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Last post Author Topic: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?  (Read 17536 times)

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2013, 02:12:29 AM »
I checked out xbmc and jriver and both look really nice.

I prefer the way Jriver has a theatre more and a more traditional mode, and in general i think i like jriver better for standard stuff (movies, audio), BUT xbmc seems to be packed to the brim with addons and fun stuff that can be added.. so it's a very tough choice.

superboyac

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2013, 03:50:03 PM »
I checked out xbmc and jriver and both look really nice.

I prefer the way Jriver has a theatre more and a more traditional mode, and in general i think i like jriver better for standard stuff (movies, audio), BUT xbmc seems to be packed to the brim with addons and fun stuff that can be added.. so it's a very tough choice.
I initially felt the same way.  Then I got frustrated with jriver and went to xbmc.  Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly why. :-[

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2013, 03:54:30 PM »
Quote
Then I got frustrated with jriver and went to xbmc.
Then transfer to me your unused jriver license key!

superboyac

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2013, 04:10:13 PM »
Quote
Then I got frustrated with jriver and went to xbmc.
Then transfer to me your unused jriver license key!
Hmmm..gladly.  But I'll have to find it, and it's quite an old version (~2008?)

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2013, 04:18:09 PM »
Well it would save me 50% on upgrade cost..

superboyac

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2013, 04:42:31 PM »
Well it would save me 50% on upgrade cost..
ok i'll pm you later this weekend.  is there a way to transfer the email address and everything?

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2013, 09:17:06 PM »
So.. I now have an HTPC setup.

The results are.. mixed.

What I bought was a used stereo-form-factor pre-built pc from ebay.
This was a machine that was once top of the line for it's form factor and cost $2500 in 2009 and I was able to pick up for a little more than $300.
https://www.maingear...ters/axess/index.php

5 years later and the specs are still very respectful for it's form factor (it has an i7 chip and 6gb of ram).

I thought having a desktop capable machine would be nice because it's possible I'll end up using it for some always-on fun computer simulations (machine learning, artificial life, etc.).

Dirhael's posts in this thread were right on target:

JRiver really does a nice job of playing and showing audio albums, with scraped background images.. Just looks really elegant while playing.  Thought i may end up going back to XBMC since i normally want to find files to play by navigating folder structure not via fancy powerful tag album artist thing.

But XBMC visualizations are just terrible.

They are both confusing to customize, with JRiver being truly opaque.

Both would be fine for use as my music player -- I have thousands of cds and records that i hope to eventually convert so i can listento it with the htpc computer.  For now i'm using Jriver.



Anyway, overall, the HTPC does work, and sometimes it's pretty cool.



But for the sake of other people considering HTPC life, let me discuss some of the bumps in the road i'm experiencing:

First, my decision to by a powerful pc to use as an htpc has come with a few serious drawbacks.  First, it's LOUD.  I hate that.  I've already gone in and tweaked some underlocking and turned down the fans as much as i can, but there's just not avoiding the fact that this thing gets hot inside and there is no room for good big silent fans.  This is not even mentioning the power consumption.

Second, the small form pc case means its hard to replace components (see fan replacement issue above).

Third, digital audio output sounds great.  Analog output is of very low volume with this motherboard drivers (ive already upgraded, flashed bios, gone hunting for solutions so i know there is nothing much to do about it), and this creates serious humming noise on my audio input line to my reciever.

Fourth, you might ask why i would want to use analog output when the digital works great and sounds great.  The reason is that my receiver decodes the digital fine but will not pass it through to my secondary speakers or my wireless speaker inputs which require analog.  So i have to make a choice of digital audio and no secondary speakers in other rooms, or crappy sounding buzzing analog.  Not happy about this.  And this is a good receiver.  It might be solvable by upgrading to  some new $500 receiver but that's not going to happen.

Fifth, I underestimated how difficult it would be to read text on the tv screen.  Perhaps that's because i still have an "old" style tube television.  But it does mean that actually working within windows on the tv screen is unbearable so requires a secondary screen (or remote login) to do most things involving normal windows applications.



