What's your HTPC Software of choice?

What Media Center software do you use? (And why?

  • Windows Media Center

    Votes: 68 55.3%
  • XBMC

    Votes: 31 25.2%
  • Media Portal

    Votes: 6 4.9%
  • Other?

    Votes: 18 14.6%

  • Total voters
    123

ShepsCrook

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I've recently moved to using XBMC and have found it to be very visually appealing, lots of options, but not the most intuitive with it's design.

I've been using Windows Media Center (Win 7) for a while and previous versions.

What do you use and why?


Windows Media Center
XBMC
Media Portal

Oh and if you use something, please give some reasons why you like it over other ones. Such as style, features, capabilities... etc.
 

Archer75

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 10, 2001
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Windows Media Center. Along with the Media Browser plugin. Gives me the visuals of XBMC with none of the hassles. And my remote works ;)
http://www.mediabrowser.tv/

Because it's media center I still have a tuner and DVR. Can also install Hulu, boxee, youtube and netflix apps in it. That along with it's built in streaming gives me all the content I could want.
I also can bitstream DTS-MA HD/Dolby TrueHD.

I've just had too many issues with XBMC and it's too limiting for what I want to do. In the past I could never get my remote to work properly. I've heard they have come a long ways in this area but it's still not perfect. I don't like how if it doesn't recognize a TV show or movie it won't show it in the list. I need it to show everything even if it can't identify everything. Yes, I know the proper naming conventions and have always used them but somtimes XBMC just doesn't see some stuff.
I do have a lot of miscellaneous video so that won't show up unless I navigate to a different area.

You can get XBMC to bitstream HD audio but only through the use of an external player such as MPC-HC. That's fine other than the fact the configuration is a bitch. With media browser it's just a couple of clicks and it's set up. With XBMC you have to start editing files in a way that makes me feel like I need to be a programmer.
 
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Kelvarr

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Jul 19, 2001
Messages
4,379
Windows Media Center and Media Browser. Throw some Hulu plugins and Arcsoft Total Media Theatre in there to round it out.

My media box is basically only for DVD/Blu-ray as I do not have a tuner at this time.

I went with MC7+MB basically because of the recommendations of this forum. It hasn't let me wrong I don't think. I have also tried/played with XBMC utilizing a plug-in for MC7. Sometimes I'll switch over. I like some of the things that XBMC does much better than MC7 (native ISO support being one of them). That is probably the biggest downfall of MC7+MB....I have to utilize Daemon Tools to mount my ISO's. (I use ISO's for a specific reason, and she is almost 4 years old)

After playing with XBMC, I end up always coming back to MC7+MB for one big reason....my wife. She greatly prefers the aesthetics of MC7+MB, and how it works for her.
 

CrimandEvil

Dick with a heart of gold
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Oct 22, 2003
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WMC with Media Browser. Along with Media Center Studio I can customise WMC to open iTunes, Pandora (Firefox), JustinTV, Hulu Desktop, etc.

I've also used Media Portal back in the day and loved it too. It gets my second vote (if I could vote for a second).

I've tried out XBMC several times (each major update) and I hate it. Harder to setup, it's ugly visually compared to WMC and MB and it's UI is annoying to navigate.
 

Activate: AMD

[H]ard|Gawd
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WMC with Media Browser. Along with Media Center Studio I can customise WMC to open iTunes, Pandora (Firefox), JustinTV, Hulu Desktop, etc.

this is exactly what I do. I also have a cablecard tuner, so the TV functions of WMC are necessary
 

drescherjm

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mythtv

www.mythtv.org

It has everything the commercial PVR systems (Tivo, Fios, Comcast ...) have with a lot more freedom. The only negative is the lack of a Cablecard tuner being that mythtv is linux based.
 

scaarbelly

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Dec 11, 2008
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I've tried out XBMC several times (each major update) and I hate it. Harder to setup, it's ugly visually compared to WMC and MB and it's UI is annoying to navigate.

