New XBMC build progress

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Dec 22, 2002
Messages
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I've been an avid Windows Media Center enthusiast for many years now until I started getting tired of the lack of customization so I started reading about XBMC. I used to use it on my original Xbox so I was quite interested to see where it was in the PC arena. Come to find out the community is alive an kicking strong. Many mods, nightly builds, and tons of support. Here are some pics..they really do not do this interface justice. As I progress in my customization, I will take better pics and point out any difficulties, it really isn't that hard to customize..just need to read a little.

This is also all controlled by my HTC Incredible Android Phone with the official XMBC remote app. I don't have another camera to show you that but the remote app in itself is simply amazing.

Hardware:<--Spare, not optimal for HTPC use..really too powerful.
CASE: Currently on my test bench, looking for a good case.
Corsair 450
MSI 785GM
AMD Phenom x3 unlocked 4th core
4GB DDR3
XFX 5450
74GB Raptor-Soon will be changing to SSD, small is fine, everything is stored on my WHS VAIL Hyper-V server
Windows 7 Professional-Use this for REMOTE DESKTOP access

PICS aren't that great will get better ones soon. Also..I just installed the SUB..have to put the cable in the wall as of yet.





 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Nice, I love XBMC and I'm running it with the Iphone app. It has a ton of custom options and is constantly being updated and filled with options people request. I keep trying different skins but always come back to the Transparency! skin. How about some pictures of the rest of your setup?
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 22, 2002
Messages
4,943
The key to a simple setup with XBMC or Mediabrowser or any Front End really is that your Media has to be in order. If you take the time and configure your media folders/naming conventions, etc, it's so much easier. You can start doing this now, with Ember Media Manager..etc. I'm still not there as of yet, but that's really what i'm working on now, that and converting my Blue Ray collection to MKV.

Another step that helped me was obtaining 1080 Backdrops for my menu items. Ember Media Manager can take care of everything else, though the Trailer support is horrible.

I really want to have this finalized by the Holidays so i'm really going to put some time into this project.

No need to show the hardware as of yet on the test bench..will try to get my HTPC case then I will show that.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
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Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Ember is great. Another piece of software I'd recommend you take a look at is TV Rename. Once you log all your shows into the program, it will move, sort, and rename all you TV show files to whatever organization/naming scheme you have. It will also find any episodes you are missing, tell you when the next episodes will be airing, and it does a minimal amount of metadata retrieval (although I don't use this function because I use Ember for all that).

How do you like the Aeon skin, I haven't used it in probably 6-8 months.

Cant wait to see the finished project pictures.
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 22, 2002
Messages
4,943
How do you like the Aeon skin, I haven't used it in probably 6-8 months.

Absolutely love it..i'm using Aeon Showmix 2.5 that's been updated to work with XBMC Dharma Beta 2
 

morgwon

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 25, 2004
Messages
7,906
yeah I have been thinking about making the switch to xbmc also for the same reasons. Any guides you can recommend?
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=XBMC_Online_Manual
is a great place to start with the basics and some of the advanced stuff. Otherwise the xbmc forums are a great place to learn about all the new stuff that is going on. Also, just a lot of getting in there and playing with the settings and arrangements. It really is rather user friendly and laid out in a nice way.
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
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yeah I have been thinking about making the switch to xbmc also for the same reasons. Any guides you can recommend?

This guy pretty much lays it all out for you ..there will be some things you'll have to research but he pretty much takes you through the entire process.

http://thegeekstreet.com/
 

Zachstar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,407
Why on earth do you need an unlocked x3? you could likely drop it to 2 and do a massive underclock with no effects.
 

CrimandEvil

Dick with a heart of gold
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
19,671
Why on earth do you need an unlocked x3? you could likely drop it to 2 and do a massive underclock with no effects.

Because :rolleyes:
OP's first freaking post said:
Hardware:<--Spare, not optimal for HTPC use..really too powerful.
Anyways, I LOVE the progress that has been made on XBMC lately, I'm considering using it for a few extender systems. :)
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Dec 22, 2002
Messages
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Went with the Lian Li PC-V354B and a G-Skill Pheonix Pro 60GB SSD hopefully those will arrive tomorrow evening so i can work on the build this weekend..i'll throw some pics up.