Summarizing, here's what I would advise for others considering making the leap to HTPC:

First, take the issue of noise VERY VERY seriously. Decide whether you want a really small quiet htpc device -- follow Dirhael's route for a passive cooled small and "relatively" low power machine. And consider if one of those dedicated media-playing machines might be the way to go -- ask yourself if you really need the flexibility of having a fully desktop grade pc as your htpc.

Or if you really want a full power machine, think hard about whether you can't use a standard small tower case and place it somewhere out of the way.  That would allow you to build it with normal sized components -- which would cut down on price and give you a lot more flexibility to build a fast quiet powerful machine.

I think if i were to do it all over again I might try to find a way to fit a small tower into my living space.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 09:27:52 PM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2013, 11:03:41 PM »
If I sound overly negative, I think it's just a matter of getting my expectations in line.

I've spent a decade with a TIVO dedicated tv recording/watching device, and they have the user interface experience quite smooth and streamlined and well designed for a operation from a TV -- though i found it useless for listening to music, which is mostly what i like to do.

The HTPC-route, using standard desktop operating system, is a different experience -- rougher edges and all that.  And I'm of course still getting used to the software.



But make no mistake, it is VERY cool to be able to have so much more control over what's going on and so much more freedom in terms of what you can run and how it works.  Want to run a fish aquarium screensaver on tv -- you can do that.  Want to run skype over your big screen tv, you can do that. The possibilities are endless.

wraith808

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2013, 11:31:44 PM »
I've tried the powerful desktop version (same problem that you're experiencing to a lesser extent with the noise- had a box that had a quiet fan, but it was still loud), the less powerful desktop version (it was nice- still the problem of interface, but it was nice, and silent- but I ended up giving it to my son to use as his desktop since he doesn't play PC games), and the settop box (nice and seamless... but it's not a computer).

I'm sticking with the settop box version.  The only thing I can't do on it that I wanted to do was game, and I don't really need to PC game on the huge screen.  But it's definitely a decision that should be based on what your use case is as there are going to be trade-offs as you've experienced.

superboyac

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2013, 01:24:51 AM »
Your $400 budget is the most difficult part for me to come up with helpful advice, i feel bad!  :-[

When I got a new desktop this year, I transferred my previous desktop ( a beast!) for my htpc.  I friggin love it.  But yes, it is loud.  i don't know how much an equivalent would cost, but most of the parts would be discontinued anyway, and it would be way over $400.  but basically, it's a full desktop computer with an i7 chip and 4 GB of RAM, and a 2009-middle of the road graphics card.  That's pretty much it.  I paid $3k for it 4+ years ago, so it should be way cheaper now.

Now, my exploration has been VERY similar to yours, so I'll just explain it, maybe it will help.  I messed around with XBMC, JRiver for a while.  But I found I was too used to the desktop experience.  So all these years, other than my experiments, my main setup is as a normal desktop.  I use regular desktop software...Light Alloy, Daum Potplayer to play videos.  An air-mouse for the cursor.  A wireless keyboard (very seldom used).  Directory Opus for the file manager.  Now, for years I also used a tube-TV.  The graphics (other than full screen video playback) looked awful, but it didn't bother me enough to change.  Now I have an LCD screen and it looks BEAUTIFUL.  Even 20 feet away, it's totally legible, with just normal font sizes.  I highly recommend getting one, if you are willing to spend.  So now, I'm not even that motivated to try other things like xbmc or jriver.

Everything is so fast on it.  The control, as you say, is awesome.  When i go to other people's houses and have to mess around with all their remotes, and tivo, and their cable "guides", and typing in the letters with teh directional keys, ugh, I get impatient.  i love double-clicking and going from window to full screen.  I love changing the volume with the scroll wheel.  I use foobar for audio, love it.  I know the computer is way overkill, so you can do it with much less also.  but because it's overkill, 1080p playback is instant, i love that.

