Hello, and advice/suggestions wanted

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mdhtpcguy Offline
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Post: #1
Hello! I'm wanting to put together a little (meaning inexpensive and unobtrusive) HTPC for my family room. Current TV is 720p, but I want up to 1080p capability. Mainly, I'd like to use this to access Netflix and probably some other streaming services, Youtube and other web videos, and streaming some of my DVDs that I'll be ripping to a media server that until now has only been used for music.

So, in a nutshell, I'm looking for affordability, low power, low noise, maybe a Blu-ray drive. Storage space can be minimal, since no media needs to be on the HTPC. Btw, my existing media server is a headless design based on an Intel Atom MB/CPU. Should I be looking into something similar, or are there better options out there. I want to do more research, but I'm a little confused about where to start.

Any advice would be appreciated - Thanks!!
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Dougie Fresh Offline
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Post: #2
<heresy> If your primary focus will be media service, I'd look into a Roku3 + Plex. </heresy>

I have both an HTPC and Roku3. I use the HTPC for my own media (BD/DVD/CD rips) and live TV while the Roku3 I use for Netflix, VUDU, Amazon, Pandora, etc. The latter is a much better experience with the Roku3 and easy to control via my Harmony Remote -- no web browser or keyboard required.

With Plex, you could have it serve your media to your Roku. I just started playing with it. It's NOWHERE near as nice as XBMC or WMC but I've just started playing with it.

Without Plex, you could go cheap OpenELEC HTPC (something Celeron C10x7U) + Roku3.
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-18 04:59 by Dougie Fresh.)
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mdhtpcguy Offline
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Post: #3
I get what you're saying, but doesn't that take all the fun out of it? Big Grin

Ok, just saw you added to your post... I really want to build something.... a project of sorts.

I'm not familiar of the concept of using your htpc for live tv. what do to mean by that? I have directv, so I figured the htpc would be a second source.
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-18 05:13 by mdhtpcguy.)
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nokdim Offline
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Post: #4
look into PVR

if you think Dougie took all the fun out of it you will love the PVR world...

Good luck!

יונתן בן-חיים

"To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer."
-Paul Ehrlich
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Dougie Fresh Offline
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Post: #5
All I am saying is running Netflix, etc. through a browser or other plugin/hack is less than ideal. I did that for a long time and they've fallen well behind their puck device or even smart TV app counterparts. I've taken the route of having an HTPC for my personal media and I also have a CableCard tuner so I use it to watch TV as well. For streaming stuff I use a Roku. I use my Harmony remote to control it all and it works great even having two boxes -- the puck and the HTPC.

PVR unfortunately does me no good for CopyOnce content.
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-18 06:23 by Dougie Fresh.)
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mdhtpcguy Offline
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Post: #6
I do understand the limitations, but I'd still like the ability to access web media on my tv. I know the purpose-built boxes have advantages and do some things better, however, I also want something I can tinker with.... So, how about some suggestions for low-power CPUs that would do the job - something I can build around. A Google search for "Celeron C10x7U" didn't turn up much?
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-19 05:06 by mdhtpcguy.)
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Dougie Fresh Offline
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Post: #7
The Celeron C1007U and C1037U can be found on embedded motherboard such as the Gigabyte GA-C1007UN-D which is available at Amazon or Newegg.

E.g.: http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Intel-Chi...B00D1A8094

[Image: 13-128-598-TS?$S300$]

The next step up from that would be a Celeron G1620 + H61 mini-ITX motherboard.

If you're looking for small cases, the Realan E-i5 is a nice case.
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-19 07:01 by Dougie Fresh.)
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mayoman Offline
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Post: #8
Mmmm, don't know if it's just me but I built a G1610 with a GA-H61M-HD2 motherboard recently and have to say it was a struggle to get XBMC running nicely on Win7. @Dougie, is there much difference with the G1620?
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mdhtpcguy Offline
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Post: #9
Thank you much for the suggestions, DF. I've already begun researching the Celerons. I like the case. too, but I'm considering a Blu-Ray drive... but, maybe not. 99% chance I'll run linux in some form or another, as I want to keep the cost down.
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mdhtpcguy Offline
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Post: #10
The Gigabyte GA-C1007UN-D looks good. I guess this would be the 1037U version.
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Dual-Core...779&sr=8-1

What do you know about ECS Elitegroup? Worth the savings, or is Gigabyte just more well known? I've run GB MBs in 3 different desktop builds in the past, and have been happy, so maybe it's just best to stick with the known.
http://www.amazon.com/ECS-Elitegroup-NM7...m_sbs_pc_3

Also, any thoughts on this case, with built-in PS?
http://www.amazon.com/EMC-800B-Mini-ITX-...718&sr=1-1

If buying a case requiring a separate PSU for boards like above, what's recommended? What's enough to power the CPU and a blu-ray drive? I'm sure there's a minimum amount of power required, an ideal size, as well as overkill...
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mdhtpcguy Offline
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Post: #11
Bump... anyone care to comment on the hardware questions in my last post?
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-22 17:20 by mdhtpcguy.)
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