhile, usually after a resume from sleep.

Future plans - make them smaller and less power hungry, but stay with WMC/MB until Kodi can play recorded TV content with the same polish as WMC.
Thanks, this is good feedback.
 

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
747
6
81
#12
Overall I plan to stick with Kodi though. I still think it is the best local content solution, especially for multiple clients. The MySQL part has been solid for me for years. I don't use the WMC DVR backend though.
Thanks for this feedback. Kodi seems great until you get into DVR playback. Are you using Plex or anything for streaming files over the internet?

We've somewhat transitioned into using Kodi on our upstairs TV a bit, since we just naturally play downloaded shows up there. I started testing it and it seemed to work, and the wife has been okay with the interface. At this point its more of a standalone system since its the only thing I'm running Kodi on, and if we want to watch something DVR'd she just gets the keyboard and goes back to WMC.

Do you do any DVRing of cable/OTA on any system? Or is it all local kodi content?
 

lsd

Golden Member
Sep 26, 2000
1,158
3
81
#13
How do you have the WMC/Kodi setup? Is Kodi with the ServerWMC plugin the main setup, or do you switch back and forth between WMC and Kodi using remote, keyboard, or other option?
Kodi is a menu item plugin within wmc. When I'm in Kodi and I want to get back to wmc I can just hit the green button.
 

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
747
6
81
#14
Kodi is a menu item plugin within wmc. When I'm in Kodi and I want to get back to wmc I can just hit the green button.
You don't say....

Well now I feel dumb. Did not know you could set it up like that.

I had seen plugins that give Kodi an icon in WMC, but I never tried them because I always had trouble getting back out of Kodi. I (more like the rest of the users in my house) had trouble finding the shutdown button, then you had to select shutdown - exit Kodi. But if you can go back with just hitting the green button...interesting.

BTW, not that it matters too much, but does Kodi continue to run underneath WMC, or does hitting the green button actually close Kodi? If it runs parallel, what happens if media is currently playing? Do you have the possibility to have 2 things playing at once (and thus, a double audio stream)?
 
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
2
126
#15
Thanks for this feedback. Kodi seems great until you get into DVR playback. Are you using Plex or anything for streaming files over the internet?
I do have a Plex server and subscription yes. I just use it for when I away from the house, and even then I find myself using it less and less as my pen drives get bigger.

We've somewhat transitioned into using Kodi on our upstairs TV a bit, since we just naturally play downloaded shows up there. I started testing it and it seemed to work, and the wife has been okay with the interface.
Don't get her too hooked until you try some skins. The default one is so-so. My favorite is AEON.

Do you do any DVRing of cable/OTA on any system? Or is it all local kodi content?
It is mostly local content. I do a little OTA via the Tvheadend backend and my HDhomerun. I don't have any experience with WMC or restrictive flags though.
 

lsd

Golden Member
Sep 26, 2000
1,158
3
81
#16
You don't say....

Well now I feel dumb. Did not know you could set it up like that.

I had seen plugins that give Kodi an icon in WMC, but I never tried them because I always had trouble getting back out of Kodi. I (more like the rest of the users in my house) had trouble finding the shutdown button, then you had to select shutdown - exit Kodi. But if you can go back with just hitting the green button...interesting.

BTW, not that it matters too much, but does Kodi continue to run underneath WMC, or does hitting the green button actually close Kodi? If it runs parallel, what happens if media is currently playing? Do you have the possibility to have 2 things playing at once (and thus, a double audio stream)?
Yes Kodi will still be running but all you really have to do is hit the stop button before hitting the green button. While watching live TV in kodi if I hit the stop button it will kick me back to the main menu.
 

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
747
6
81
#17
Yes Kodi will still be running but all you really have to do is hit the stop button before hitting the green button. While watching live TV in kodi if I hit the stop button it will kick me back to the main menu.
Yeah I feel like that could be a problem with the 'tier 2' users (my parents and my in-laws). My wife gets WMC, but for really basic people the only thing they've managed to learn is "the green button lets you start over if you get confused". They get confused a lot.

Now if I could maybe do some programming such that hitting the green button does a kill command on kodi and drops you back to WMC, that might work.
 
Nov 27, 2001
29,007
37
126
#19
I have to axe... did you get the GTX960 specifically for the HTPC/h.265? From what I've seen, the 960 is a horrible price/perf card. Just curious... :confused:
The 960 isn't a bad card. It just isn't as good as the 970 is when it comes to price/performance. As a PC card, it usually gets dinged because it can't handle resolutions greater than 1080p very well due to its 2GB frame buffer (there are 4GB models), but that's not a problem with HTPCs since most people probably only have 1080p TVs anyway.