The fan noise is significant.  It doesn't bother me, but now I just went and listened to it...if you like silence, yeah, it will bother you.  But I looked at cases recently, even for smaller form factors, and i think you can find some with large 200mm fans on them, and those are relatively quiet.  That might be the deal breaker though.  and the price of course.

I think the most important thing I learned about my htpc experience is:
--I just like using DOpus for picking the files.  I was really into the idea of doing the xbmc thing and properly organizing and tagging everything, but now I don't care.  I'll only do it now if i have a lot of time to spare and am into a new project.

bleach...i've talked a lot.  i should just take a video of me watching shit and post it.

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2013, 03:06:56 AM »
I spent half of today playing with 0.0001% of the 3rd party addons and skins and stuff for XBMC.  

I'm probably just getting really grumpy in my old age but it is an impossibly chaotic experience trying to configure these things with a million different half-supported, half-broken, clashing 3rd party addons.

And that's despite the fact that the XBMC folks have created an incredibly helpful system of finding and using these 3rd party addons.

I think there is a real lesson here for coders, of the costs and benefits of designing a system that is structured to let a million people plug and play and every part of it.. The chaos and incoherence and potential for confusion is incredible.

There are quite a few projects like this, that have an incredible ecosystem of independent developers -- it feels like treachory to suggest that this approach results in something that is painful to use, but i just find myself wishing for a system that was coherently designed.

I'd gladly give up 90% of the power and flexibility in exchange for something that was clean and predictable and comprehensible and simpler to configure and use.

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2013, 03:12:04 AM »
I think superboy might have the right idea.. Which is to not do all this incredible struggling to get these HTPC tv-theatre-view-mode fancy and painful UI systems to work.  That's where all the pain is.  Instead just use a monitor/mouse/keyboard to select what to play.. Problem solved.

wraith808

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2013, 08:05:44 AM »
I think superboy might have the right idea.. Which is to not do all this incredible struggling to get these HTPC tv-theatre-view-mode fancy and painful UI systems to work.  That's where all the pain is.  Instead just use a monitor/mouse/keyboard to select what to play.. Problem solved.

I use a combination of a remote and a keyboard with a mouse embedded.  Those lap keyboards make using the keyboard not that big of a deal.

http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16823176018

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2013, 08:54:40 PM »
A few more observations after a week of tweaking -- first some more XBMC complaints..

XBMC is an amazing open source project and it's amazing that it runs so well on so many different platforms.

It's also completely fails the test of being a set top replacement for a consumer device like a tivo etc -- for all but the most devoted users.  It is simply packed to the brim with an insane navigational system and large gaping holes in functionality.  It is absolutely and inexplicably painful to navigate around some of these side and context menus and perform certain operations, and it's absolutely braindead about lots of things.  It may be ok for movie and tv browser but it's fairly terrible for online streaming and audio music.

If someone unfamiliar with XBMC came over to your house and you gave them the remote, the chance of them getting stuck in some sidebar context menu, triggering unwanted commands, and becoming frustrated is a near certainty.

Having said all that, i haven't seen anything better.  But using something like this really makes you appreciate the work that goes into polishing a consumer GUI (like the TIVO) to make it intuitive and comfortable.  XBMC gives you 10,000 alternate unsupported abaondoned broken "skins" and it's impossible to navigate.  TIVO does not let you choose the skin but everything else works intuitively.  What would you rather have?

Despite all my complaining, I still haven't found anything better for use as an htpc set top box (mainly for music) and XBMC does have a very high factor of cool if you want to hack around on it, which I have spent the last week doing.  God knows how much will break over time -- it feels fragile.  But there are some fun things to be done, and lots to explore and customize if you are into that kind of thing.

Jriver Media Center is still on my list of tools i'm playing with -- it has much nicer out-of-the-box music support, and much more power-user friendly interface in standard desktop application view.  However, it falls down miserably on the htpc television screen (theatre) view, so that's what's stopping me there.

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2013, 09:05:51 PM »
And now some more constructive general comments:

I've been thinking more about hardware choices for an htpc.

