2012 Multi-room HTPC

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by DaveF, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I've got to tell you, there have been a lot of interesting changes in the last few weeks, a few I'm going to cover shortly in a new 2013 Guide I'm putting together (due 4/9/2013!!!) that really change the game in my opinion. I'll have some new videos as well. I'm now pushing three extenders, one Media Center with 12 tuners and I've got to say things have really become pretty slick as time has gone on. I'll try to work some stuff up soon.
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Matt:

    Looking forward to this.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Matt, I look forward to reading it!
    My difficulty is a main use is for TV series in the bedroom, and I like to watch their special features and some commentaries. HTPCs don't easily support this; everything is built around the use case of only watching the main feature transcoded to a low to medium bitrate MKV.

    I see how to build a great whole house DVR; or a movie-room media center for full-disc blu-ray quality; or a whole-house media center for ripped quality main features. But doing all three is...impossible?


    If I had time, there are enthusiasts in the NoVA area I could connect with and get demos from, to understand better. But I haven't done that yet :)
     
  4. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Well, there are new methods that will allow you to get full access to all your extras, etc. in different ways, plus there are new options for ISO streaming that leave it in tact. One of those though is a bit of work, the other is pretty straightforward. I'm still trying to get videos and a faq together to make sure my information is all checked and the videos make sense ;)
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Sounds good. I follow the Echo thread at AVS, and no one has a robust solution for streaming yet, there. I played with iso streaming from media center to Xbox, and couldn't get it to work. (Info was scattered and years old)
     
  6. michaeltrottar

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    I'm seen some rumors the Ceton Replicate will be as low as $150, in accordance with the 'less than the xbox' opinion from Ceton. I have no concept, but I wish so, since that would create it a much simpler buy.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I concluded this year that an HTPC isn't for me. I wanted a multi-room, server-client DVR and movie system. I wanted the DVR to use a 4+ Tuner cable card. I wanted movie playback to work on complete disc rips, with special features and support TV series. I couldn't find a reasonable to build that. I found these were options:@ multi-room, server-client DVR@ single-room DVR and movie system with complete disc rips@ multi-room, (each room an individually configured PC) movie system@ multi-room, client server DVR and with finicky, fragile ripped/transcoded movie serverI realized DVR was most important feature, with SAF, cost, and ease of use as next in line. So I bought the new TiVo Roamio and TiVo mini.I also was losing confidence in a WMC-based system, since it appears unchanged in 5 years and abandoned by MS. Extenders don't work with Win8. Xbox One doesn't support WMC. I worry about buying into obsolescence and that's was WMC felt like (TiVo, natch). I'll revisit the topic when I build my basement HT. That use could make it worthwhile to have a dedicated movie media system, that could play full-disc rips without needing to stream to other rooms. And a $250 mini would provide DVR access, so that would not be an extra complication for a basement HTPC.
     
  8. michaeltrottar

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    I have also study on the console it needs operating the blockbuster online program outside the press middle program and also needs you have an account.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Michael, do you have an HTPC? What setup do you have and what do you use it for (DVR, ripped Blu-ray, etc?)
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm reviving my old thread. :) In 2012 I wanted an impractical combination of features. My goal is simpler now: An HTPC to play back movie files to a single display. No DVR. No multi-room. No extenders.

    Is this simply a Windows PC with a blu-ray drive and HDMI output? And an IR remote receiver for couch control.

    The main architecture question is whether to have a single PC with hard drives, or PC and external RAID?

    After that it's details: what parts to build a reasonably quiet PC?
     
  11. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Have you thought about a Mac Mini with Plex and an external raid array? Simple and sexy.
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I have. But HTPC software is more robust and available on Windows than Mac. And I want a single box, rather than raid or nas, so a mini won't suit me.
     
