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Full Version: My HTPC setup at home!
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(2018-11-28, 23:37)tjay260476 Wrote: [ -> ]I have done it again! (Damn you Team Kodi with your news and blogs!) I saw a new shiny, there was enough wishes left on my card (read money in my bank!) and have bought a new case!

You're not the only one. The perils of drinking alcohol and surfing the web! It's a very nice case!

Will post my setup soon. Gone from full tower PC as a server and flashy full PC in specialised case as client, to a z8350 mini PC with external USB TV tuners, NAS drive and raspberry pi Kodi clients. Such a minimal setup now. Shows how far things have come!
Agreed, my first HTPC, I spent well over £700 for it, nowadays, it's a tenth of that! And with exactly the same features too!
Yes it’s amazing how cheap hardware has progressed and I do like the RPi but it can be made better.

Hopefully the next RPi will allow full bitstreaming of 8 channel full frequency audio unlike the current bottlenecked RPi. And hopefully the foundation will also see some sense in adding onboard the trivial circuit that is needed to allow CEC to boot up the RP AND putting all connectors on the rear of the unit AND having POE onboard (rather than as a silly HAT). Oh and obviously able to handle 4K video decode while we are at it Cool

If needed, the foundation can make the circuit board marginally bigger to accomodate such improvements rather than staying with the current form factor which I never quite understood...
Oh, and I forgot to mention I like your setup and your FOSS focus Cool
For home projects it’s FOSS all the way down, unfortunately I need to use M$ publisher and Final Cut Pro for other stuff but it does mean it forces me to be platform agnostic.

I consider being completely FOSS for work as a noble idea in IT/computer science, but if you can’t do that, (because of that ONE app!) then the next noble thing to do is become OS agnostic.

That way you have complete freedom on which program to use, with whatever restrictions (if any) are imposed on the end user; so long as the user is aware of such restrictions.

This is why I personally have little issue with Plex as an off site solution in its own sandboxed VM as it doesn’t interfere with my Kodi setup.
Been meaning to do this for AGES!!!

Plex never got used, so the VM is still around, but not switched on in Hyper-V. 

Amazon and Netflix are working brilliantly, to the point I'm buying digital copies of movies from Amazon, and moving the STRM file/folder onto My Movies shared folder on the VM that is called Media Server. 

I have been playing about with RetroPie, and was able to completely hide ALL aspects of the Raspberry Pi within the cmdline.txt file, so I then wondered if I could do the same with Libreelec. I can, and have! Here be what you need to hide the rainbow, the text etc so that it silently boots, with just the logo and then into Kodi. Obviously, when you update Libreelec there will be no way of knowing how far the update takes, but after a couple of minutes, just look at the system info and Libreelec info to make sure. This makes Libreelec truly set-top box like!

For cmdline.txt, add this:
quiet console=tty3 vt.global_cursor_default=0
In config.txt add this at the end:

In advancedsettings.xml I have disabled the Kodi Splash Screen, as it 'looks' like it boots quicker!

Now there are times that people STILL ask me about 'what build' I'm using, so I have created my own custom splash screen, which basically says it all! If people want it, I'm more than happy to share the PSD file for you to use.

watch gallery
(2019-03-30, 23:53)tjay260476 Wrote: [ -> ]<splash>false</splash>

where do I find the "config.txt" file/folder please ?
Am using CoreELEC.
Unless this is only applicable to LibreEllec sorry ?
I personally don't use CoreElec, so don't know if it's the same I'm afraid Sad
Been using my Server for TV Headend for while - we have been having weird issues with the telly over the last few weeks - this is for the UK readers - everything is fine when Phil and Holly are on, then pixilation galore if trying to watch Loose Women (it's a daytime TV show in the UK moderators!!!) and Judge Rinder (Judge Judy ala UK). 

It is also compounded by the fact that where I live has a strong Freeview signal - which can hinder signal quality, these include living near an industrial estate (I live near one), local radio station (I live near one) or live too near the transmitter (yup you guessed it!) - The aerial atennuator is installed so that ruled that out.

The HD Homerun was next to 2 extension cables, a Smart Home hub and a BT business router. So I moved the tuner, thinking that might be the issue, it wasn't! (probably didn't help though!)

What was the issue was that TV Headend's VM virtual Hard Disk and my Windows 10 VM virtual Disk was on the same Physical Disk - so there was a bottle neck! Basically what it was I stop watching Phil and Holly - and go into the 'office' and work, then issues started! Didn't think that I was the cause!!!

So I found a USB stick, added TVH via Librelec on the living room LibreElec instance - and job fixed (YAY). So we can now watch daytime TV again! (please don't 'judge' us!)

Lesson learned here - Don't throw everything at the server - even if it can (on paper that is) cope!
(2018-05-23, 18:14)tjay260476 Wrote: [ -> ]I know it's not entirely Kodi related, but is is how I manage the Server and it's VMs, as the Server is headless, I'd thought I show a couple more photos!

watch gallery

The left is a Mac Mini (2014) and on the right is a thin client, where I can RDP to the server which is behind me. The thin client runs Wtware, which of course the hardware is a Raspberry Pi 3 in a standard Flirc case!

The fabric around the Projector screen is not permanent, it actually looks better with the lights out, and am thinking of getting black wallpaper. The screen was a cheap one from Amazon (£15) again, didn't want anything permanent just yet.