You can get a $100 brand new android-based htpc/xbmc box that uses little power, is quiet, and is all ready to plug in, to be used as an htpc end user appliance.  No operating system to install, and presumably a lot less to configure and worry about.

And on the other end of the spectrum you can do what i did, which is to use basically a full powered desktop machine (possibly in a thinner media-friendly case as i have).

I've been going back and forth in my mind about what makes the most sense, and i don't yet have a firm view on what makes most sense.

In many ways, the full desktop-class computer approach to an htpc seems way overkill.  My htpc never gets above a couple percentage of cpu use -- it's basically just sitting their idle and running up my electric bill much of the time.  It's also much louder than a small dedicated htpc device would be.

But there are some advantages i've noticed:

  • Very fast and easy cd ripping (and playing); i'm in the process of ripping all of my cds.  Of course you could do this on your desktop machine and transfer the files since it's probably just a one time deal.
  • The desktop pc can be used as a replacement for your dvd/blueray player.  Most small dedicated htpc's don't have a dvd/bluray player (though see dc member Dirhael's post early on this thread for a great looking build that does).
  • It's convenient to be able to run standard software that i am familiar with -- whether it be backup tools, exact audio cd extraction tools, etc.).  Though I can't say i have any crucial software that i couldn't live without.
  • There is some real comfort in not having to worry about performance issues and being able to run multiple processes.  Though I cannot say if people ever have problems with underpowered dedicated htpc boxes.

wraith808

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2013, 09:39:07 PM »
I've gone through both ends of the process, and I can say that while I had a desktop equivalent, I rarely used it to its full potential.  For a while, it was fun being able to game on my 46" screen.  But once the novelty wore off, all I was really doing was watching movies/tv, listening to music, and browsing the internet.  And it was loud, even though I had a silverstone power supply and case, which are made for HTPCs.

My sub $200 mini computer was quiet, small, and did everything I asked of it.  It played games, but not the more powerful ones.  But with 2 24" monitors on my desktop, I didn't miss it.  In the end, I was making excuses to use the power that was there, again, all I did was watch movies/tv, listen to music, and browse the internet.

My settop box plays movies/tv, music, and browses the internet.  It doesn't require anything in the way of maintenance.  It's quiet, and I don't miss the power.

I'm pretty much decided that for the tv, my use case is only settop boxes from now on.

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2013, 10:00:40 PM »
Sounds right to me wraith.

I guess we should really acknowledge that there are at least 3 different approaches one could take:

1. A minimalist, small closed set top box; these can be picked up for less than $100, do not have optical drives, are preloaded with software, are silent and low energy, and are intended to have just enough power to run their software; they are meant to be as close to consumer devices as possible -- that it, you aren't expected to spend 2 weeks hacking and installing your own custom tools.  They usually have minimal memory and small hard drives, etc -- so you would plug in an external drive or connect to a network for large media storage.

2. A custom built small silent quiet htpc box -- like the beauty that dc member Dirhael posted about earlier in this thread.  The goal there is to build a machine with the power you need to do what you plan to do with it.  it can have an optical drive, large hard drive, etc.  Whatever you need.  But the goal is to built it as small and low power as you can live with to achieve a desired form faction, quietness, and low energy and cost.  With such a custom system you would install the OS and software of your choice and maintain it -- whether that's windows, linux, android, etc.

