Help a noob plan their first HTPC!

And 6 hours later... we're up and running.


Got the drivers all installed so we're looking good.

Next time:
  • Put the actual case all back together Wink
  • Set up XBMC
  • Set up automatic usenet downloading
  • Figure out a good remote for XBMC


Good night everyone. Thanks again for all of your help!
Just an 'in advance' dumb question before I work again on my HTPC tonight:

If I have Sabnzbd, Couchpotato, Sickbeard all installed on my HTPC, can I access the same set up on my MacBook Pro and tweak things from my Mac and it will be updated on my HTPC.

For example, changing settings on Sabznbd or adding a show on Sickbeard, will it all be linked to my Usenet setup on the HTPC? That way, I don't necessarily have to exit XBMC and do that from my HTPC directly but I can do it remotely from my MacBook Pro?
If I understand the question, yeah... Those programs are web sites on your HTPC, so changes you make from anywhere on your network happen on the HTPC.

You may need to allow those through any firewall you may be running on the HTPC and possibly configure them to respond to the IP of your HTPC instead of localhost, but yeah, you should be good to go.

Sickbeard even has an addon for XBMC as well as SabNZBD+
(2012-04-04, 10:17)magpieswarble Wrote: And 6 hours later... we're up and running.
Good job and congratulation! Hard work will always prevail......Nod

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
(2012-04-04, 22:13)Kirky99 Wrote: If I understand the question, yeah... Those programs are web sites on your HTPC, so changes you make from anywhere on your network happen on the HTPC.

You may need to allow those through any firewall you may be running on the HTPC and possibly configure them to respond to the IP of your HTPC instead of localhost, but yeah, you should be good to go.

Sickbeard even has an addon for XBMC as well as SabNZBD+

Thanks Kirky. So if I understand you, I'd have to change the settings in SabNZBD+ to reflect the IP address of the HTPC and not localhost or my MacBook Pro's IP Address.

Follow up question to that.. do you have to assign a static IP address to your HTPC?
Yeah, I think you understand. If SAB/SB/CP is installed on the HTPC, they should be configured to respond to the HTPC IP address not local host. If you can do static IP assignment on your router, then you are golden.

Call your HTPC something like HTPC and you can access to websites on it like this: http://HTPC:8080 or whatever the ports get assigned to each application.
Thanks Kirky!

Well I did some more work last night and I have XBMC, SABNzbd and Sickbeard all installed and working pretty well.

There was some post-processing issues after sending a TV show from Sickbeard into SABNzbd but I got that figured out. It's amazing how user friendly the error messages are in the SABNzbd logs. It's in plain english which I love.

The only weird thing I noticed was the little image icon for 30 Rock in my Aeon XBMC skin was this ugly low-res picture stretched all weird. The background banner downloaded beautifully and is high res but the little image was ugly and stretched. I tried playing around with some of the skin display settings but couldn't figure out if Sickbeard just grabbed a crappy low res picture for that or what. I'll have to look into it a little more.

Since I was just testing the 'logistics' of SickBeard -> SABNzbd -> Playing the video in XBMC, I was only downloading standard def videos last night. I'll definitely be testing some 1080p blu-ray quality videos soon. I'll be sure to take some pictures soon so you guys can see.

I've got another couple questions for you guys. I was demo'ing the system to my friends the other day, and unfortunately, SABnzbd wasn't able to download any episodes that I was feeding it through Sickbeard.

Something about an error retrieving the nzb file from my nzb provider (NZBMatrix.) I checked my NZB Matrix credentials in SABnzbd and it looked fine to me. I did a quick Google search and found that this is actually somewhat normal for NZB providers that it just craps out every once in awhile. Is that true? Kind of a bummer if that's the case.. sucks having to manually feed SABNzbd the nzb file just to start the episode download.

I know this isn't a ton of info about the error message I got, but if this sounds familiar and you have any information about it, I'd love to have some light shed on it.

The other issue I saw was that it was downloading my TV shows to a different folder on my external than the other night when it was working correctly. This tripped up my XBMC and I had to manually 'Add Files' and point it to the episode I just downloaded instead of it just automatically adding it in.