The PJ was a cheap Chinese model off Amazon, I took care in getting the right native resolution (1280x800) and Lumens. It has paid off and does look good. It is really only a bedroom setup, so didn't want to spend too much if it went horribly wrong. 

I will be upgrading the PJ and screen in the near future, but for now it does it's job. At the end of the day it's my bedroom TV, which was only £20 more expensive than a 22" smart TV! (no brainer really) 

The 5.1 system is a Trust PC speaker system connected to a C-media USB sound card (tried a Soundblaster card but wouldn't play ball!) The shelves I got from Amazon which are meant to hold books, but these do the job.

Oh, lastly the large speakers are my Mac's speakers, which of course are powered by the amp that sits in the cabinet.

You have the same Rubik's Cube desk lamp as me.
Bit of an update, turned round the VM's for various reasons.

Firstly, my personal email and web hosting is now done by my own company - I figured that I may just use my own company's resources, and means that 'when' Rodney becomes a right plonker (read earlier in this thread - you will understand why my server is called Rodney!!) I still have my websites and emails online.

Secondly my Mac died, and had to resort to a 'real' Windows PC vs my VM. This meant that the server became my 'own' server again.

The Server is running Ubuntu Server, I installed a GUI, jus for the simple fact that sometimes it is needed - although not that much LOL It is now running TVheadend, and pulling OTA TV guide, which I'm very pleased about. I have added an rsync script to backup my media daily to external drives - which means when Rodney falls over, they can be unplugged and connected to a Raspberry Pi until everything is rebuilt.

Also there is a MySQL backup script that backs up the Kodi databases daily too - this came VERY handy when the TV collection got corrupted last week!

I have added three VM's within The Media Server, my online dev environment for customers, as well as two instances of Windows Server 2016 - both for the business - they are just squatting there until the business can have it's own server.

The intention at some point is to have the entertainment and the business on seperate networks, as at the moment there is a bit of overlap which I'm not happy with at the moment!!

Without going all 'Stallman' - I would prefer my server to be fully FOSS - which it isn't at the moment thanks to the two VM's running none-free OS's!!!
Quick update - Rodney has got over his VM issues, and is now completely FOSS! YAY! I now havd a HP G8 Microseerver that I bought second hand from a friend which is now completely Windows!

So, as it stands, the Media Server is running:

Ubuntu 18.04 with 10TB storage for media library and 10TB for backups.
TVHeadend for Freeview (still having a few pixilation issues - due to geographical reasons!)
rsync for backups
MariaDB for shared library.

If you guys want to see how this media server is built look at my wiki page https://wiki.tjay.me.uk  (if it's not allowed - please remove mods)
(2018-12-03, 02:57)skylarking Wrote: [ -> ]And hopefully the foundation will also see some sense in adding onboard the trivial circuit that is needed to allow CEC to boot up the RP AND putting all connectors on the rear of the unit AND having POE onboard

Important stuff. A safe shutdown power-on/off circuit please. And a SATA interface too. Pi4B missed out, but gave us two HDMI outputs instead, and rearranged the network and USB sockets just annoyingly enough.
I have updated Rodney the Server (please read the entire thread to find out why he is called that) so that it has a Blu Ray drive. As I have to Raspberry Pi's, one connected to the projector and one to my TV with no Blu Ray player in site - and that I have been caught out TWICE with digital download services, I needed a way to have HD physical copies to be able to be ripped and played.

I was going to go down the Full On HTPC route, but this was cheaper. Bit of jiggery pockery with Libreelec and learning quickly how to do it, I am most impressed with the Blu ray Library!

My Blu ray collection at present is small, only because I used Sky Store Buy and Keep (which the time I used didn't offer Blu Ray) which once you leave Sky - no access to your digital copies, and Amazon, again lost my account - ergo lost digital downloads, as this was the way I bought movies for a few years.

The aim was to not get caught out again - and it has worked!

What I have done is created a 'Favourites' item that goes straight to the ripped folder, and this has worked! (YAY)
TL : DR – I read the documentation and searched the forum!

As I have shown the hardware, the biggest customisation was Kodi itself, as there were certain things that I either I wanted something else to happen – or friends were getting lost around the GUI, so I changed a few behaviours using different options using different actions – such as Live TV opening channels, so I changed the behaviour to opening TV guide instead. https://kodi.wiki/view/Opening_Windows_and_Dialogs. I have used Estuary Plus as a base as I needed a bigger Guide Listings https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=307916 and used the Freeview/Free Sat logo pack that I found on the forum. https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=352988. I also renamed and reordered the menu items to suit my needs. https://kodi.wiki/view/Estuary_Modificat...Menu_Items

To differeniate the differnece between 3D/2D versions of movies, I have a template that I can add a 3D logo to a poster - just makes it easier navigating around.

On the Favourites/On-demand section, it heavily uses playlists now, and used the wiki as a starter, https://kodi.wiki/view/Smart_playlists, and used a mix of ‘Movie genre icons – Transparent’ from the official repo and all other logos that had a CC licence for the thumbnails. The ‘Jay-MTV’ is a link to the ‘party mode music video playlist’ which plays all my music videos randomly!

I do use ‘third party addons’ but I stick to one rule, as I nearly got caught out by using one then finding it was being plastered around less trustworthy sites, this rule is, if it’s not on the Kodi forum, it’s untrustworthy!

This is my list of the third party addons I use:

Netflix: https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=329767, Amazon: https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=349255, Disney +: https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=353316, Curiosity Stream: https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=345463, Udmey: https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=334392
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