For me it is the exact opposite. Go figure. :)
 

_cashel

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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Mediaportal + StreamedMP Plugin: just as quick and easy as WMC to get running at this point and prettier
 
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echn111

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2007
Messages
1,086
XBMC because it looks good "after you've configured it" and is simple to use "after you've configured it". And it comes ready with a lot of very useful functions that do not require plugins (e.g. automatic IMDB ratings, poster and screen art, actor profiles, film profiles, automatic media profiles etc.)

Yes, before it is setup, it does indeed look ugly and is difficult to use especially as the developers seem to have hidden the configuration options all over the place. So it requires some effort at first, but once setup, it's not only easier to use than WMC but more powerful, and IMHO, looks better.
 

Adidas4275

Supreme [H]ardness
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Mar 11, 2006
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Media Center.....

with mymovies

Cable Card and the DVR functionality of WMC is great.
 

Rogue71

[H]ard|Gawd
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Aug 25, 2007
Messages
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im one of the guys in the darkages on htpc interfaces....lol
i use the basic WMC interface. i use Media Center Studio to customize the menu a bit and installed the cccp codec pack. i use the My Movies Collection Manager to get all my dvd movie data and covers, but i do not use the My Movies plugin for WMC. i also have started using TMT3 for blu-ray playback, although its not a totally seamless integration. everytime a blu-ray stops and i press back to revert to the WMC interface my taskbar is highlighted, so i have to use a mouse to reselect the screen to maximize it...otherwise im happy with the way ive got mine setup.
 

farscapesg1

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Joined
Aug 4, 2004
Messages
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SageTV

Server/Client setup, extenders that can play practically anything, placeshifter client for watching recorded TV while traveling, and no DRM (thought I would accept that if it meant integrated cablecard support).
 

OldSchool

Limp Gawd
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Jul 6, 2010
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You can't vote for two? :eek:

SageTV for recorded TV, XMBC for everything else. I tried WMC but all the DRM/Proprietary BS is unacceptable.
 

devil22

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Joined
Jan 1, 2003
Messages
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WMC + Media browser, Hulu and Boxee plug-ins. I mostly just watch ripped blu-rays and music videos and listen to music on my htpc. I tried using MPC-HC as the media browser external player for my movies, but it started to stutter, tried switching renderers, no dice. Reinstalled it with default settings, still stuttered. So I went back to WMC. Seemed to happen right when I added a second monitor to my htpc, too bad as mpc-hc with EVR renderer has really low CPU usage (5-10% vs. 30-40% for WMC), but since I don't use the htpc for anything else besides WMC, plus WMP on the second monitor, it's no big deal as it does these tasks fine.
 

CKTurbo128

Gawd
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Oct 8, 2004
Messages
607
I use MediaPortal with the StreamedMP and myEmulator plugins, since I watch movies and play console emulators on my HTPC setup.
 

IDversusEGO

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
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SageTV

Server/Client setup, extenders that can play practically anything, placeshifter client for watching recorded TV while traveling, and no DRM (thought I would accept that if it meant integrated cablecard support).


SageTV here too. Sage 7 has resurrected them IMO.
 

xrintrahx

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
258
7MC for me. I use 7MC for watching live HD TV (with pause and rewind functions). I don't do much recording of TV though. I also use the Netflix plugin and the DVD player (when it is working..). I use three 3rd party add-ons: TMT 5, Media Browser, and GameEx. TMT is used for playing blu-rays (and sometimes DVDs when 7MC hangs up for some reason). Media Browser is used to watch my networked movie and TV show files. GameEx is used to launch game emulators.

I have yet to find a satisfactory way to integrate music. I've just been using a mouse and loading playlists in WMP the couple times I've wanted music in the living room. I wasn't a fan of how 7MC of Media Browser handles music.

I have not tried any other HTPC software. I'm a big fan of the 7MC TV guide and their interface design and how pause, rewind, skip forward etc are laid out and how they function. I've used Media Center Studio to hide the menu items I don't use (but somehow my TMT button doesn't work anymore, so I can only open TMT from the autoplay menu that comes up on disc insertion). It's been a lot of work to get to where I am now, and I guess I have too much invested to try anything else (and it sounds like a lot of the other solutions have even more configurations and setup and coding).


