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HTPC and those looking to cut cable bills
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Talking HTPC and those looking to cut cable bills - January 5, 2010, 11:25 AM

For those who mostly watch everything on the Internet.

Think of Boxee as a better Windows Media Center, because IMHO it is. I'm sure a lot of you have seen better - Boxee is mostly what I use.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/05/b...-10-1-support/

I've been researching 'cutting the cable' - thought I'd share the following

if you watch ESPN religiously, stop reading and go about your day.

I have Verizon FIOS
- the 12.99 plan sends local HD over the wire - so if you have a OTAM TV (digital tuner in the TV) - then you don't need a set top box, plug in your cable to the TV and you still get HD Local.

- all the stations pretty much air their shows the next day, no more need for DVR.

- Hulu.com, OVguide.com, fancast.com and veoh.com help too & of course Youtube.

- 8.99 Netflix account basically gives you Starz to stream movies and 2 discs at your house. It also helps for streaming some of Showtime shows (Dexter and Californication for me) and *some* of the HBO shows. Many of the History Channel and Discovery Networks (ANPL, TLC, SCI, NATGEO) shows are also on for streaming - but not all of them are HD.

anyone else trying this - please post up. any bullshit gets trashed.


DBR
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Will pay to see this
whatever henry's name is these days: jason, seriously, im going to kick your face in when I get back
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January 5, 2010, 12:18 PM

Too bad the Boxee interface is poo, or at least it was when I looked at it last.

The first screen is filled with a social networking screen that shows what crap other people I don't even know are watching (who cares)?

It takes like 4 clicks into a side menu to even pull up local movies or videos... And their Hulu support is terrible (if it works at all).

The best I've found is Plex with the Aeon skin. http://www.plexapp.com/

Works awesome on my Mac Mini on my main TV.

Supposedly Boxee has revamped their UI and is in private beta should be out in feb or march. However I bet they will have a booth at CES which I will be at this weekend so I'll look for em!


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January 5, 2010, 12:30 PM

I've played around with this concept for awhile. I really don't see the value in pissing away hundreds each month just for TV.

I always grab the cheapest cable package. Now that FIOS is approved for DC, I may go with them and help break the cable monopoly.

My TV has a built-in digital tuner, so I get all the local free-to-air digital channels (including many that aren't on cable!).

I never rent a cable box and haven't in forever - so that's $6 a month (or whatever the hell they're charging lately) saved. That is the biggest rip-off they pull on consumers! I mean why do I want their tuner? I already have one in my TV and just create a channel guide matrix on a piece of paper in Excel. The programming schedule is free and online.

I have an old laptop with a wireless card beside my TV that I use as my 'net browser'. It's wired to my TV through a money AGI (I think) video card so the video output is very good even with the S-Video connection vs a more preferred HDMI. It already had a decent soundblaster card, so the audio out is good too.

Moviefather.com and FreeTVproject.com keep me going on the new movie and TV show front.

Hulu and Crackle for TV shows present and past.
YouTube has stepped it up on the HD side.

Netflix account when I want a DVD I can't come across online or in good enough resolution to satisfy me.



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January 5, 2010, 12:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
Too bad the Boxee interface is poo, or at least it was when I looked at it last.

The first screen is filled with a social networking screen that shows what crap other people I don't even know are watching (who cares)?

It takes like 4 clicks into a side menu to even pull up local movies or videos... And their Hulu support is terrible (if it works at all).

The best I've found is Plex with the Aeon skin. http://www.plexapp.com/

Works awesome on my Mac Mini on my main TV.

Supposedly Boxee has revamped their UI and is in private beta should be out in feb or march. However I bet they will have a booth at CES which I will be at this weekend so I'll look for em!
I love Boxee's interface. I tried the beta and it was a paint to configure to my universal remote.
Plexapp is much better IMO but its only for MAC. I have it on my macbook-pro. I don't use plex on my media center because it doesn't support blueRay.

I use Windows Media Center on my media center PC just because the configuration with my logitech remote is so much easier. Windows Media Center has a long way to go to be something that can compete with boxee,, however it does the job. I have my Media Center PC hooked up to my Receiver and to my 55 LCD and Projector.

--Oliver
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January 5, 2010, 12:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
Too bad the Boxee interface is poo, or at least it was when I looked at it last.

The first screen is filled with a social networking screen that shows what crap other people I don't even know are watching (who cares)?

It takes like 4 clicks into a side menu to even pull up local movies or videos... And their Hulu support is terrible (if it works at all).

The best I've found is Plex with the Aeon skin. http://www.plexapp.com/

Works awesome on my Mac Mini on my main TV.

Supposedly Boxee has revamped their UI and is in private beta should be out in feb or march. However I bet they will have a booth at CES which I will be at this weekend so I'll look for em!
yes - my first look at Boxee was mid 2009 and the UI sucked. Its a little better now. Like, all new things you just have to get used to it. Also, you can customize everything with the *App Box* and your 4 clicks turn into 2.

No I don't care about the Social Networking part - although I could see it useful in the same way Netflix's 'Friends Recommendation' is.

Hulu works fine now - watched about 6 episodes of 'Lie To Me' Season 2 this weekend and catching up on FlashForward - both shows recommended by Kevers

The Netflix support is also working fine.

IMHO - a Mac Mini running some sort of Media Center software is probably the biggest win and I keep my eye on Craigslist for that - currently I have one of my older PCs connected running Boxee - I'll be watching out to see what people have to say about the Boxee Box before I consider the kool-aid.


