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Best HTPC Software

Last response: in Home Theatre
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April 25, 2013 12:18:04 PM

Hi all!

I'm looking for some good Home Theater PC software. I've tried everything, but there's not a piece software that works well, or suits my needs. Everything from XBMC to WMC has its flaws- XBMC- live TV from a tuner is TERRIBLE (never works correctly), WMC has no support for airplay, skins, and so on. Also, none of the software can support multiple monitors. I'm wondering what you're using and what works good for you.

Also, I want to be able to have two displays on my HTPC- the main TV, and a small cheapo 17" monitor on the side that would show channel number, show info, movie title, etc and would be the main control- volume, change channel, etc. I thought this would be really nice to be able to control everything from the 17" monitor and not be squinting to see the tiny text on the TV (high resolution, small text).

Has anyone tried the dual monitors? Heard of it? Been successful?
What software works good for this? Is it even possible at all?

Please let me know what ideas/input you have!

Sam


P.S.- the HTPC should be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
HTPC Specs;
AMD Athlon x2 64, 4GB DDR2 RAM, 1TB Seagate HD, ASRock A785GM-LE

More about : htpc software

April 25, 2013 12:53:33 PM

XBMC is the most versatile HTPC software that's out there. You may have to make some concessions. I don't have any experience with multi-monitor setups, so can't help you there.

BTW, you can change the look of WMC. It's not as dramatic as XBMC skins though.

Check out this older thread for some HTPC software ideas:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240683-49-what-free-h...
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April 25, 2013 4:13:19 PM

As far as I know, there are only three major HTPC Software packages: Windows Media Center (what I use), XBMC, and MythTV. I don't think any of the three will do all that you're asking and I don't think it's even possible to run dual displays the way you want.

On the otherhand, there used to be a class of HTPC cases that included a touch screen display and maybe that worked like you wanted. If you can find a case like that (check SilverStone) and read through it's description, that may be what you're looking for. If it works for the touch-screen on the case, it should work for a secondary monitor.

-Wolf sends
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April 26, 2013 6:59:40 PM

Wolfshadw said:
As far as I know, there are only three major HTPC Software packages: Windows Media Center (what I use), XBMC, and MythTV. I don't think any of the three will do all that you're asking and I don't think it's even possible to run dual displays the way you want.

On the otherhand, there used to be a class of HTPC cases that included a touch screen display and maybe that worked like you wanted. If you can find a case like that (check SilverStone) and read through it's description, that may be what you're looking for. If it works for the touch-screen on the case, it should work for a secondary monitor.

-Wolf sends



I looked at the cases and it definitely seems like a possibility- but do you know what software they're running to achieve the dual displays? Also, is there any add-on for WMC to add in airplay capabilities?

Thanks for the help guys,
Sam

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April 27, 2013 9:16:21 AM

The cases with a built in display connect just like a second monitor via VGA.

On my own home theater, I use an Airport Express connected directly to my receiver to enable Airplay. If you want video as well as audio, an Apple TV may be in order. You can get similar functionality using the "Remote" app by Apple that will allow you to play/control anything in iTunes remotely from an iPad or iPhone.
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April 27, 2013 9:54:40 AM

rwpritchett said:
The cases with a built in display connect just like a second monitor via VGA.

On my own home theater, I use an Airport Express connected directly to my receiver to enable Airplay. If you want video as well as audio, an Apple TV may be in order. You can get similar functionality using the "Remote" app by Apple that will allow you to play/control anything in iTunes remotely from an iPad or iPhone.


If they just connect with VGA, then it must be really simple... that is if I can get the software that they use.
Do you know what software they use?

Thanks for the help!
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April 27, 2013 11:09:28 AM

Usually the software is Soundgraph iMon. It will depend on the case and what display they've installed.
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June 12, 2013 8:03:10 AM

MediaPortal can do what you're asking for. XBMC just released Live TV support and its not really as stable as MediaPortal which has been doing it for years.

1. Setup MediaPortal and change the codec to use the "LAV Filters" if it has not defaulted to use them. (Should be fine, but just making sure.)
2. Install a skin you like.
3. Get a good EPG grabber. I recommend the Schedules Direct plugin. Requires a $25/yr subscription to SD, but its high quality EPG data and worth the $$.
4. For 2nd screen support... you can use aMPdroid (for android OS tablets/phones) or the upcoming EVE app (for iOS tablets/phones) or the various web-based interfaces for controlling MediaPortal.

NOTE: I've used WMC, XBMC, Plex, and MediaPortal... and MediaPortal is the best by far. More feature rich than XBMC, supports Live TV natively (vs plugins for XBMC and Plex) and more stable/customizable than WMC. Can't speak for Myth.
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March 24, 2014 2:09:30 PM

Funny, I switched from MediaPortal to XBMC because it was such a pain to babysit. I use XBMC with the MCE Plugin and record OTA without issues. I record dozens of shows a week and so far it is Awesome!
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