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 Post subject: Out of the box HTPC
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:19 pm 
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Since only a few weeks I've been looking for a way to play my music over my stereo, and movies to my TV through "some" piece of hardware.

There's a fairly huge library to share with some friends so I will keep the files on an external HDD (or 2). I watch a lot of movies at friends' places anyway, so mobility is a plus for me.


First I bumped into was the Lacie Premiere but it's too limiting: no 1080p, some file formats not supported.

Mvix and Tvix hardware looks nice.

The Dell Studio Hybrid, Acer Aspire X1200 and HP Mediabox are also nice but are too expensive for my taste (some of them are complete computers).


And now there is the WD TV.
1080p, HDMI, even plays MKV files etc.
Only 100 bucks?? Hook on an external HDD and off I go?

It almost sounds too good to be true, am I missing something? :shock:
Is there anything I need to consider before buying this thing? I feel like I'm missing something but I can't figure out what...

Info from WD

Youtube example


Some reviews already say the specs are better than AppleTV (for example, ATV does not support 1080p, also has lower fps while playing back movies). I haven't researched what AppleTV is capable of, but I know it's more expensive.

No network, no internal drive, but I don't really need it (I just copy files to external drive).
As this is no "PC" there is no gaming, browsing or anything like a true HTPC.

All I need is a way to listen to music over my stereo and watch movies and finally get rid of all these CD's and DVD's which I won't be able to add in my case in a few shopping sessions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:39 am 
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
For what you want, you'll either need a full HTPC or a storage device on a network that contains it all and a REALLY good media extender.

Extenders can be finicky about formats and bitrates as well, though.

If you go the HTPC route, it's really a big learning curve, but when you learn more, it's not hard to know what you want and how to spend little to get it.

I upgraded my HTPC (reusing only case, HDD, PSU, and optical) for less than $300, by going the AMD/780g route.

It's possible to do it for just over $500 by getting an Antec HTPC case w/PSU and a WD 500GB drive. That's not including OS, however.

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Main: Antec 300 (SlipStream @ 800rpm/140mm @ 5v)|Asus M4A88TD-M|Phenom II x4 945 (Mugen2 pass.)|Asus EAH6850|Samsung 830 128GB|Antec TP750
WHS: DF-85|P8H67-M Pro|I5-3450S/Hyper 212+|Corsair AX650|Sandisk Extreme 240GB, 2xWD20EARS, 2x WD15EARS, WD15EADS


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:50 pm 
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Well, it seems connecting the device to my stereo is not going to be easy...

jhhoffma wrote:
For what you want, you'll either need a full HTPC or a storage device on a network that contains it all and a REALLY good media extender.
What if I just hook up an external HDD like they say? From what understand, you connect it to a HDD and a TV and it works :?
They don't say anything about needing a network for it to work.

I don't think I need a media extender(?), I will use an external HDD and copy all needed files to that. I don't want to need to turn on my PC to watch movies.

Maybe my needs from a device like this are very different from the definition of a HTPC (and therefor, the thread name is badly chosen). All I want is to be able to play DVD/BluRay through HDMI, at 1080p if the file is in that format.

The attraction for me is that this device is much less power consuming than my PC, it has a remote so I don't have to install some remote receiver thing in a PC, the software/OS/menu structure is there, and ofcourse the price.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:08 pm 
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
My mistake. I assumed the collection would be connected to your main PC. That WD TV looks interesting, though it nothing to do with TV. It's a nice basic playback device: an very basic iPod with a remote and HDMI, if you will.

The only downsides I see are these:

1) You have no ability to share the content aside from removing the HDD and attaching it to another device.

2) It has no ability to upgrade it capability, like adding an HDTV tuner to record TV.

3) It has no ability to have info associated with the content. Such as having cover info for ripped DVDs/DIVX/BDs/CDs/etc. Or automatically stitch together multiple videos to play sequentially. You'd probably have to do a playlist for each combo you wanted.

But if you want just want something that will play media files using a remote and a TV, it's a cheap way to get it.

_________________
HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H|Phenom II x3 740BE w/AC Freezer 7|150GB Velociraptor|Corsair VX450
Main: Antec 300 (SlipStream @ 800rpm/140mm @ 5v)|Asus M4A88TD-M|Phenom II x4 945 (Mugen2 pass.)|Asus EAH6850|Samsung 830 128GB|Antec TP750
WHS: DF-85|P8H67-M Pro|I5-3450S/Hyper 212+|Corsair AX650|Sandisk Extreme 240GB, 2xWD20EARS, 2x WD15EARS, WD15EADS


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:47 pm 
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That device looks fine to me, like a pretty standard media extender without the network capability. It looks great for portability. The only problem I see is adding more content will probably require you to disconnect your USB HD and carry it over to your computer.

I've heard good things about the Popcorn Hour. It can use an internal HD, supports many formats and has networking capability. You might check it out, too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:40 am 
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Location: Southend, England, UK
Avalanche wrote:
That device looks fine to me, like a pretty standard media extender without the network capability. It looks great for portability. The only problem I see is adding more content will probably require you to disconnect your USB HD and carry it over to your computer.

I've heard good things about the Popcorn Hour. It can use an internal HD, supports many formats and has networking capability. You might check it out, too.


I ditto on the Popcorn Hour. I mainly use my Popcorn hour A100 as a bittorrent download slave, but it does indeed play 1080p video. It works out only as noisy as the hdd you put inside it. You can set it up so that it access and plays content from a NAS or external USB hdd.

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