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#397301 - 09/24/13 10:05 PM DVR/HTPC options
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
So the receiver went on hold and I started to look into a DVR/HTPC solution instead. I've held out this long because I hate monthly fees and didn't want to pay Comcast an extra $15/mo or whatever it costs just to record/playback live TV. It is getting harder to sit and watch football on Sunday, so it was time to look into a way to pause when I need to. I got the Homerun HD Prime, which is nice in that it attaches to the network, but I can't use it on the TV without a HTPC hooked up to the TV or a XBox as a media center extender. As of now I can sit in the office and watch/record TV, but why sit at my desk in front of a monitor instead of the couch in front of the TV.

I have a PS3 and was hoping I could use that, but all I can do there is play back already recorded shows, where the real need for this for me is to pause live TV so I don't miss any of the game. Unless there is some solution other than media center to work with this.

Is there a different solution I should be looking at? I saw PlayTV for PS3, but that doesn't seem to be for sale in the US anymore.

I thought about just hooking up my laptop to the Prime when I need to use it with a crossover network cable, but it seems it doesn't want to do live TV if it can't get to the internet. I assume media center is checking copyright info or something.

What options do I have? Right now I am looking at needing ~$200 for an Xbox plus running a network cable to the back of the TV or buying powerline adapters, or buying a new wireless router and putting a repeater behind the TV as well (using 802.11ac, still on G now, so skipping N).

If I was running a cable thought about running a HDMI from the office to the TV as well, but I would still need a way to control the PC in the office remotely (run an RF too perhaps?)

Basically looking for the cheapest way to do this without monthly fees. I'm sure we'll use the DVR record and watch later feature some since we have it, but we generally aren't big TV watchers and most shows are available online the day after anyway, so there isn't a big need for that part.

The laptop could get retired and become the HTPC if I have to, although it is a little on the loud side for that.

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#397313 - 09/25/13 08:42 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4556
Loc: Marion, IA
I'm in the process of just starting the planning of my HTPC build, but I am not doing any recording of live tv so I am of little help. I've been a movie ripping fool lately trying to get all of my movies on to my newly built media server. I hope that six 3TB hard drives are enough.
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M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, Shakers

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#397316 - 09/25/13 09:12 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
I am very much into HTPCs and have what I believe is the ultimate solution. I rip all my blurays and use the HTPC for playback. I don't even have a bluray player on the home theater. I have set it up for top notch picture and audio quality that in my opinion will match or best any bluray player on the market.

Expect to pay about $1800.00 for the HTPC. I could do a write up if you like but there's a lot to cover and I will probably have to do it in a few parts.
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#397317 - 09/25/13 09:19 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17809
Loc: NoVA
Building an HTPC to save money seems to me a lot like building a table to save money. If you've already got pieces and tools and such, you might come out even. But really, just face that it's more of a hobby thing and it's going to cost a fair amount more than just buying one.
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#397319 - 09/25/13 09:52 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
Theres more to it actually.

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.
• All fully integrated with a single remote control. I use a high end Harmony but mostly any remote will do.
• Better playback quality.
• Better deinterlacing options.
• Better options for avoiding judder.
• Only need a single device to connect to my receiver. Possibly a cable box if you watch TV but I even got rid of that with an OTA antenna.

In my opinion, the HTPC is a vastly superior solution, but it's not right for everyone. There is a certain degree of technical knowledge required, should not be an issue for most folks on the Axiom forums wink
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#397321 - 09/25/13 10:13 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10965
Loc: Central NH
How is the playback quality better than an original disc playing?

Not being argumentative; just curious.
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#397323 - 09/25/13 10:29 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Boltron]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6884
Loc: PEI, Canada
I'd agree with Boltron. Well, I'm not sure if my playback quality is better. Equal for sure. However, the advantages are worth the initial effort, but only for those people who enjoy the effort or feel it's worth.

For me, having one device and a common, really easy to use interface for all of my movies, music, and photos is a huge convenience. From this same box, I also have access to Netflix, Youtube, Internet Radio and several other streaming services. Any you care to use, really.

I also moved my Squeezebox server to it so it's doing double duty for broadcasting music upstairs. It also houses my digital comic collection. However, I pretty much just read those on my tablet. Although, it is kind of fun now and then to see a full, double-page image of Batman smashing through a window on a 60" TV.

I also set up Splashtop Remote (I liked the Android App for this one) so I if I forget to set a timer or I need a download, I can do it remotely and it's ready when I get there.

Personally, I had a lot of fun and satisfaction building it and it's something that between my wife and I, it gets used every day. Wake on LAN is finally working properly for me now so it's not using much power at all until I press a button on the remote or something like my Squeezebox wakes it up.

Also, as an added bonus, if you have some long term company/kids/etc. that you are tired of entertaining, you show them all the content on your HTPC and they don't come out of the basement for hours.

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With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#397324 - 09/25/13 10:32 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
It is like an original disc playing and in some cases may be better. Let me clarify:

- Some people I have talked to think that when ripping the bluray to disk they will lose quality. I rip 1:1 with no compression so the video/audio quality is not reduced in any way.

- I say it may be better than a standard bluray player because the video renderer I use uses the Highest quality chroma upsampling available as well as high quality scaling (Jinc, mitchell, lanczos, spline etc) and YCbCr -> RGB conversion. Many experts in video processing debate these endlessly in order to come up with the best possible quality. I do not think this much thought goes into most commercial bluray players.

I hope this helps.
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For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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#397326 - 09/25/13 11:13 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4556
Loc: Marion, IA
Yeah, I am deep into a discussion over at AVS about ripping and quality.

I don't want to hijack this thread, but I too am doing (almost) 1:1 rips. I don't rip the audio tracks in other languages, and I don't rip any subtitles. We just don't use/need them in our house. Others are all about compressing that rip down to as small as possible before they notice a difference with their system. I just never want to have that "compromise" but others might be OK if they have a 50"TV (vs. a large front projector) or are in a common room in their house where the room acoustics are their biggest issue, not compression, and not a dedicated space.

I broke things up into 2 devices. A media server, and a HTPC. The HTPC hasn't been purchased, but I am look at hardware configs. The server is probably way overkill, but it came down to about $80 more for a speedy CPU vs. a low end one and in the whole cost of the server (with all of the hard drives), it wasn't much.

Boltron, I might hit you up in a PM first about picking your brain on the HTPC piece of things. If the information is good for the masses, we could turn it into a new thread.

For now, I wonder how we can help Zarak out with his question.
_________________________
http://ht.buol.us
M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, Shakers

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#397327 - 09/25/13 11:20 AM Re: DVR/HTPC options [Re: Zarak]
Boltron Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 171
Loc: Toronto
Sure I'll be glad to help.
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For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

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