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Media centre software options?
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=46600
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Author:  WipeOut [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Media centre software options?

Hi,

What are the choices out there for media centre systems in terms of software and OS..

Obviously I know about Windows media centre but in using it I have to think there is something better.. Something simple enough for my folks to use yes sophisticated enough to di DVD upscaling to 1080p..

At this point all I am after is the ability to play DVD's and DivX files..

So far I have used Windows media centre and had a go at LinixMCE..

What else is out there?

TIA

Author:  AuraAllan [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:52 am ]
Post subject: 

MediaPortal

Mythbuntu

Just to name a few. :)

Author:  WipeOut [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:57 am ]
Post subject: 

Mythbuntu I hadn't heard of.. Will have to give that a spin.. :)

Author:  nutball [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:20 am ]
Post subject: 

I played around with MythTV for quite a while (over a year), tried to use it in a server + client configuration. To be honest ... it just plain isn't finished yet, nor will it ever be (by definition for such a project). There are so many disparate bits of Linux needed which aren't quite done yet. Great fun if you enjoy fiddling about with kernel patches and bits of beta code, but not so much fun if that's what you do for a day job and you just want a weekend doing something else! Not great when the g/f is watching the football and it crashes halfway through. Even so-called one touch solutions such as KnopMyth didn't really work.

I've since given up on Linux and tried SageTV and that's been a much more pleasant experience to get going and usable.

Author:  jhhoffma [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:39 am ]
Post subject: 

MediaPortal +1

Also, Meedio (www.meedios.com) is still being worked on, along with a new product called MeediOS. Both will be much harder to setup due to their complexity and flexibility. MediaPortal is essentially ready to go out of the box (or out of the installer as it were).

Depending on what you are doing with your HTPC, there is also GBPVR.

Most Media Center apps are "front ends" and work with other software on your system to bring everything together. Whether it's using external media players or a "back-end" database, it's mainly just a fancy polish covering the dirty work underneath.

Give mediaportal (with the Xface skin) a try and if you find it's too simple and can't do everything you want (unlikely if you're asking the question) you can always start learing Meedio. With either you can use your media player of choice for specific post-processing or use the internal player which can also work with some post-processors.

Author:  Avalanche [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Give GB-PVR at try. It's easy to set up and very reliable. Very customizable. And free. :D

I don't know what exactly jhhoffma meant by "depending on what you are doing with your HTPC", but I use GBPVR for pretty much everything HTPC related.

If you're just playing DVDs and DivX files, maybe you want a media extender or just a DVD player, and not a HTPC.

Author:  jhhoffma [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

Avalanche wrote:
I don't know what exactly jhhoffma meant by "depending on what you are doing with your HTPC", but I use GBPVR for pretty much everything HTPC related.


I meant that if your just looking to do TV and movies GB-PVR is a good option, but if you want to do lots of different things outside of that, then Mediaportal/Meedio is probably a better option due to the size of the community. Not that GB-PVR doesn't have it's own great plugin community, I just find that MediaPortal has a better and more stable selection.

Author:  WipeOut [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

I guess if I had to list what I am after its the following..

Must have
- Simple interface to operate
- Play DVD's upscaled to 1080p
- Play DixX/mpeg uspcaled to 1080p
- DD and DTS audio pass through to AV-Receiver

Nice to have
- Remote control with MCE remote (as I have one)

Very cool to have
- Firewire DV capture to HDD and DVD disk creation (obviously this may complicate the system significantly)

Author:  Avalanche [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Upscaling is handled by your video card and codecs, not your media center program, AFAIK.

Author:  jhhoffma [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:18 pm ]
Post subject: 

Avalanche wrote:
Upscaling is handled by your video card and codecs, not your media center program, AFAIK.


Upscaling is, in fact, done by the video card. However, resizing (or upconverting) is what most people want when they say this. This is usually done either by the player software or a post-processing filter like ffdshow or Purevideo.

ffdshow is the most ubiquitous post-processing filter because of the insane amount of tweaking you can do to get the picture just right. The freaks over at AVSForum will have your head spinning in about 30sec with what you can do with that.

All of the things you have listed can be done with MediaPortal/GBPVR/Meedio either directly or indirectly. You may have to use and external player or filter along with them, but it's definitely doable. DD and DTS passthrough, if not supported by the player itself, can be done by using AC3Filter as a sound mixer. Every front-end I've ever seen can use the MCE remote natively. Firewire DV capture would be the trickiest thing I can think of, but certainly doable. The forums at each front-end's site will be your greatest weapon, and look for guides on setup as well.

