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  • Home Theater PC?

    Hi guys,

    I own a Pioneer Elite BDP 09FD and its starting to break. The Blu Ray disk driver is what needs to b replaced and rather then spending $400 on a replacement I was thinking of just building a PC that will play Blu Ray disks and still have all the audio coding needed through a graphics card or what not. If possible I would like this PC to play video games as well. I still want everything to to run though my receiver and it would be nice to just use the existing Data wire and HDMI cable used for my blu ray player to hook up.

    Has anyone done this? Is there a thread / link to get some info? The only thing I have found briefly on you tube is this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM4kcwMw7WU

    Thank you for your help.

  • #2
    Re: Home Theater PC?

    As someone who has actually done this, no I wouldn't recommend it. Windows 7 requires 3rd party software to play blu-ray disk and Windows 8 doesn't play DVDs. MS is being such a PITA about this. In general, I find the whole movie industry creating ways that make it harder to actually enjoy movies for people who want to do it legally.

    I'd just get a Panasonic blu-ray player and then use a slightly older computer and load XBMC on it. Doesn't really take much power to play 720p files without skipping frames. If I was going to do it again, this is how I would do it.
    HTPCs can work, and I currently have it working perfectly, but I gave up on trying to get everything to work in Windows Media Center, reloaded the OS. Now I use Power DVD for disk only, VLC for media files only (no 3rd party codecs needed), Foobar 2000 for music.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Home Theater PC?

      Physical discs are so 2001 ;). Just rip everything before you watch it. In all seriousness for simplicity it's hard to beat a $30 dvd player or $70 blu-ray player.
      At home we hardly ever use discs, but I don't have a HTPC in the living room either. We use a Roku with Netflix and Hulu+. Then I run Plex media server on my PC to stream my local video to it. It's quite slick, and very cheap.

      Originally posted by generic View Post
      As someone who has actually done this, no I wouldn't recommend it. Windows 7 requires 3rd party software to play blu-ray disk and Windows 8 doesn't play DVDs. MS is being such a PITA about this. In general, I find the whole movie industry creating ways that make it harder to actually enjoy movies for people who want to do it legally.

      I'd just get a Panasonic blu-ray player and then use a slightly older computer and load XBMC on it. Doesn't really take much power to play 720p files without skipping frames. If I was going to do it again, this is how I would do it.
      HTPCs can work, and I currently have it working perfectly, but I gave up on trying to get everything to work in Windows Media Center, reloaded the OS. Now I use Power DVD for disk only, VLC for media files only (no 3rd party codecs needed), Foobar 2000 for music.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Home Theater PC?

        Thank you for the comments. However I dont want this to turn into a just get netflix or hulu. I rent movies all the time and have not much need to have a terabit hard drive of movies on it.

        I am looking for a way to run Blu Ray disk's / DVD / PC games in a small case and have all sound / picture through my main receiver. I can get netfilx / hulu through xbox that is not the problem.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Home Theater PC?

          In my experience, small form cases have crappy disposable power supplies. You can get a case that looks more like a stereo, but whatever you choose, get a standard size PSU and get a decent one.

          What you want can work, but don't expect it to just work or be smooth. If you get a stable point that your happy with, save a system backup image.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Home Theater PC?

            Originally posted by evilskillit View Post
            Physical discs are so 2001 ;). Just rip everything before you watch it. In all seriousness for simplicity it's hard to beat a $30 dvd player or $70 blu-ray player.
            At home we hardly ever use discs, but I don't have a HTPC in the living room either. We use a Roku with Netflix and Hulu+. Then I run Plex media server on my PC to stream my local video to it. It's quite slick, and very cheap.
            You still need a physical disk to do a rip. I get the inconvenience of them, but digital cloud files have their issues too. While some places might support ways to transfer ownership, their seems to be a lot of conflict about ownership of digital music and movies. At least with a physical disk, you can sell it if you get tired of it, and when you own it, you can pretty much do what you want with it, so long as you don't rip it and share it. I myself will want to keep hard copies of music and movies and really want to own. For stuff I will likely only watch once, it doesn't matter if it's ripped, rented, streamed, etc. Most movies are not worth watching more then once anyway.

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            • #7
              Re: Home Theater PC?

              Don't do it!......nough said.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Home Theater PC?

                hmm..plays BD, plays games, plays ripped videos (well mostly), streams... sounds like a ps3 will do

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Home Theater PC?

                  HTPCs have a serious technical flaw -- they're not timed to be a video player. If you're in the US, you'll be getting content at either 59.97 fps interlaced, 29.97 fps progressive, or 23.97 fps film. The problem is, your monitor output is probably running at 60Hz, which means there's a slight mismatch. This will show up as jitter on scenes with smooth movement (pans and such).

                  This is a hard thing to fix on a generic computer because it requires the video interface to be initialized at an exact rate, the sound to be timed from the same clock source (OK if you're using your video card's HDMI out, but not if you use a separate sound card), and the software has to be designed to take advantage of all of this. I don't know if this is, or can be done, but if there's any chance, it would probably work best with a Linux distro using XBMC (or whatever) with direct access to the display hardware.