Why on earth do you need an unlocked x3? you could likely drop it to 2 and do a massive underclock with no effects.

I love questions like these ..just for you Zachster I bought an SSD and I may throw in another spare 4GB of DDR3 that I have laying around!!...lol...

Ok..ok..i'll play along this is also ripping and encoding my Blue Ray collection as well. Eventually it will be running my basement theater.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
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Went with the Lian Li PC-V354B and a G-Skill Pheonix Pro 60GB SSD hopefully those will arrive tomorrow evening so i can work on the build this weekend..

(snip)

Let me know how XBMC feels after you put the SSD on there. My system works great now but I've been wondering what it would be like after an SSD upgrade. Especially interested in the speed of building the initial library if you see a large improvement or not.
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Let me know how XBMC feels after you put the SSD on there. My system works great now but I've been wondering what it would be like after an SSD upgrade. Especially interested in the speed of building the initial library if you see a large improvement or not.

I'm probably going to rebuild completely, backup my backdrops..etc to WHS and try to lighten up Windows 7 with a utility where I can pick what I want installed.

I was still a little disappointed in the transition animations, they should be flowing a little smoother than they were.
 

outspoken

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
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I'm probably going to rebuild completely, backup my backdrops..etc to WHS and try to lighten up Windows 7 with a utility where I can pick what I want installed.

I was still a little disappointed in the transition animations, they should be flowing a little smoother than they were.

i'd like to redo my MC install as well and was thinking about following the vLite for MC found here:

http://www.hack7mc.com/2010/03/creating-a-windows-7-lite-for-media-center-users-with-vlite.html

May be a bit out-dated, not sure if there are better articles or tools for the job.

Setup looks great, it's been a long time since I've tried XBMC (Using Media Browser in Media Center works great for me). Looking at your pics and the links posted I'm considering giving it a try this weekend.
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Dec 22, 2002
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All the parts have arrived...will rebuild starting tomorrow, decided to go with some water cooling..should be nice and quiet.

 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Dec 22, 2002
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And the build begins, i'm not going water cooling after all..I actually am going to use that on my 1055t instead. Going to clean up the cabling today and get to starting the software install tonight.






 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
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How did it go? Did you notice any performance increases in XBMC with the SSD?
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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How did it go? Did you notice any performance increases in XBMC with the SSD?

It was actually going great, got all my media loaded..etc, finished my Blue Ray rips and converted to .mkv until I started playing some of my movies. At the time I downloaded the latest SVN build and a when I started playing some of my movies w/DTS, I started getting a stutter during the movies, performance was validated CPU usage between 13-22%, etc. Looked on the XBMC forums and found that I wasn't the only one having this issue. Supposed to be fixed in the lastest build or possibly the next Dharma beta...i'll have to check..but i'm a little upset that I have to set this up again with the backdrops..etc. The SSD certainly didn't hurt with the backdrops and transitions. I am using all 1080p backdrops..etc.

Updates and more pics to follow..going to start to re-configure with the latest build tonight...and coming to the realization that I don't have as much time as I thought..hopefully this solves the DTS issue and I can continue to get everything the way I want it. One thing i really do like is when browsing my hd movies I can click left and a the info box will rotate and play the trailer for that movie..really nice feature and easy to set up.
 
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Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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She's coming along nicely with the latest Dharma build. Audio issues are resolved and it's superslick. I'm pretty much done with the basics and now I want to get HULU..and some other add-ons going.

MAIN MOVIE BACKDROP

MOVIE SELECTION SCREEN w/MOVIE IMAGES

MOVIE SELECTION SCREEN PLAYING TRAILER..you really have to see the animation for this..it's very neat:


My TV shows are setup with a swipe animation..very cool..it's like sideways flip...anyway..really need to get my TV Shows Library updated to 100% HD. Most of it is but I have some old DVD rips of Band of Brothers..etc. that I want in HD.

Music..well.that's another story..I really have wayyyy too much work getting my Music in order for it to all look nice..but the majority of it has all the CD covers..etc.

Well..on to integrating Hulu and hopefully Netflix and some other add-ons like Shoutcast.