3. A big full-power desktop class machine (fit into a small box).  The goal here is maximum flexibility and power, in exchange for a higher cost, higher energy consumption and heat, more noise, bigger form factor case (perhaps cheaper components if you go with a standard size case).  With this kind of machine you have the ability to do anything.. the question is whether you actually have things to do that will benefit from that much power.

superboyac

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #42 on: September 20, 2013, 10:48:00 PM »
re: the small android devices.  i have one (mk808b), it will struggle with true HD files badly.  And playback of even lesser HD files like 720p can be a problem.  I tried it for one day and never used it again.

wraith, i'm having a hard time with your terminology.  what is your difference between a desktop box and a settop box?  i consider anything that runs normal windows or a user-installable OS a "full desktop".  are you referring to just the form factor?

my gigantic tower i use for an htpc is, for sure, way overkill and somewhat noisy (i.e. not silent), but it is using 5 year old parts.  but even before then, I was using a desktop tower from 2002 (yup!).  This is up until this year, 2013.  And with XP running on it, it was equally powerful for most video and music purposes.  because like wraith says, for video, audio, and internet browsing, there's only so much benefit to power.  but the full desktop experience is still ideal in that you can install most software and it's very fast.  the only difference between the 2002 and 2013 experience for me is that with the 2002 computer, i couldn't play 720p or larger files.  but 480p played perfectly fine.  even seeking and jumping around the video file (my true measure of performance for htpc's) was great.  there's just something about a desktop experience.

i'll put it this way:
assuming you can play 1080p comfortably...i'd prefer a full desktop pc in whatever form factor and noise level, over any laptop, netbook, appliance-device, xbmc, jriver, android, "media player", etc.  I don't even care if it's 7 years old.  A desktop just has that ideal level of performance.  And i'm willing to bet that no matter what you're price point is, for the same price a desktop will outperform anything else.  The ONLY deal-breaker in such a case would be GUI.  If GUI is important to you, then the other choices might be better.

mouser

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #43 on: September 20, 2013, 11:06:41 PM »
Going back to the issue of XBMC being a horrible mess (and yet the best out there), I'd like to make a recommendation/propsal for the next group that wants to make something better.

The most important lesson I think that needs to be absorbed is that there are two very different things that this kind of software is trying to do.  And the reason they are failing so miserably is that they are trying to do both things in the same manner.

The First Task -- Browse and Play

The first task is presenting an elegant fancy large-font tv-style user interface to allow the user to browse and select media to play.

This is what we normally think of when we think of an htpc machine -- something you can see from 10 feet away and that makes browsing and watching stuff fun.

I want to browse my music collection by hieararchical folders and do quick searchers, and when i start playing an album, I want it to download some nice artwork and info about the artist and show it elegantly.

XBMC can be made to do this, in a reasonably ok manner with some effort -- though search and navigation (and bookmarking for later watching) and returning to where you were is abysmal.

The Second Task -- Back End Administration

The second task that these tools need to be able to do represents a majority of the work -- all sorts of utilities for scanning libraries, configuring options, configuring the user interface, etc.

This is where software like XBMC gets it horribly, horribly, criminally wrong.

There is no need to "skin" and have a million ways for 3rd party themes to deal with this backend administration area -- and the attempt to do so is cataclysmic for maintenance.  And the backend administration of stuff is just terrible and confusing and inflexible.

The right way to write programs like this is to treat this as two separate tasks.  A small focused minimal elegant front end for browsing/disovering and playing, with support for skins/themes, and good support for managing bookmarks and favorites, with a very very strong focus on making this a consumer-level experience.  I should be able to give the remote to my mother and she should not be able to get lost or trapped or cause havok or want to kill herself.

The backend administrative stuff, the configuration screens, options, etc.  Can all be done with a standard user interface.  Should have nothing to do with skins or themes, should be able to be done remotely, does not need to have a theatre-style joypad/touchscreen interface, etc.

Such a division of functionality would go a long long long way to making this software easier to use, more powerful and flexible, and easier to maintain.

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #44 on: September 20, 2013, 11:13:53 PM »
wraith, i'm having a hard time with your terminology.  what is your difference between a desktop box and a settop box?  i consider anything that runs normal windows or a user-installable OS a "full desktop".  are you referring to just the form factor?

What I'm using is the WD TV Live Hub (WD Link).  There are several out there like it... before this, I used the Asus OPlay.

They're closer to cable boxes than any computer... thus set top box.

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2013, 11:25:49 PM »
There is an interesting evolution of emotions that one feels when you use something like XBMC with a zillion plugins to access different online media -- one can actually have the same evolution of emotions when using some radio-apps for mobile phones.