  13. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Fair enough.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I did it. Parts ordered, with two day shipping in hopes of working on it this weekend. Total cost approximately $1300. I'm excited and anxious. This is a big splurge, and I've never built a PC, much less an HTPC, before. :)

    Case $140 Silverstone Tek GD08B
    CPU $205 Intel Boxed Core I5-6500
    Motherboard $80 ASRock H170M Pro4 LGA 1151 Intel H170
    SSD $150 Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD
    Hard Drive $193 WD Red 5TB
    RAM $34 Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR4-2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) CL15
    Blu-ray $70 LG WH16NS40 16X Internal Blu-ray
    Power Supply $90 CORSAIR RMx RM550X 550W 80 PLUS GOLD Full Modular Power Supply
    Remote IR Port $20 FLIRC USB Universal Remote Control Receiver for Media Center
    CPU Cooler $0 Intel Standard CPU Fan
    Cooling Fans $20 Noctua 120mm, 2 speed setting Anti-Stall Knobs Design
    Fan Filters $5 SilverStone 120mm Fan Filter
    Power Cable $9 CablesOnline 10ft Right-Angle AC Power Cord
    Keyboard & Mouse $92 Logitech Illuminated Living-Room Wireless Keyboard K830

    Last edited by ShoutingMan; Today at 09:49 PM.
     
  15. jcroy

    jcroy Screenwriter

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    The LG drive should be fine for watching bluray discs. (The newer more recent revisions of LG bluray drives can also read 4K bluray discs, though no official 4K bluray programs yet which can play them).

    But for reading dvd discs (especially basketcase discs), LG drives are a whole entirely different story.
     
  16. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    If you aren't using a RAID, have you thought about how you're going to protect your data? Losing a 5TB drive full of files is no fun without an up to date backup.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Interesting...Hopefully it works adequately for DVDs, since that's also a use. But blu's are the priority. This drive is hard to find and buy; generally finding info about internal PC blu-ray drives is hard. I'm on the tail-end of the adoption curve.

    I've got a plan :) Since this is an expensive experiment, I got just one drive to start and manage cost. I think it's about half of what I need. If the HTPC is a success, and I start filling up the drive, I'll buy two more and set up a three-drive RAID for 10TB storage. I don't know what system I'll use. I've been advised away from Windows Storage Spaces. But there's unRaid, SnapRaid, and FlexRaid.

    If I get that filled up -- which seems unlikely in the short term -- my case has room for at least two more drives. If I exceed 15-20TB of storage, then I'll be researching my options.
     
  18. jcroy

    jcroy Screenwriter

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    I did some extensive research into this problematic behavior of recent LG computer dvd-only drives, and posted my findings on another site which specializes in such stuff. (It turns out this has been a chronic ingrained problem of LG manufactured dvd-only drives, for almost a decade).

    http://club.myce.com/f91/fatal-reading-behavior-recent-lg-drives-340574/

    This problematic behavior generally only happens on defective dvd discs, and some movie dvd discs which are manufactured by "bottom feeder" movie studios.
     
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  19. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    The problem with deciding to deal with protecting your data later is that "later" usually means after your first hard drive crash. Even a RAID isn't a complete solution. I lost a drive in my Drobo once and I popped a new one in. While it was regenerating, a second drive failed and POOF! The whole thing was lost. Luckily I had a dock with bare drives and had made a backup. You might consider getting two hard drives and set them up to mirror each other.

    Also, I don't think you can start a raid with an already formatted hard drive in it. You would need to buy a whole separate set of drives and migrate your data to it. At least then, you would have a backup. I have nearly 100TB of drives, and managing them and protecting them isn't cheap, but not doing that is catastrophic.
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I hear you. I'm avid backer-upper for important personal data. My iMac has two different local backups and an online backup. My iPhone and iPad backup to the cloud automatically and I sync manually to the iMac weekly. I've got backup religion :)

    But for this HTPC, it's too expensive to start to jump even to RAID. I didn't want to pour $600 into drives to start just for redundancy. I do plan to get there, with a view towards lossless recovery from single-drive failure.

    And I need to learn how to build a bootable clone backup of the boot drive. I don't have plans for that yet, but it's important. Once the system is configured, I want a trivial recovery plan from a failed SSD.

    But I don't plan to have a true backup of the data drives. Eventually I'll have a RAID. But I don't see pouring in double the cost of those drives to have a true backup. And that data is recoverable from other sources. It's just movies and music and TV shows. Nothing irreplaceable. It would be tedious. But not devastating.

    Should this grow over the years to something your size, 50TB or 100TB, I'll re-evaluate. Because that might be the place where manual restoration takes months of tedious nights and weekends. But I'm not there yet. I'm learning as I go. And step one is a single drive and my first attempt at making use of it.

    If this works, I'll be back looking for advice on next steps. :)
     

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