Absolute best HTPC frontend software?

AMD[H]unter

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Hey guys, I have searched but I don't see what I need. What is the best frontend out there for an HTPC, paid, or free? I will be watching movies, playing music, and watching TV shows. I will not be watching TV through the PC, though since I have Dish Network.
 

Activate: AMD

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best is such a subjective term. lots of people are happy with lots of different things. I'm fairly happy with 7MC, but I watch TV on it. XBMC is probably the other biggest one out there right now, especially considering the purchase of Sage by google
 

Valaire

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As of now, in my opinion, if you are watching live TV/DVR-ing: 7MC (w/Mediabrowser), if not: XBMC.
 

AMD[H]unter

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best is such a subjective term. lots of people are happy with lots of different things. I'm fairly happy with 7MC, but I watch TV on it. XBMC is probably the other biggest one out there right now, especially considering the purchase of Sage by google

Ok. Looks like XBMC it is. I will only be using it for movies/music anyway.

As of now, in my opinion, if you are watching live TV/DVR-ing: 7MC (w/Mediabrowser), if not: XBMC.

I will not be doing live TV or DVR'ing. I have Dish, so it's not possible. I guess I'll use XBMC then.
 

elbweb

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As of now, in my opinion, if you are watching live TV/DVR-ing: 7MC (w/Mediabrowser), if not: XBMC.

+1 For Windows 7 Media Center and MediaBrowser, I use it myself and it is the only thing I've found to properly handle everything I've thrown at it (including BluRay rips [folders])
 

Valaire

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Yeah, if you are just streaming music/movies, and not using Xbox 360's as extenders, I'd recommend XBMC. It's faster/smoother.
 

kemist1117

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AMD[H]unter;1037525195 said:
Ok. Looks like XBMC it is. I will only be using it for movies/music anyway.



I will not be doing live TV or DVR'ing. I have Dish, so it's not possible. I guess I'll use XBMC then.

Not entirely true, you could use Hauppauge HD-PVRs or Colossus cards for DVR purposes with 7MC.
 

rhouck

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Another vote for XBMC.

There are some perks to 7MC, but really livetv/cablecard would probably be the only thing that could bring me back to it at this point.
 

Ihaveworms

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I use XBMC. Really like the UI with Aeon skin and it has great addon support.
 

kac77

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I use xbmc as well. For live tv i use a mythtv backend with the myth xbmc plug in.
 

Vader

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I use Boxee, quite like it actually especially with the nice plugins. The PC version is getting on update sometime this year. The only thing I dont like about it is no HD VUDU as of yet.
 

dashpuppy

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What do you guy's use for a remote for your htpcs ?

I was thinking this ..


http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/...-category-id=E9ADAEB6787146E29B78400A33E7FE8A
lenovo_multimedia_remote_with_keyboard_by_lenovo.jpg
 

AQ_OC

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I use Boxee, quite like it actually especially with the nice plugins. The PC version is getting on update sometime this year. The only thing I dont like about it is no HD VUDU as of yet.

What other improvements have been made to the Boxee software since its release last November?
 

elbweb

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What do you guy's use for a remote for your htpcs ?

I was thinking this ..


http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/...-category-id=E9ADAEB6787146E29B78400A33E7FE8A
lenovo_multimedia_remote_with_keyboard_by_lenovo.jpg

Personally I use a harmony remote (the Harmony One) along with a USB IR receiver. Controls everything perfectly, as long as you have a good interface on the PC.

I also have a small laptop running Input Director that is usually handly. That way, if something goes wrong, I just move the mouse to the edge of the screen ( like in multiple monitors ) and then I can use the mouse/keyboard on my HTPC.
 

AMD[H]unter

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Yeah, if you are just streaming music/movies, and not using Xbox 360's as extenders, I'd recommend XBMC. It's faster/smoother.

Sounds good. Thanks.

Not entirely true, you could use Hauppauge HD-PVRs or Colossus cards for DVR purposes with 7MC.

Well, I don't really have a need for that. I have a Dish DVR anyway.

I am just using a Logitech k360 and M510 for my input to the HTPC.
 
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I started out with 7MC and Mediabrowser. I thought it was amazing.
Then I tried XBMC with Aeon MQ2 skin and was blown away. It's faster, looks slicker and far more configurable.
Note that XBMC is a little behind on the True HD audio (from your BluRays) but I stick to DTS/AC3 which is fine for my setup.

