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HTPC Programming Question

Last response: in Home Theatre
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August 1, 2012 5:59:02 PM

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right section, but this board appeared to be the most relevant in the forums. If I posted in the wrong section, feel free to move it.

I have been looking through media streamers and HTPC builds, and have even done a little bit of experimenting. The problem I find with ALL HTPC's and media streaming boxes is that they all have more limited sources than the pc. What I want is to have an HTPC that can play Amazon VoD, Itunes, Vudu, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and all the shows that are free online in an HTPC friendly GUI. I think this can be done, not commercially due to licensing complications, but could be done on a personal level by using the program to play the videos.

EX: While in the HTPC program you select an iTunes video you want to play. The HTPC then starts iTunes, finds the video, and plays the itunes player inside the HTPC program just like any other video, the whole process would be unaware to the user except maybe different video controls at the bottom. When the user is done, they simply hit the back button and the user is returned to the HTPC menu, while the HTPC silently closes itunes.

This would bypass the DRM because it would be using their player which is designed to decode their DRM. However, even though it sounds simple I'm afraid that someone else has already thought of this and failed due to reasons I can not yet think of. I just want to know if this is possible or if it has been tried and failed. Also, what programming languages do HTPC's use?
August 1, 2012 6:17:23 PM

The reason you won't find these all in one application, is licensing. It would cost a fortune for someone to include all of these products into a single package. Some of these have SDKs that are available to consumers, but some, such as Netflix don't. You can access a portion of their database, but actually streaming, and decoding the video requires a separate licensing fee. Because I have never actually fully read any of the SDK agreements, or licensing agreements, i'm simply speculating here... But I would guess that included in the license is the requirement that some of these systems can not exist in the same piece of software for commercial distribution. If you were willing to pay for the SDK, and Licensing fees for each, there certainly isn't any reason you could not develop your own custom HTPC user interface that used them all. HTPC software is probably developed in either C++ or c#. You could dev in any environment you want, as they each have a DLL, or SDK that would use the .net framework.
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