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Help with HTPC

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Last response: in Home Theatre
August 9, 2012 8:18:30 PM

Not sure where to post this, so if this is the wrong place I appologize

With the expensive internet and TV prices through Shaw and Telus We have been contemplating getting rid of everything but high speed internet and instead setting up a HTPC instead.

I am leaning towards an Acer Revo RL100 for the main HTPC. It will most likely use XMBC as the main HTPC interface, unless someone else can suggest a better way to go (I would like to keep it total cost around $500 or less for the HTPC itself).

The issue I have is that we have 2 other TV's in the house and I am looking for a way to stream content from the HTPC to each of those TV's, independent of each of the other TV's. I have looked at Apple TV, LG Smart TV Upgrader, WD TV Live, and Roku.

The main criteria that it must have is the ability to connect to Netflix, and the ability to connect to the HTPC to stream content. I should also note that we do not own any other Apple products.

Which product would suit my needs best? I should also note that I live in Canada. I would like cost to remain around $100 for each product, if someone else has a better solution.

Thank you

More about : htpc

August 10, 2012 3:49:13 PM

Streaming to a media exentder will depend on the files you intend to feed to the other TV's. Of course you could have a couple mini-HTPC's at each TV that can play anything, but that will bust your budget. You can also use a couple Xbox 360's as media extenders. But again, that is beyond your budget.

For the budget you listed the Roku or WD Live is probably the best options, though I have no experience streaming to either of those devices. Check codec and filetype compatibility with each device to see if they will work for you.

There's also software that can help you out. For Roku, check out roConnect:

August 10, 2012 5:01:39 PM

Thank you for your reply, I will look into roConnect. I was also thinking of using Plex on my HTPC and then having mobile apps to connect and view content, as well Roku as a Plex channel. If I am using software such as Plex or roConnect to stream content through to the Roku, would they transcode to suitable media types for streaming? or would I need to manually transcode before hand?

I would like to set up the lowest maintenance solution that I can. In the end I would like to set up concurrent sessions so that I can remote access the HTPC from my laptop, and not interrupt the frontend on the TV. I also would like to have software that will manage media in the backend automatically (renaming, moving to correct folder, scraping metadate, etc)
August 10, 2012 5:29:17 PM

If you need transcoding, I think Tversity or Play On running on your main HTPC can handle that and dish it out to a media streamer. I've used Plex, but only the client version so I'm not sure if it can transcode.

I'm not too sure about the limitations of the little streamer boxes like Roku and WDTV. My streaming experience is with full HTPC's which don't require any kind of transcoding. Sorry.