I guess I'm a little confused by 'Download Locations' for my usenet files. My confusion comes from these points:

1. I'm confused that both SickBeard and SABnzbd seem to ask for where these TV shows will download and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to leave SickBeard blank and let SABnzbd handle it, or they both have to be the same?
2. I've followed a couple of SABNZbd + SickBeard setup guides and most of them say to have a 'Complete' and 'Incomplete' folder. However, other guides have separate 'TV Shows' folder that they manually created as well. I think what would help is if someone could just tell me what their folder tree looks like where their TV shows download. Mine is something like this:

D: Complete
D: Incomplete
D: TV Shows

(all 3 folders are in the root of my external. As you can tell, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing Smile )

I'm away from my HTPC (at work) right now, so I'm kind of guessing at all this and trying to recall all the details of the problem. However, just any general information on best practices for setting up folders and any information about what that 'error retrieving NZB file' was about would be super helpful.

Thanks guys!
NZBMatrix has been having rouble lately..

SAB downloads to a Completed folder (and the category if you use them). Post processing should pick them up from here and move them to your final destination. Post processing is your choice, I use the normal Sickbeard post processing.

I have:


NZBs are put in Blackhole\TV (which automatically put them in the TV category)
SAB monitors the Blackhole folder
Once complete, TV shows are put in Complete\TV\[nzb name here]
Sickbeard monitors the Complete\TV folder for shows to move
Sickbeard then moves the file(s) from Complete\TV\[nzb name here] to Media\Video\TV\[tv show name]

Works for me mostly...
Hey Kirky. Thanks for the reply.

Does NZBMatrix often have trouble like this? And how quickly does it usually clear up?

I didn't notice if this was an option, but is there a way for Sickbeard to automatically search my second and third NZB providers that I've chosen when the first fails like it did last night? What are the best free NZB providers that would make for a good backup when NZBmatrix isn't working?

I'm still a little confused with the download folders and how to get XBMC to pick up on it properly. It will probably just take some trial and error. From what I gather though, I need to make sure my 'Complete' contains the 'TV' folder and then point my Sickbeard to that folder..? Or Do I point SabNZBD to that folder? Hmm..

I was looking at this guide:

And noticed this step:

5. Go back to SABnzbd and click on the "sorting" tab. Disable sorting for TV shows.

Do you recommend doing that, Kirky?
If you're using Sickbeard to do post processing, then you don't want/need to worry about that sorting tab.

I neglected to say, my XBMC sources are pointing at the Media\Video\TV folder for my TV shows. I also turned on allowng other programs to control XBMC, and setup Sickbeard to notify XBMC on downloads. XBMC will import the TV shows when it gets that notification.

Yes, Sickbeard points to the Completed\TV show folder to detect when a download is complete, then it will move that into its final location (in my case the Media\Video\TV folder). There's a lot of file manipulation going on, most of it you don't need to worry about.
Ahhh. Thanks Kirky. I got it all worked out. Just took some fiddling and letting SickBeard do the post-processing. Things are looking better now.

Couple of new questions (of course..):

1. I'd love to get blu-rays opinion on this one. The Heatsink fan that came with the AMD A6-3650 APU is super loud. I'm looking to either buy a new CPU fan that is slim and will be a lot quieter, or an entirely new heatsink (if necessary) that is also slim enough to fit under that Power Supply and is compatible with the processor/mobo. Blu-ray, I assume you didn't stick with the heatsink/fan that came with the AMD APU in your build? What did you end up doing?

2. I added some older shows from 2005 that don't seem to be available from Astraweb (due to the 1333 day retention rate, I assume?) Are there other usenet providers that offer higher retentation rates for finding older shows? Alternatively, are there any free usenet providers that I can search which provide older shows that came out more than a few years ago? Maybe I'm misunderstanding retention rates and whether I should blame NZBMatrix or Astraweb?

What do you guys do for shows that aired more than a few years ago?

Thank you!
#2 Astraweb and Giganews from what I understand have the highest retention, if it's not on them, it ain't out there.

1300+ days is about 3.5 years ago. The only one to blame is yourself for not getting newsgroups running sooner! Big Grin
In that case, how reliable have you found the 'Torrent Search' option in SickBeard to be for finding those older TV shows when it's not on Usenet any longer?
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Help a noob plan their first HTPC!00