New to HTCP: Front End / OS Recommendations

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Chuck Schmidt, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. Chuck Schmidt

    Jul 26, 2004
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    I am finally starting to put together a HTPC at the recommendation of several friends. I am not new to building computers or Home Theater, but am "relatively" new to HTPCs, and I understand they are somewhat different. I say relatively because I currently have a sort-of scaled down HTPC of sorts in my Home Entertainment Center, mainly for MP3s. What I have today is a modded XBOX, running the privately developed XBox Media Center (XBMC). This is the reason for my post today.

    In a nutshell, is a GREAT Front End. It is very sharp looking and professional. Easy to navigate. Has a great suite of features surrounding a media center. It is also easily customizable, including many, many skins which are available. While the program isn't very powerful in the sense that it can't do HDTV or even DVDs with menu support, it is fantastic for its main use today --- managing and running all my MP3s. However I have grown beyond the need for just a fancy MP3 player and am looking to an HTPC.

    However there, to my knowledge, isn't a huge selection of really great software to run an HTPC.

    I have seen Windows Media Center 2005. Its a nice OS, but isn't really customizable at all, and doesn't seem to be as slick as the XBMC I am used to for playing MP3s.

    Meedio seems to be a good choice. It has more of a community around it with some customizable plug-ins. I am not certain, however, that it will have all the little features that I am used to.

    Does anyone have any good recommendations for a solid, reliable, customizable HTPC front end?

    I will be running the latest hardware, on an HDTV, and using it for watching DVDs, HDTV content, and also as a "juke box" for playing my MP3s.

    Thanks for your help and suggestions!

  2. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

    Feb 27, 2000
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    You need to get a newer XBMC, the new ones have full DVD support with menus and everything. You can even make a disk image of your DVD's and play them directly, menus and all, in XBMC. I agree, it is a really fantastic product. It's so good that Microsoft could never have made it, they would just have bogged it down with tons of DRM crud instead of making a really sleek, usable, versatile product. Looks great via component video to my 720P-capable projector, too.

    There is an offshoot of XBMC that was made for PC's. I've never tried it, but it might be something for you.

    I think (not 100% sure, but I think) it is over at

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