htpc

HTPC Switching... Again

My bedroom HTPC is back up and running, with my wife singing its praises. We have a 56" DLP in the living room and she wants to watch her shows on the 19" LCD monitor setup in there. But whatever the wife wants, the wife gets, right? The issue came down to using Boxee vs. XBMC, and using Vista vs. Linux vs. XP. In the end, XP and XBMC won out. The first machine I started with was a 3GHz single-core HT P4 with 2GB RAM and a 128MB nVidia card. It started as a Vista machine, but the license I was using was betrothed to the machine in the living room. After two weeks it just crapped out with limited processor, black desktop, and annoying prompts that I may be a victim of software counterfeiting. After that I installed the latest Ubuntu, 10.04. Aside from the annoying left-side close buttons, it didn't work too bad... until XMBC or Boxee started up. The machine just went to a crawl and took forever to bring back from a coma.
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Finally!

Last night I finally swapped out my Windows+MediaPortal HTPC for a Linux Mint+Boxee one. The benefits, of course, being the on-line content that Boxee brings to the table as well as the ability to use the $20 Vista-only remotes I bought ~3 years ago. I played back some 1080p videos in testing, and... wow. Not a peep from the newer machine (dual core, 2GB, 512MB video). This was a stark contrast to my other HTPC that sounded more like a jet engine than a computer when attempting to play HD content.

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Initial Boxee Issues

So I've been playing with Boxee full time for a week or so, and I've run into just one small issue that... stinks. There is no way to specify a movie vs. a TV show. This becomes a problem when you have a TV show named Ghost Hunters and there is a movie with the same name. Similarly, an episode of Robot Chicken was tagged as Spider Man: Behind The Scenes. For the most part, this isn't an issue. However, it would be nice to re-tag items that are incorrectly tagged. Not a show stopper, but something definitely annoying to the [power] end user.

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Changing Media Centers

I have decided to make the switch. Yes, a new media center (or HTPC, if you prefer). I've been a longtime follower and user of MediaPortal, both for its ability to run on different hardware and the quality of the finished project. It has the ability to run a TV "server", and schedule recordings and playback for every MP computer in the house. In addition, it has great plugin support and the quality of the plugins are just as good.

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Multiple MediaPortal Setup

So I'm into Media Centers / HTPC's. They're fun, easy, and a great way to both store your media and playback that same media. I currently have a fileserver that serves... files... to my network. Here's my problem: MediaPortal sets up easy, works well, but the only networked part of the setup is the TV Server setup. Now this feature in and of itself is pretty sweet- throw a bunch of tuners into one box, share it to the other networked MediaPortal clients, and viola! Instant TV-over-IP.

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