The card actually has a good price/performance ratio compared to the 980, and it helped that I had a discount at Newegg that brought it down to $200 (a Gigabyte G1 Gaming model), and then I had an AMEX discount when spending $200 at Newegg. I ended up paying about $180 for the card. Full h.265 was really just icing on the cake when you consider that it's also really quiet given the lower heat output. Unless I'm playing a game, the fans never spin up.

I actually thought about buying a 970 since it's a better card, but I just didn't want to spend the ~80% extra.

Kodi is a menu item plugin within wmc. When I'm in Kodi and I want to get back to wmc I can just hit the green button.
To note, I do the same thing with PLEX. Although, for some reason, when I turn my TV back on, it will sometimes bring WMC back to the foreground, and other times, it leaves PLEX there. I find this happens more on the Gaming HTPC than the normal HTPC. It isn't a huge deal since the PLEX icon in WMC just pulls the already running instance back up.
 
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lsd

Golden Member
Sep 26, 2000
1,158
3
81
#20
Yeah I feel like that could be a problem with the 'tier 2' users (my parents and my in-laws). My wife gets WMC, but for really basic people the only thing they've managed to learn is "the green button lets you start over if you get confused". They get confused a lot.

Now if I could maybe do some programming such that hitting the green button does a kill command on kodi and drops you back to WMC, that might work.
I'd avoid wmc/kodi with family usage. If you hit the wrong remote button while in kodi it will bring up wmc and it can get aggravating sometimes.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
42,805
273
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#21
I think a combination of a gaming PC & an HTPC next year:

1. Gaming PC: Maybe try out the 120/144hz monitors, or an Oculus Rift dev kit. $350 seems pretty reasonable for what you get with the 3D headset. This is assuming Steam Streaming does in fact work well, because I'd like to shoot it over to the HTPC's projector . I have a million games to catch up on, I think the last ones I seriously played were Portal 2 & the HL2 episodes.

2. HTPC: Currently considering an MSI Cubi, which is apparently capable of running the Dolphin emulator. So throw on Steam Streaming, Dolphin, Maximus Arcade, Plex, and Stepmania. Thinking about getting another DDR setup for a quasi-cardio setup, maybe a higher-end dual metal pad setup; Crypt of the Necrodancer looks pretty fun too.

I'm in the process of building several DIY projector screens (black ambient light screen, mirror-based screen, etc.) so I'll see what turns out the best. Love having a big screen, but also interest in the HFR monitors & 3D headsets for funsies. Not so much interested in DVR anymore.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
42,805
273
126
#22
I'd avoid wmc/kodi with family usage. If you hit the wrong remote button while in kodi it will bring up wmc and it can get aggravating sometimes.
This is why I have 3 Roku's...living room TV, basement projector, small TV on my elliptical. Same interface, easy to reset if locked up, family-friendly. Easy access to Youtube, Plex, Netflix, Amazon, etc. plus you don't have to aim the remote, which is nice.
 

lsd

Golden Member
Sep 26, 2000
1,158
3
81
#24
This is why I have 3 Roku's...living room TV, basement projector, small TV on my elliptical. Same interface, easy to reset if locked up, family-friendly. Easy access to Youtube, Plex, Netflix, Amazon, etc. plus you don't have to aim the remote, which is nice.
Which is exactly why I have relegated my roku HD to the kids play room 32" tv. However my 4yr old prefers wmc on the family room tv, she's been using it since she was 2 1/2. Live tv through the roku emby channel is terrible.

My wmc / kodi HT setup runs primarily full size blu ray rips, no transcoding/ streaming on an expensive 100" screen here. The only reason I'm running kodi is because of servermc which allows me get to away with not dedicating a tuner to the theater pc, otherwise I'd just use wmc.
 

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
747
6
81
#25
Live tv through the roku emby channel is terrible.

My wmc / kodi HT setup runs primarily full size blu ray rips, no transcoding/ streaming on an expensive 100" screen here. The only reason I'm running kodi is because of servermc which allows me get to away with not dedicating a tuner to the theater pc, otherwise I'd just use wmc.
I had been planning on testing the emby TV through serverWMC. We don't have any rokus but that might change in the future.

I'd avoid wmc/kodi with family usage. If you hit the wrong remote button while in kodi it will bring up wmc and it can get aggravating sometimes.
Good to know, again thanks. I think I might leave Kodi setup as a backup for blu-ray rips and testing features, but leave it off of the main interface and just stick with WMC/emby for 'production' use.

I talked to my wife about it last night, and she mentioned that she had gotten so sick of the stuttering while playing through emby that she went and opened the files directly through windows explorer off of the server and still got stuttering. I had assumed that was not the case originally.

So, it seems to either be a local performance issue, a network bandwidth issue, or something is clogging up the file server. Time to get testing I suppose, but it doesn't seem as related to emby as I originally thought.
 
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