Rogue71, for your focus problem, does your remote have a "green button"? If so, pressing that should bring 7MC back to the front, so no need for a mouse.
 

vectravl400

Weaksauce
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Sep 24, 2007
Messages
80
Mythtv

Runs well on older hardware, is OS, supports mulitple frontend pcs from one backend and plays just about everything. No cable/dish so the recording features are pretty much irrelevant to me.
 

magao

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
214
I've previously tried WMC, XBMC and MediaPortal. For the last couple of years I've been using MediaPortal as it best supported what I wanted to play (which includes Anime fansubs). XBMC has always shown a lot of promise, but has had niggling issues.

Unfortunately, there's always been the annoying need with MediaPortal to be running it on top of Windows. Sometimes it loses focus, sometimes other Windows issues crop up. I had it pretty stable, but there were still annoyances.

The recent release of XBMC 10.0 (Dharma) has changed everything. I now have XBMCLive installed to a 4GB USB drive plugged into the back of each of my HTPCs. No hard drive noise (everything comes over the gigabit network), playback is excellent, subtitles are perfect, VDPAU offloading for nearly everything allows lower-power CPU, RC6 (MCE) remote support is excellent (I use a Logitech Harmony of course) I had deliberately bought nVidia cards to use with CoreAVC + CUDA, and fortunately these are also the best-supported cards in XBMC. Both my HTPCs are now essentially silent, whereas previously there was always a little bit of hard drive noise to annoy me.

If I wanted to I could use a central MySQL database to synchronise between the two HTPCs, but they're used for different purposes, so I haven't bothered with that.

I also very much like the Confluence skin (in start contrast to above posters it seems), but then I do like minimalistic interfaces (I just use the file browser - I'm happy to organise things myself). When I was using MP I just stuck with the Blue3Wide skin (although the MePo mascot always annoyed me). There is a bit of setup required, but the vast majority can be done through the UI (and most of the locations of the settings make sense to me, though some are a bit strange). I've found that there is a need to modify the advancedsettings.xml still, but it's a one-off task.

The only thing I'm missing from MediaPortal is the multi-touch skip forwards/backwards (XBMC's skip implementation is IMO more primitive, but the devs prefer it). I've been thinking of implementing it myself as an option if I find the time. My TV card is in my server, and I haven't got that working with XBMC yet, but I could if I wanted to.

In the end, I'd heartily recommend either MP or XBMC to people, but suggest that people try XBMCLive first to see if they're happy with it before going to the more involved setup required for MP on top of Windows.
 
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SirMaster

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I prefer Media Player Classic HomeCinema.

It lets me use FFDShow so I can encode my 5.1 movie audio into a HRTF track to get surround sound in my stereo Sennheiser headphones.

I did give Media Browser a try, but I couldn't get subtitles to work or bit-streaming DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD and those things seem to work fine for me in HomeCinema.
 

Activate: AMD

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I prefer Media Player Classic HomeCinema.

It lets me use FFDShow so I can encode my 5.1 movie audio into a HRTF track to get surround sound in my stereo Sennheiser headphones.

I did give Media Browser a try, but I couldn't get subtitles to work or bit-streaming DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD and those things seem to work fine for me in HomeCinema.
you can use media browser to launch MPC-HC from within windows media center. Set it as an external player in the media browser options for all the file types you want to play back using mpc and voila! HD audio bitstreaming and all the other stuff of MPC-HC while keeping the WMC interface.
 

rhouck

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I haven't used MP in years so can't comment.

I've used XBMC off and on, but moved to 7MC because of its simplicity and it has been hassle-free.

However, I am currently looking at shifting back to XBMC almost completely based on the Android remote app. If someone would hurry up and code something similar for 7MC, I'd stick with it forever. But until then, I am giving XBMC another go.

I will say that already it is far far easier to setup than it was previously (especially for simple things like MCE remote support... no more hassling with eventghost configs /shudder)
 

ShepsCrook

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Actually, there is an Android Remote app that works with 7MC. It's called "MyRemote"
You install a small app on your HTPC, and then the free app on your phone, connect to your wifi network and target the machines IP address and bam. You can control 7MC with it. It also has a mousepad feature which is somewhat nice.
 
