Available UIs for HTPCs

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs & Equipment' started by DuronBurgerMan, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. DuronBurgerMan

    DuronBurgerMan Limp Gawd

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    Been a long time since I built an HTPC. My old i7 2600k machine was just rebuilt with a fresh motherboard as a combination NAS rig and HTPC. It already has a blu ray drive, running Windows 10, and my old Radeon 7970 in it. 16GB of 1066 RAM (yeah, slow, but it's what I've got laying around), and some other sh*t. Picked up an IR receiver and a Logitech Harmony remote, along with a cheap wireless keyboard/mouse combo.

    Just need to set up all the software. Needs to run Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Kodi, Plex, and then something to play blu ray discs and DVDs. Ideally I'd like to put all of this on some kind of easy-to-use front-end that could be navigated by the remote, similar to the Fire Stick I'm running upstairs.

    Any thoughts on what I should use for the front-end? And anything else, hardware-wise, you think I need for this setup? I was figuring on using the HDMI pass thru for audio, but no idea if that works with surround sound or not.
     
  2. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    Buy a fire stick and a standalone blu-ray player.

    Cost, 90 bucks. HTPC's are pretty much a dying breed, they have no real relevance anymore unless you like endlessly tweaking custom renderers for perceived gains.
     
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  3. DuronBurgerMan

    DuronBurgerMan Limp Gawd

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    I already have a fire stick for the upstairs setup. I have this box sitting around for NAS duty anyway... may as well use it for the downstairs TV, too.
     
  4. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    Go for it, getting all the UI stuff setup is a pain. Then you'll need to spend money if you want a decent bluray player.
     
  5. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    You could in theory launch stuff from steam big picture, a if you have a controller. Works pretty well with kodi and steam anyway. I think you can even setup your plex library to run through kodi. As far as bluray not 100% how to make that seamless so a good wireless keyboard an touch mouse might be in order like a logitech k400 or something.
     
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  6. qbanb8582

    qbanb8582 [H]ard|Gawd

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    As far as HTPC there aren't any real good frontends when it comes to having Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Especially if you want something that you can use the harmony remote. Now if you get a something that has a touchpad then it could be manageable because there are apps in the windows 10 store. Last I used them a mouse was needed and it makes hard to use the harmony remote. Also Netflix and Amazon is often usually gimped on the PC only doing 720p and only 2.0 audio.

    But Kodi is probably the best all around option on an HTPC. As far as actual blu ray discs, I don't think kodi as support for encrypted discs, Powerdvd is probably the best option for a blu ray player.

    I just came off using an HTPC. But I used Netflix on my TV once support for windows media center was dropped.

    As far hardware it will work through HDMI with surround sound. If your GPU supports HDMI 1.4 it will bitstream stream audio like Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD. If you get something like GTX 1050 or RX 460 it supports HDMI 2.0 as well as HEVC decoding for 4k video. I don't know if Windows supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X yet.
     
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  7. Clovis559

    Clovis559 n00bie

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    If your interested in Atmos support for your reciever, it's supposed to be added to Windows April 11. Supposedly Headphone support is coming at some point in time too, sorta like what Overwatch has I'd imagine.
     
  8. DGMurdockIII

    DGMurdockIII Limp Gawd

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    If u want to only use a remote with your computer for home theater then I suggest u get the flirc usb https://flirc.tv/more/flirc-usb

    Flirc allows you to pair any remote control with your computer or media center. Just walk through our super simple cross platform pairing application, and you're done. Use your previously paired remote with no additional software on any machine with flirc.
     
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  9. Bandalo

    Bandalo [H]ard|Gawd

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    I went to an Nvidia Shield a year or two ago. Runs all the apps you mentioned, more than enough CPU/GPU juice for everything I've thrown at it..and the interface is fairly easy to use with the included remote or any basic remote.
     
  10. DGMurdockIII

    DGMurdockIII Limp Gawd

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    What u can do set it all up with kodi with plugin and
     
  11. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    To me high end playback, Nvidia shield is what I would look at. Don't waste your time with Win 10 and kodi etc...
     
  12. Toepunch

    Toepunch [H]Lite

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    Run plex on your regular pc if you have a smart TV
     
  13. Domingow

    Domingow 2[H]4U

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    OP FWIW I went through what you are attempting to do last year. Ultimately I decided to go with a Fire TV box. Less fuss, easy to use and the wife factor is good. My HTPC is still in the media cabinet unplugged and unused for 1yr.

    Fire TV works, its simple and FAST. 4k supported and my logitech harmony 900 works with it too. (CEC yo)
    Plex server is running on my server, plex front end for local files, PS Vue, Hulu, Netflix et al served up on the Fire TV.

    Anyways thats the advice from this oldster. Back to genmay for me.
     
  14. Anh N.

    Anh N. Gawd

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    The software for bluray playback on HTPC is a pain, and you would have to spend money to get the software to play it. I think an Xbox S would be better, and just run plex/emby apps on it. Natively has Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, Youtube, Crunchyroll, etc. It has a 4k bluray player, and you can also play console games. And just use your PC as a dedicated media server. Front end is also extremely easy to use for the family.
     
  15. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    One thing about running native plex apps via shield is support for dts files. As far as I am aware the firestick and 4k box do not support this. For me most if not all of movies usually have a dts. This will force a transcode. Not a big deal for a most but I much prefer full direct play. Love my sound. I use the native plex app on my Samsung ks8000. It has its own issues but that's more of Samsung's fault. It also has most of the typical apps like Amazon, Netflix etc...

    I use a chrome cast for direct tv now.