DBR
#135, #47, Vega
--
"Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself." - Confucius

Will pay to see this
whatever henry's name is these days: jason, seriously, im going to kick your face in when I get back
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January 5, 2010, 12:54 PM



Good post


CCS #133 AM

For all of your oil and filtration needs go to www.dc-moto.net
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January 5, 2010, 01:02 PM

I'm pretty big into home theater stuff (have been for a while). So I built a media server for my basement which has all my music on it, as well as bluray/dvd rips.

It has 8x1.5TB drives in RAID6 which gives me 9TB of loss-proof storage (3TB of which is used currently). With RAID 6 I can lose 2 drives at the same time and still not have data loss. It currently has about 300 dvd-quality movies on it and about 20 blu-ray rips (for the good action flicks such as Dark Knight which must be seen in 1080p), as well as 500GB or so of music. It runs debian linux and serves the videos over samba as well as acting as a media streamer for my Squeezebox devices (Have about 4 of them situated throughout the house to stream music to).

My HTPC setup to stream this to my main TV:

Mac Mini 2.26GHz, 4GB RAM that is running Plex with the Aeon skin installed. It works very well with Hulu, youtube, and the network affiliate apps (abc, nbc, etc). Plus it looks pretty cool too.

To control the mac mini I use the Logitech DiNovo Mini, which works great.

If I actually want to PLAY a blu ray (that isn't on my server) I'll just shove it into the ol' PS3.

CES in 3 days... FREAKOUT!!!!!!


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January 5, 2010, 01:03 PM

I've been trying to research this stuff too (wanna stop paying big bucks for cable). I'm looking at buying a htpc instead of building one bc I'm lazy and I need something really small for space limitations.
I have been looking getting either a ASrock ion 330 ht-bd or the Dell Zion (sorry no links, on iPhone). I think I could get similar performance from one of these as a mac mini for less mulah.
I still need to figure out how the DVR part of the computer would work though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EduardoSuave View Post
yes - my first look at Boxee was mid 2009 and the UI sucked. Its a little better now. Like, all new things you just have to get used to it. Also, you can customize everything with the *App Box* and your 4 clicks turn into 2.

No I don't care about the Social Networking part - although I could see it useful in the same way Netflix's 'Friends Recommendation' is.

Hulu works fine now - watched about 6 episodes of 'Lie To Me' Season 2 this weekend and catching up on FlashForward - both shows recommended by Kevers

The Netflix support is also working fine.

IMHO - a Mac Mini running some sort of Media Center software is probably the biggest win and I keep my eye on Craigslist for that - currently I have one of my older PCs connected running Boxee - I'll be watching out to see what people have to say about the Boxee Box before I consider the kool-aid.
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January 5, 2010, 01:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
I'm pretty big into home theater stuff (have been for a while). So I built a media server for my basement which has all my music on it, as well as bluray/dvd rips.

It has 8x1.5TB drives in RAID6 which gives me 9TB of loss-proof storage (3TB of which is used currently). With RAID 6 I can lose 2 drives at the same time and still not have data loss. It currently has about 300 dvd-quality movies on it and about 20 blu-ray rips (for the good action flicks such as Dark Knight which must be seen in 1080p), as well as 500GB or so of music. It runs debian linux and serves the videos over samba as well as acting as a media streamer for my Squeezebox devices (Have about 4 of them situated throughout the house to stream music to).

My HTPC setup to stream this to my main TV:

Mac Mini 2.26GHz, 4GB RAM that is running Plex with the Aeon skin installed. It works very well with Hulu, youtube, and the network affiliate apps (abc, nbc, etc). Plus it looks pretty cool too.

To control the mac mini I use the Logitech DiNovo Mini, which works great.

If I actually want to PLAY a blu ray (that isn't on my server) I'll just shove it into the ol' PS3.

CES in 3 days... FREAKOUT!!!!!!

ZOMG. THIEF. WAR3Z. SHUT THE THREAD DOWN!


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January 5, 2010, 01:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFORC1 View Post
ZOMG. THIEF. WAR3Z. SHUT THE THREAD DOWN!
Quoted before the deleted post.


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January 5, 2010, 01:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFORC1 View Post
ZOMG. THIEF. WAR3Z. SHUT THE THREAD DOWN!
I own the movies, FYI... Just ripped them because the "Wall Rack of DVDs" is so 1996.


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January 5, 2010, 01:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
I own the movies, FYI... Just ripped them because the "Wall Rack of DVDs" is so 1996.
Wall rack of DVDs is so Feng Shui.


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January 5, 2010, 01:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SasSV View Post
I still need to figure out how the DVR part of the computer would work though.
Hulu.com or the network channel's website the next day FTMFW - what's DVR?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
I own the movies, FYI... Just ripped them because the "Wall Rack of DVDs" is so 1996.


DBR
#135, #47, Vega
--
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Will pay to see this
whatever henry's name is these days: jason, seriously, im going to kick your face in when I get back
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Cool January 5, 2010, 01:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DC-MOTO View Post


Good post

I agree - pouring of the AVSforum stuff was getting tiresome, good to hear what others here are doing.


DBR
#135, #47, Vega
--
"Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself." - Confucius

Will pay to see this
whatever henry's name is these days: jason, seriously, im going to kick your face in when I get back
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January 5, 2010, 01:20 PM

Well, I have my own private Idaho goin on... movies are ripped to iPhone / iPod touch standards, which look really good when streamed over my network to my 46"... this way I have travel movies and DVD's archived.

Home theatre PC connected to network, hulu, etc... isn't technology kickass!!!

OH, AND my full size Star Wars popcorn machine!!!
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