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XBMC here. Except I'm still attempting to figure out how to get info about the movies, posters, etc. It's tough to set up but it's just so goddamn beautiful when it's finished.
 

ShepsCrook

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If you want info on the movie, you need to A: set it up so that it compares your movie list to something like IMDB or Amazon etc. That's when you set up your movie directory in the video section. From there, when you're browsing your movie list, depending on your skin, you scroll up down or sideways and it should bring up another menu of sorting abilities, the first one says "File" I believe. If you change that, you can choose other styles of browsing your movies and some them display the data.
 

echn111

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re: getting info on movies, posters etc.. It's really easy to miss getting the movie info before losing patience. In the latest version, when you add a source, it'll give you a menu called "set content" and seemingly three options: OK and CANCEL and SETTINGS (which doesn't work as it is greyed out). Do NOT click on OK!! Instead look on the top left where it says "This directory contains", and use the arrows to select "Movies" then choose your scan options (and the 'settings' button is now active and contains the IMDB option). Then click on OK.

You might need to mess around with folder names or some manual searches, but that'll get you started and handle 90% of your library if the names of your films are reasonably obvious.

(Now I realize some XBMC gurus think this is obvious, but I think the XMBC developers really need to test their UI with normal people, not XBMC gurus... And even technical people simply lose patience with the product after a few attempts. And I like XBMC....)
 

Omegas

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WMC + MB + CCCP = just works. MyMovies for the IMBD info, btw, I can't remember how to add folders to the list I already have to add movies to my collection.
 

rhouck

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Actually, there is an Android Remote app that works with 7MC. It's called "MyRemote"
You install a small app on your HTPC, and then the free app on your phone, connect to your wifi network and target the machines IP address and bam. You can control 7MC with it. It also has a mousepad feature which is somewhat nice.

Thanks, but not even remotely close to the XBMC offering. With the XBMC remote, you can leave your TV off and browse your entire media collection (movies, music, etc), selecting what to play.

It's really incredibly slick. I have been a longstanding proponent of 7MC (and still am) but this was really the final push that has taken me back to XBMC.

It seems like most people here are only concerned with how movies/tv shows are viewed, since MB looks good doing that but (at least last I checked) was a pile of crap for music. The built-in music browsing in 7MC is very functional (I loved the tap-to-type for quick navigation) but is ugly as sin.

http://code.google.com/p/android-xbmcremote/wiki/Gallery

albums.png
genres.png

genre_artists_menu.png
now_playing.png
 

DSee

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Good thread.. I'm using WMC + Media browser but there's a lag when scrolling down my video list(poster pic) and it's driving me nuts.. I've tried xbmc in the past but the lack of mouse support on some skins made me go back to WMC
Posted via Mobile Device
 

phillyk

n00b
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Dec 12, 2008
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8
MythTv here.. but hard ware support of my HDMI out has it on the rock's.
My HDMI out seems to forget it can do sound.. Very very annoying.
May toss it out the window for Windows soon. Got a new motherboard on order for a replacement system. Any other MythTv users here?
 
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ghostee

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Oct 28, 2008
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333
Back when this poll was first posted I voted WMC (7MC). Since then I've switched to XBMC Live (linux based) and have never been happier. No more crashes, no more slowdown, and it boots significantly faster. I also upgraded to a new video card to get hardware acceleration, and my bluray rips have never played smoother.
 

Hallis

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Windows 7 Media Center + Media Browser for me. It offers pretty much everything I need, + giving me the ability to use other programs on the PC if I need to like Emulators and Roms with fairly little headache. And adds good variety of hardware support and sufficient shineys to make it all pretty.
 

CrimandEvil

Dick with a heart of gold
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
19,670
Question: anyone one else have the Netflix tile disappear? And have internet TV just stop working?

On my old HTPC it just wasn't there after I ran a Windows Update. I then did a clean install and it refuses to show up again.
 
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