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Sub-$400 solution for pushing video content from PC to HDTV?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Adam Lenhardt, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    I was looking in the Best Buy weekly ad and came across this:
    [​IMG]

    Which at first glance seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Great price, handles the Xvid AVI and H.264/AC3 MKV files I currently watch on my PC. My main concern is that I've read nothing that tells me it plays Windows 7 Media Center files, and I've heard mixed things about 1080P24 playback; some reviews say it works flawlessly with them, others say it stutters or has lip sync issues; it is still however a definite possibility. The small size is nice too.


    Then I thought about getting more ambitious and getting an HTPC for this purpose. While I realize that wouldn't come in at a $199 price point, I would like to get fairly close if I went this option:

    1. [​IMG] Inspiron Zino HD 410
      The Core i5-655K has onboard graphics, that handle 1080P flawlessly, so I don't have to worry about a graphics card. I'm still not sure what I'd do for a case (or a power supply, if the case doesn't have one built in.) Likewise, I'd still have to do research on memory. Is what I've posted above a good start? If not, what would you recommend instead? If so, what else would I need to fill it out and get it up and running?
    I just thought I'd get feedback here before I made any decision.
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I can't help with the HTPC questions; hopefully MattCR or other will chime in soon.


    But I always like to ask: before spending a few hundred dollars, do you have a device that would do the trick? Tivo? Xbox? AppleTV? It sounds silly, but sometimes people don't know about some of the features or hacks for other devices that can do some or all of what they want. :)


    I'll let the pros handle the meaty questions on the hardware you're looking at :)
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    I looked into an Apple TV, but it just doesn't have the file format support I need. If I bought a lot of videos from the iTunes store, that'd be the way to go. But 80 percent of my videos are AVI files encoded in Xvid, with another 10 percent MKV files. Neither are supported by the Apple TV. An Xbox 360 would do some of the things I'm looking for, but I have no interest in buying an Xbox 360 just for that.


    At the moment, I'm leaning towards the Western Digital media hub. It plays all of my non-Windows Media Center videos natively, and reading over the specs, I should be able to feed my Windows Media Center recordings to it through the "Play To" feature in Windows 7.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Right. I don't mean to suggest you buy any of those. Rather, if you already had one of those items, you might be able to accomplish what you want without spending as much, or any, money. (though it might require some hackery or changing your process some to make it work :)


    I've heard good things about the WD media boxes, but don't have personal experience.
     
  5. nolesrule

    nolesrule Well-Known Member

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    Do the Boxee Box or Roku or Popcorn Hour support the formats you need? Those are other STB options.


    I know Boxee does mkv. I've been testing the PC version of their software with some of my TV DVDs.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate that, Dave. Thanks for the suggestions, Joe. I've also throught about Roku, but right now I'm still favoring the WD box.

    If I do decide to take the plunge tomorrow, I'll definitely right up a review and let other members know my impressions of it.
     

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