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#397328 - 09/25/13 11:20 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Boltron]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4516
Loc: Marion, IA
Originally Posted By: Boltron

Advantages of using a HTPC:
• Movies play back instantly, no load times, advertising, menus or other crap to wait through.
• Instant access to your library, all of your library.


These two things alone are what got my wife on board with this.

Currently, when we watch a movie (still pre-HTPC at our house, but "in progress"), my wife will say "Go down and get the movie queued up, and I will be down in a few minutes."

So I go into the theater, fire everything up, pop in the movie, wait for the different previews to skip (most have jumping to the movie menu disabled, so you have to manually skip each preview), then the "FBI" and other warning come up that can't be skipped...

Then I pause it when the movie starts and then hollar to my wife that it is ready.

Now we will just go downstairs and by the time that the projector is "on" everything will be loaded and the HTPC will be fully booted to the menu of movies. Heck, the HTPC will boot in about 10-15 seconds probably anyway from cold boot. Sleep mode or whatever would be even faster.

Of course, we have DVDs, HD-DVDs, and Blu-Rays. Some movie series are on HD-DVD for some of the early movies (like early Harry Potter ones, Bourne movies, Batman Begins, Transformers, etc) and then the more recent sequels are on Blu-Ray. Or some movies that are on DVD still, but now we have to dig through 3 different sets of movies just to find what you are looking for.

Now they will be all in one spot.
_________________________
http://ht.buol.us
M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, SVS 20-39PCi, HTPC, JVC RS45, Onkyo TX-NR709, Shakers

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#397331 - 09/25/13 12:31 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17789
Loc: NoVA
OK, I was thinking more on the PVR aspect of the thing. $1800 for an HTPC (for the sake of argument) vs $1000 for a TiVo+lifetime+remote TiVo dookicky.
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#397336 - 09/25/13 02:00 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4516
Loc: Marion, IA
$1800 gets you A LOT more than the TiVo. Just a matter of if you need it or not. I mean, I've got $1200 into a media server just to hold movies and such. It is mostly disk costs and the fact that I tend to "over build" things. The HTPC will be a lot less because I won't load it up with drives. It will still be pretty powerful though.

But yeah, if you just want PVR functionality, there are cheaper options.
_________________________
http://ht.buol.us
M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, SVS 20-39PCi, HTPC, JVC RS45, Onkyo TX-NR709, Shakers

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#397337 - 09/25/13 02:29 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8294
Loc: Tacoma
I think it's an interesting topic, and I enjoy learning from you guys.

My own experience has been that it just really depends on your priorities and how you want to spend your time and money. We simply don't buy or watch enough movies for consumption of that content to matter in the equation. We do, however, watch a fton of episode TV series. So, for us, the combination of DTV and some Netflix streaming box (Apple TV, Roku, BD player, etc.) has been just fantastic - both cheap and easy.

In addition, we are in an area where it is basically impossible to get OTA digital TV, so a Tivo or homebrew DVR just doesn't help.

How are you guys ripping Blu-Rays, anyway?
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#397339 - 09/25/13 02:50 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
Just a note, when I said $1800.00 it included a couple of 4TB disks for storage. I just built one for a friend and that was about the cost. The two 4TB disks alone are about $400.00. Add a good quality SSD, a good video card, CPU, motherboard etc... and it works out to about that.
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For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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#397348 - 09/25/13 04:28 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: tomtuttle]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4516
Loc: Marion, IA
Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
How are you guys ripping Blu-Rays, anyway?


There are several ways to do it, but for media storage (on a server or on the HTPC itself) it seems that a majority of the population uses a free piece of software called MakeMKV and then pick and choose the video and specific audio tracks they want in the languages they want, plus any subtitles.

Note: Some studios are slick and will have different titles for different languages as well. Unfortunately, that displays as a whole different "playlist" or sequency of the individual movie files. So in MakeMKV some discs will showmore than one large movie file. Battle: Los Angeles was the first one that I hit. It has 3 different file sequences depending on the language selected. Sure, the Audio states right in the program what format (DTS-MA, TrueHD, DD2.0, etc) and the language, but you need more information to know which video to pick. Too much to get into here, but it really isn't bad once you know where to look or what tools to use.

You can then use something like "Handbrake" to compress it if you want.

Google search "Assassin HTPC" for some (now) free guides to a lot of this, including using MakeMKV, etc.
_________________________
http://ht.buol.us
M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, SVS 20-39PCi, HTPC, JVC RS45, Onkyo TX-NR709, Shakers

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#397349 - 09/25/13 05:11 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: nickbuol]
Nick B Offline
devotee

Registered: 08/05/06
Posts: 496
I don't think that this is what the original poster was looking for...but if you want something like that for an over the air antenna that is also inexpensive, then it doesn't seem to get much better than this:

http://www.amazon.com/HomeWorx-HW-150PVR-Converter-Recording-Function/dp/B00CXAE92K

I just purchased one of these since I inherited an old 1080i rear projection tv and it doesn't have a digital tuner and accept high definition over the coaxial input. But, with this box I can output to the tv over hmdi (converted to dvi first). The cool thing is that it has programming information (from tv guide) and dvr capability if you plug in a flash drive or external hard drive. All for around $45!


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#397354 - 09/25/13 08:29 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
I also use OTA but I picked up a video tuner card and JRiver plays it just fine. It's all integrated with the HTPC, so separate box needed.
_________________________
For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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#397359 - 09/25/13 10:09 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Boltron]
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
So it is sounding like there is no easy answer here, and I can't just use the PS3. With what I have today adding a media center extender and network over powerline is probably my cheapest option. I assume the harmony remote can be used to control the xbox/media center extender. I'm thinking the xbox will start to drop in price soon, since the new one is on its way to release.

The PC in the office would be fine doing double duty as a media center. If I were to build one I found some things online where you can do it for ~$500 vs. the 1800 mentioned here, albeit with less storage I'm sure.

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#397370 - 09/26/13 12:53 PM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6864
Loc: PEI, Canada
To expand on Nick's good call on using MakeMKV for ripping your Blu-Ray collection, I would add that you might also need something to get by the copyright protection on some.

There are other solutions but I use AnyDVD. All you need to know is that it is super simple. It just runs in the background and makes ripping or playing BRs seamless as far as copy protection goes.

For a more technical reason you 'might' need it.....
I choose this one because it solved an problem I had with the HDMI port on my old TV triggering the HDCP protection. It wasn't HDMI Ver.n I guess. Therefore, I couldn't even watch a legitimately owned Blu-Ray from my HTPC unless this SW was loaded. It cost a couple of bucks but it was so worth it and it requires no uber-knowledge to work once installed.

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With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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