Author:  rjhythloday [ Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

there's also mythdora

Author:  WipeOut [ Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:58 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for all the input everyone.. Looks like I have a lot of playing to do.. :)

Author:  plympton [ Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  SageTV

http://www.sage.tv
http://brentevans.blogspot.com/2008/01/ ... agetv.html

There's always the AppleTV with some serious hacking (can't beat the ease & price, though) - http://www.apple.com/appletv/
http://www.engadget.com/2007/04/10/how- ... -apple-tv/

I use Vista's Media Center because it's the "most comfortable", but SageTV with the SageMC front-end is really-really close. Probably more stable and has better guide data, and available for Linux and Mac, too.

You didn't mention the OS, so I assume either Windows or Linux. Apple's Front Row is probably about as simple as you can get, if you can find a way to load Mac OS (www.osx86project.org) on your machine.

Edit: Scratch the AppleTV - no DVD drive. A Mac Mini would work, though for about 3x the price. You've should probably spend some time at AVSforum.com's HTPC area

-Dan

Author:  Navvie [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

As Nutball said, MythTV (and all the premade MythTV-distros) just won't ever be finished, its too geeky for its own good, I have lived with MythTV for over a year!

I am now setting up a Vista Media Centre HTPC, its just so much nicer when everything works and you don't have to keep delving into text config files. Ok, system overheads might be higher, but its not like its exactly taxing! My HTPC runs on a Socket A Sempron (Barton-core)

I have tried GBPVR, Freevo, MythTV XPMCE.. and the best of the bunch so far is Vista... although XBMC is pretty funky too!

Author:  nick705 [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:26 pm ]
Post subject: 

Navvie wrote:
I have tried GBPVR, Freevo, MythTV XPMCE.. and the best of the bunch so far is Vista... although XBMC is pretty funky too!

VMC rant:

No DVB-S support without third-party hacks, and then no HD (for Europe) support is a dealbreaker for me. Microsoft don't seem remotely interested in fixing it.

No ability at all to cope with both DVB-S and DVB-T tuners simultaneously - you can choose one or the other, and that's it. Don't even think about trying to use more than two tuners of any kind, either.

It refuses to FF/rewind through avi, mkv files etc - there's a third-party plugin that will provide some of the functionality that's (inexcusably) missing, but it doesn't work very well in my experience.

Don't for the love of god spend ages downloading high-quality album art, name it according to the "folder.jpg" convention, and then let WMP/VMC loose on your music collection... before you can say "oh, bugger," it will have overwritten your image files with nasty low-res 200x200px replacements without so much as a by-your-leave. Yes, you can configure it not to do this, but by the time many people find out it's too late.

Oh, and just give me five minutes alone with the twat who came up with that "wall of thumbnails" idea in the video library... a more useless way of organising media is hard to imagine. Not only is it impossible to identify a particular file in the ugly, confusing, cluttered mess until the cursor is actually on it, but you can't even easily go through them in a logical order because of the stupid up-down-across way they're arranged.

I could go on, but my blood pressure is getting dangerously high already...

/end rant.

Of the Windows alternatives I've tried, I think SageTV seems about the best, although the latest version of GBPVR (1.2.9) is rather nice, and miles better than it used to be (and free of course, unlike SageTV). As far as MythTV is concerned, never was the saying "Life's too short for Linux" more appropriate... :lol:

Author:  plympton [ Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:54 am ]
Post subject: 

nick705 wrote:
Oh, and just give me five minutes alone with the twat who came up with that "wall of thumbnails" idea in the video library... ...through them in a logical order because of the stupid up-down-across way they're arranged.

/end rant.


Yeah, that wall of videos is just about as stupid is as stupid does. I'm sure someone is cooking up a plug-in, though, so I'm not too worried. I joined Netflix and don't have time to watch with a toddler, so I'm stacking up AVI's at a pretty fast clip, and the wall just gets bigger and bigger. If they only added a title view, or even did some intelligent scrolling (left to right, anyone??).

Anyway, the thing with MS is that they do listen, and (unlike the ATSC problems) when there is a) Enough pain caused and b) enough people use it, they fix it. The ATSC guide sub-channel issue will never go away, since they think that nobody uses an antenna anymore. <sigh>

Sage IS really good - with the SageMC front-end, it's as close to XBMC as you can get with TV Tuning on top. Sage just requires lots of hacking (and allows lots of hacking), which I just can't get into these days, but it's definately the most Linux-like of the bunch, with the die-hard users and all. Very much like the Slimserver crowd.

-Dan

Author:  Greg F. [ Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:05 pm ]
Post subject:  FOR JUST A PLAYER

I use KM Player.


http://www.kmplayer.com/forums/index.php

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