Again..i'm using the Aeon Showmix skin that's compatible for Dharma. I think it's the best skin out that at the moment but i'm waiting on the guy from thegeekstreet.com to finish his Nova skin..looks very slick:

http://thegeekstreet.com/?p=889

One of the other things I noticed with the remote app for my Droid Incredible for XBMC..when you get a phone call..it displays on the screen and immediately pauses what you are watching..just figured that out tonight..very cool.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
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Messages
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Wow, Aeon has come along very nicely since I last saw it. Looks very slick, especially with the multiple backdrop display around the trailer/information area. I may have to give that skin another look. So how much smoother does it run with the SSD? I haven't ever used an SSD drive so I'm not sure how much snappier it makes things. Would you say it is a large and noticeable difference well worth an upgrade? Also curious as to how the rest of your setup looks. Great build log so far.
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
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The SSD certainly makes everything run smoother, afterall, harddrives are the primary bottleneck usually in any system when compared to memory and cpu. Is it worth it? IMHO, I think SSD's make a huge difference in overall performance so to me..yes..it's worth it, that certainly doesn't mean you can't get by with a nice SATA drive. I have an SSD in my main system and my laptop so i'm used to that kind of performance..little spoiled I guess.

I'll try to make a video and post it on youtube so you can see everthing..

I'll post about my Windows Vail server later. It's actually working very well in Hyper-V on a AMD Hexacore. I'm using Passthrough disks for the VM to access my drives. Haven't had a problem yet..knock on wood.
 

ROCKETR

Gawd
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I'll post about my Windows Vail server later. It's actually working very well in Hyper-V on a AMD Hexacore. I'm using Passthrough disks for the VM to access my drives. Haven't had a problem yet..knock on wood.

I'm very interested to hear about your setup.
 

krelkor

Weaksauce
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Dec 9, 2006
Messages
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Random question, can you use the android remote app as a softkeyboard for doing searches and such? would make youtube and the like much easier.
 

Luxor

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 5, 2003
Messages
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Really fuggin nice. I am envious .... and I get to use nice comparable setups every now and then, but I really like the way everything is of easy access. I'm saving this thread for ideas for my mid-life crisis. :D
 

Hallis

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 26, 2001
Messages
4,558
nice build. I just threw together an HTPC using spare parts. I'm using Media Browser and Windows Media Center for now. But did download a Live CD for XBMC. Guess I need to re-visit that as an option.
 

CrimandEvil

Dick with a heart of gold
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Oct 22, 2003
Messages
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Meh. Tried out XBMC last night and it's still annoying for me to use compared to WMC. Still not worth my time.
 

mrbrad

n00b
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May 26, 2010
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The SSD certainly makes everything run smoother, afterall, harddrives are the primary bottleneck usually in any system when compared to memory and cpu. Is it worth it? IMHO, I think SSD's make a huge difference in overall performance so to me..yes..it's worth it, that certainly doesn't mean you can't get by with a nice SATA drive. I have an SSD in my main system and my laptop so i'm used to that kind of performance..little spoiled I guess.

Any thought to moving that SSD elsewhere? I've often thought about doing this -- just wire in a 4GB flash drive that'll boot into XBMC Live. You'll lose remote desktop, but for a HTPC it shouldn't matter too much as long as you can still connect to your WHS (never tried WHS before, don't know if that's an option). Would save you $150 on a new SSD
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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Since I no longer have the need to utilize physical media, my collection and future media will all be converted to h264 and the HD movie content that I only want to watch once will be played from Vudu.

I have downsized my HTPC to fit my needs quite frankly, like many of us, just don't have the time any longer to really play and make all the necessary modifications to XBMC.

Having said that..I still want to stick with XBMC, well..sort of...i'm going Boxee.

Lian Li PC-C36 w/300Watt PS
Core 2 Duo 8500
4GB Ram
XFX5450
G-Skill Phoenix Plus SSD
Windows 7 Pro 64Bit stripped down
Latest Boxee release.
IPAD w/Boxee Remote

Updates for build and progress will be coming. In the next few months, Boxee will be releasing a great IPAD app:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/06/boxees-unreleased-vudu-and-ipad-apps-hands-on

This app will allow you to play the content on your IPAD or on your tv screen..very nice..and it's going to be free!
 
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Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
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XBMC is a front end that handles playback of your media among other things. It's highly customizable and can run with a small footprint. There is a very strong community of developers..etc that are customizing the code on a regular basis, not too mention the user community mods and information.
 
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