Stage 1 is you install some addons that have thousands and thousands of different radio stations (or tv shows or streams), and you feel an overwhelming sense of excitement and wonder at all your choices.

Stage 2 is you start looking for something that interests you and you realize how incredibly hard it is to find what you want amongst so much chaff, and it begins to dawn on you that maybe rather than 100,000 stations it would be nice to have a top 1000 that would help you find some good stuff.  And yet you still have hope that you are going to find some good stuff.

Stage 3 is the frustration that makes you want to smash something into your tv that comes when you realize that no one is making any effort to cull out the non-working links and streams, and that almost everything you try to watch/listen to either fails after timing out, or hangs the software completely.

That's the point when you would give your right arm for an app with 10 working links to some mediocre media streams.

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #46 on: September 20, 2013, 11:28:32 PM »
wraith, i'm having a hard time with your terminology.  what is your difference between a desktop box and a settop box?  i consider anything that runs normal windows or a user-installable OS a "full desktop".  are you referring to just the form factor?

What I'm using is the WD TV Live Hub (WD Link).  There are several out there like it... before this, I used the Asus OPlay.

They're closer to cable boxes than any computer... thus set top box.
I see.  Yes, then I suppose these are the middle ground devices between a full desktop and those cheapo android media players.  You're right, this is probably the best all around value for an htpc solution.  easy, plug and play, plays anything, cheap but well made, no headache, no configuring.

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #47 on: September 20, 2013, 11:33:29 PM »
mouser, since you are trying alternatives, give this one a short one:
get light alloy:
http://www.light-alloy.ru/download/

The reason why...if you want a file browser built for tv legibility, it has one built in.  So if you open the file browser from the right-click menu, you will see it.  It's a special browser built for large screen navigation.  That's all, just check it out.  I used this back when i had a tube tv and i couldn't read dopus clearly.

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #48 on: September 20, 2013, 11:45:14 PM »
There is an interesting evolution of emotions that one feels when you use something like XBMC with a zillion plugins to access different online media -- one can actually have the same evolution of emotions when using some radio-apps for mobile phones.

Stage 1 is you install some addons that have thousands and thousands of different radio stations (or tv shows or streams), and you feel an overwhelming sense of excitement and wonder at all your choices.

Stage 2 is you start looking for something that interests you and you realize how incredibly hard it is to find what you want amongst so much chaff, and it begins to dawn on you that maybe rather than 100,000 stations it would be nice to have a top 1000 that would help you find some good stuff.  And yet you still have hope that you are going to find some good stuff.

Stage 3 is the frustration that makes you want to smash something into your tv that comes when you realize that no one is making any effort to cull out the non-working links and streams, and that almost everything you try to watch/listen to either fails after timing out, or hangs the software completely.

That's the point when you would give your right arm for an app with 10 working links to some mediocre media streams.
lol...mouser.  I wish this thread existing 2 years ago when i first started looking at these things.  This is so refreshing (sorry!).  It's weird because the xbmc forums, as good as they are, will never be this brutally honest, obviously.  I'm reading all this and it's so exactly my same experiences.

A couple of months ago when I got my new desktop, that's when I first had the idea to use the old one for an htpc.  But of course, my first reaction was, it's soooo overkill and ridiculous, surely i can think of something better.  but I had already gone through all this xbmc stuff quite seriously.

but let me tell you, if i had a family, i would never get away with this.  the setup is pretty damn ugly, very bachelor, techy geek looking.

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Re: I'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?
« Reply #49 on: September 20, 2013, 11:55:00 PM »
one more post, here is a picture of my setup.  very crazy.  you can see the tube tv in the back, which was just replaced this year.  That huge tower is the beast, previous to that was the 2002 xp computer, also just replaced this year.

and on the screen is the light alloy file browser i was talking about.

WP_20130920_001.jpgI'm ready to join the HTPC (home theater pc) revolution - what to get?