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joemac

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PostSubject: HTPC   March 4th 2014, 8:56 pm

About to give DirecTV the boot.

Anyone build a Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC)? Care to share your build? I was looking at two ends of the scale. Mini bare bones box, add memory and SSD. Or build your own, mini-ITX size MB, case, power supply, proc, etc.

Here's the small power efficient built solution. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119086

The Foxconn little box is about $200 cheaper than the build your own config I've tossed together.

Thoughts? Experiences?
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TheQuig

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 4th 2014, 9:27 pm

No, but i'm interested in how yours turns out. I have to replace the TV in the family room soon.

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Diesel Dan

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 5th 2014, 1:26 am

In the process of taking a short computer building course.
Even before the class all the computer people I've talked to do not like to use mini-cases.

Pre-assmbled units are almost always cheaper because of cheaper components.
A custom built unit for a specific use should out perform the off the shelf unit for similar cost or cheaper.
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joemac

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 5th 2014, 12:43 pm

The setup I'm moving away from is DirecTV.  Three DVR's at every TV location.  Going with my local cable provider I can get about 80% of the DTV content for $75 less a month.  Other reasoning is IMHO the content on most TV sucks and I dislike paying an ever increasing price for crappier and crappier content.  Some of this I blame DTV and then the other is the media companies.

Long term goal is to get rid of any TV provider and get all content via internet TV providers.  Most of which you have to pay a nominal fee, however least I'm paying for the content I want to watch and not for channels I would have no intention to ever watch but forced to pay for under the all encompassing schemes shellacked together by the providers and federal government.  Referring to no ala-cart channels.

Some people in my house aren't as forward thinking as I, thus the interim cable solution is merely a stepping stone.  Smile

My first step toward a streaming infrastructure was using what I have on hand and adding a small amount of ancillary gear and it appears I'm going to have to spend some coin as some of my gear is not sufficient to handle what I'm asking of it.

My current solution tuning uses a five plus year old Win7 64 bit AMD 2.3 Ghz quad core, 8 GB ram with SSD drive running OS, running WMC, HDHR Fling, and Plex.  The intent is to toss this box in a closet and have it stream live and or recorded content to a client like PS3, Roku, Xbox or similar dumb cheap DLNA, DTC-IP, or HTTP streaming solution.

Plex and WMC run fine.  It's the live TV transcoding done by HDHR Fling that's the issue on the box above.  Roku's can only display successful on a low quality setting, that's not acceptable.  Tablets and such are confined to stream at low equality as well.  I'm not certain HDHR Fling is the long term solution though it's what I have available and somewhat working today.

As a test I tossed another box Win7 64 bit, Intel i5-3570k 3.4 GHz quad core (3.8 GHz TB), 32 GB ram box with WMC and HDHR Fling to replace my legacy AMD box the results were certainly acceptable.   I can't commit this box for this purpose.  Thus the search for a solution.

Two ends of the spectrum for options.

The Foxconn box Win7 64 bit, Intel i7-3517U 1.9 GHz dual core (2.8 GHz TB) on 4 logical cores (hyper threading), 8 GB ram, SSD. $600 solution

BMO Corsair 250D mini-ITX case, ASUS H87I-P LGA150 MB, Intel i5-4440S quad core 2.8 GHz (3.3 GHz TB), some video card, 8 GB ram, Corsair water cooler, SSD, Rosewill HIVE ATX power supply. Close to $800 solution.

In all my testing it seems the processor is the largest consideration, surprisingly there wasn't much of any requirement of ram. My legacy box with 8GB was using 3 to 4 and and wasn't swapping.

Instead of pushing this new box into the closet I may have it via the video card directly connect to the family room TV, then only have streaming considerations for the other two.  Putting this box in the family room also makes available the TV guide for selecting shows to record.  Will also need to buy a inexpensive IR remote and receiver to operate the PC functions.

Everything is GigE CAT5 ethernet network connected.

There are windows media extenders available that would resolve a bunch of this, though many issues and reviews are pretty harsh.  There's not big support from the vendors on these either, just a handful of them are available.

Spending the coin pushes my RIO out in the range of  nine months to a year.

Any other ideas or experiences?
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joemac

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 5th 2014, 6:21 pm

Intel NUC lineup is another option.
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Truth
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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 5th 2014, 9:58 pm

Can't use an AMD A series processor? Should be plenty fast and cheaper to boot.
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joemac

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 5th 2014, 11:37 pm

I was seriously considering an AMD A10-5800K or A10-5700 initially.  Though likely went way conservative on the final choice of the i5-4440S and spent a little extra as well.  My only known good solution was the testing I had done from another Intel i5 box that I usually use in my lab for hosting VM's. From the bench marking results I was reading the AMD's seemed to handle gaming graphics better than the Intel, though the Intel had an edge in video.  Overall the AMD solution with CPU and MB would have been around $100 cheaper give or take.

Ended up order the parts for the bigger solution.  I knew I would be disappointed if I had a hiccup with the mini Foxconn box or the Intel NUC.  I simply choose the solution being the most risk adverse and if there was an issue I at least with the modular approach could potentially change and correct.

Worse come to worse I'll have a pretty capable compact PC for sale.  Smile
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Diesel Dan

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 6th 2014, 1:06 am

 Shocked Uhh, I got netflix on my xbox.....
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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 6th 2014, 7:36 am

Diesel Dan wrote:
 Shocked Uhh, I got netflix on my xbox.....

 cheers 
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joemac

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 6th 2014, 2:03 pm

Diesel Dan wrote:
 Shocked Uhh, I got netflix on my xbox.....

SWWEEEETTTT! Smile
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Diesel Dan

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 6th 2014, 2:38 pm

joemac,

It's like I'm listening to my brother who is a senior programming engineer.
About two sentences in my eyes glaze over and I'm thinking "mmmm, doughnuts..."
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joemac

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 6th 2014, 3:48 pm

HAHAHA! Too funny. We need some more acronyms. It's nearly like code. I even find myself talking with people form other disciplines having to look up acronyms of which I have nar a clue. Some of it can get rather monotonous. It's all hinges on the presenter, as the material is fantastic! Smile
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joemac

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PostSubject: Re: HTPC   March 12th 2014, 5:16 pm

The HTPC is up and going. HDHomeRun prime used to stream up to three concurrent channels to any of the media clients: Roku, WMC, PS3.

HTPC - Running WMC, HDHR Fling, Plex. The HTPC is directly connected via HDMI to the family TV. The same HTPC acts as the server for HDHR Fling and Plex.

The Roku's use HDHR Fling to view live TV. Plex is used for recorded media, shows, movies, music.

The PS3 can view live TV by connecting directly to the HDHomeRun Prime, recorded TV via DLNA DTC-IP via the Media connect plugin.

Bye bye DirecTV.
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