                  OTOH, you can get a Popcorn Hour media player for SMB/HTTP/FTP/NFS/USB sources, install a BD-ROM if you want disc access, or just use a Blu-ray player with file and online apps support.

                  Of course, games and such are another matter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Home Theater PC?

                    Many computers these days come with with optical drives that play both (and record) DVD and Blu-ray disks. I have two Windows 7 laptops which have such combo drives. Again as mentioned above you will need the third party software that typically comes with a computer to have this functionality.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Home Theater PC?

                      If you really want to go through with it, the Ars Technica budget box 2013 article is a good place to start. That Intel board looks small enough to fit in a min-pc.

                      http://arstechnica.com/information-t...february-2013/

                      Newegg.com has some great mini-pc cases as well as mini-pc combos. As for a remote I don't know, you'll have to do a bit of googling to find a good remote and figure out how to integrate it into Windows Media Player or something. Obviously a wireless keyboard with built in track ball at the couch is always an option tho it's not as satisfying.

                      Most of these mini cases will accomodate mini and micro atx motherboards. For most of them you'll have to find half-height PCI cards if you need to use any cards, and as a previous poster pointed out the power supplies won't be great, but as long as it lasts it doesn't really matter.

                      http://www.newegg.com/HTPC-Media-Cen...ategory/ID-690

                      If you have ant questions or want more pointing towards useful info I'll do my best.
                      But I still want to reiterate that after looking into going this route I found that using my PC as a media server and using a Roku as the front end was a better way to go. But, I almost never rent or watch DVDs or Blu-Rays. If it's not on Netflix or Hulu or available via some other source I usually just wait, and go cut some lumber or something.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Home Theater PC?

                        Originally posted by SirNickity View Post
                        HTPCs have a serious technical flaw -- they're not timed to be a video player. If you're in the US, you'll be getting content at either 59.97 fps interlaced, 29.97 fps progressive, or 23.97 fps film. The problem is, your monitor output is probably running at 60Hz, which means there's a slight mismatch. This will show up as jitter on scenes with smooth movement (pans and such).

                        This is a hard thing to fix on a generic computer because it requires the video interface to be initialized at an exact rate, the sound to be timed from the same clock source (OK if you're using your video card's HDMI out, but not if you use a separate sound card), and the software has to be designed to take advantage of all of this. I don't know if this is, or can be done, but if there's any chance, it would probably work best with a Linux distro using XBMC (or whatever) with direct access to the display hardware.

                        OTOH, you can get a Popcorn Hour media player for SMB/HTTP/FTP/NFS/USB sources, install a BD-ROM if you want disc access, or just use a Blu-ray player with file and online apps support.

                        Of course, games and such are another matter.
                        This does not have to be a generic comp. Think of it as a high end Blu Ray player that is also considered a gaming PC. Budget around $1000. I also want it to have all the coding for audio output. How does one get past the operating system problem you are talking about???

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Home Theater PC?

                          Originally posted by SirNickity View Post
                          HTPCs have a serious technical flaw -- they're not timed to be a video player. If you're in the US, you'll be getting content at either 59.97 fps interlaced, 29.97 fps progressive, or 23.97 fps film. The problem is, your monitor output is probably running at 60Hz, which means there's a slight mismatch. This will show up as jitter on scenes with smooth movement (pans and such).

                          This is a hard thing to fix on a generic computer because it requires the video interface to be initialized at an exact rate, the sound to be timed from the same clock source (OK if you're using your video card's HDMI out, but not if you use a separate sound card), and the software has to be designed to take advantage of all of this. I don't know if this is, or can be done, but if there's any chance, it would probably work best with a Linux distro using XBMC (or whatever) with direct access to the display hardware.

                          OTOH, you can get a Popcorn Hour media player for SMB/HTTP/FTP/NFS/USB sources, install a BD-ROM if you want disc access, or just use a Blu-ray player with file and online apps support.

                          Of course, games and such are another matter.
                          Any modern video card worth bringing home will support projector/TV compatibility and custom frame rate settings. Cyberlink claims to support 24P output as well. I think the main flaw of HTPC is, MS doesn't really support them. They are more for the custom builder who doesn't mind tweaking things. Also, while not pretty or fancy, I've found it to just be way easier to just use native programs do what they do best. No great all in one player really exist. MS made a huge mistake not supporting blu-ray playback native in Windows 7 and they made even a bigger mistake killing DVD support in Windows 8. They just keep screwing it up. Apple wants to go disk-less and app everything that destroys the ideal of custom setups or ownership. I think the only hope might be Ubuntu, but last I read, their is no blu-ray support, but I think it will only be a matter of time before Ubuntu becomes more main stream and maybe even a strong competitor of MS/apple. Unless Ubuntu becomes HTPC friendly, I wouldn't even consider building another one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Home Theater PC?

                            Looks like everybody says the best Blu-Ray playback software out there now is ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre or PowerDVD.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Home Theater PC?

                              Originally posted by Ram Jr View Post
                              This does not have to be a generic comp. Think of it as a high end Blu Ray player that is also considered a gaming PC. Budget around $1000. I also want it to have all the coding for audio output. How does one get past the operating system problem you are talking about???
                              There are any number of codecs available to install.
                              Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                              Comment

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