7MC+Mediabrowser great for the older, less techie generation (easier to install)
XBMC for the techies (more complicated to setup but worth it)
;)
 

AQ_OC

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Note that XBMC is a little behind on the True HD audio (from your BluRays) but I stick to DTS/AC3 which is fine for my setup.

Thanks for pointing this out...that's a major issue for me. No uncompressed audio, no install on my HTPC.
 

Joe S

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I use XBMC for everything and a temporary MCE remote until I get one of these shipped to me.
 

Xonim

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I've been using WMC + Media Broswer w/ Cover Art plugin and the pearl theme. TMT5 is also installed for bluray playback when necessary. I absolutely love the way this setup looks, and it was rather easy to get setup/customized.
 

Silentbob343

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What do you guy's use for a remote for your htpcs ?

I was thinking this ..


http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/...-category-id=E9ADAEB6787146E29B78400A33E7FE8A
lenovo_multimedia_remote_with_keyboard_by_lenovo.jpg

Heard the quality of the track ball is questionable and it is not back-lit for lights off/night viewing. Other than that most appear happy with it esp when purchased on sale for $30 or less.

I use XBMC for everything and a temporary MCE remote until I get one of these shipped to me.

Please post a review once you receive it. I too am using a MCE remote with custom remote config.xml, but really thinking of getting one of the dedicated pulse-eight remotes.
 

Schro

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boss99

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In using both XBMC and Boxee, I really like Boxee for the way it handles movies/TV shows.

The music, well, not so much.
 

Silentbob343

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Thanks for pointing this out...that's a major issue for me. No uncompressed audio, no install on my HTPC.

Well it won't bitstream them, but it will pass them through LPCM. I believe the PS3 did this for a while as well. You still get the uncompressed audio tracks, but your receiver doesn't handle the processing.
 

CrimandEvil

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As of now, in my opinion, if you are watching live TV/DVR-ing: 7MC (w/Mediabrowser), if not: XBMC.

I'm not doing anything with Live TV but I still prefer 7MC+ Media Browser then XBMC; it feels more polished IMO.

And VLC is a garbage player; you should be using Media Player Classic.
 

elbweb

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And VLC is a garbage player; you should be using Media Player Classic.

There is nothing 'garbage' about either of those. They both work wonderfully and offer a lot. You may prefer either for one reason or another but overall they're both very good options and saying either is 'garbage' is misrepresenting them both.
 

Activate: AMD

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I'm not doing anything with Live TV but I still prefer 7MC+ Media Browser then XBMC; it feels more polished IMO.

And VLC is a garbage player; you should be using Media Player Classic.
7MC + mediabrowser using MPC as an external player is what i settled on. with some configuration it looks great and it does everything I need. I agree though, I vastly prefer MPC to VLC
 

Valaire

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I think 7MC MediaBrowser and XMBC are both very valid options. As stated before, I think that if you are watching LiveTV or DVR that eliminates XMBC as of now (it remains to be seen if this can be a contender in their next major release which is supposed to include at least a front end for LiveTV/DVR). If not, you can choose whether or not you like XBMC or 7MC. Keep in mind the similarities far outweigh the differences between the two platforms.

One point to XBMC is that I do believe it runs on less resources and tends to be faster than Mediabrowser. This may not be an issue if your hardware runs Mediabrowser fast enough though. For point of reference, I use Mediabrowser Pearl Theme and XMBC Alaska Revisited Theme. Pearl is a rehash of Alaska so they are quite comparable in looks. XBMC runs perceptively faster on my desktop computer, which is beefy enough.

I've been using my X360 as a poor-man's HTPC for awhile and it's less than satisfactory for me as anything but the default MB theme slows it down sufficiently to the point that it loses all value. And a fair amount of my movies/shows have to be reencoded to play since X360 is not compatible with all H.264 profiles and DTS. I'll build a custom HTPC in October when I move for broadcast HD, streaming, and console emulators. I'd like to use XBMC but I'll probably use Mediabrowser because I'll be using the TV function of 7WMC sometimes. Guess I could slot in an XBMC shortcut but that gets messier.
 

rhouck

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Why does everyone ONLY focus on movies/TV shows? Or has Mediabrowser substantially improved their music support? :confused:

XBMC is 10000x better for music collections. Looks better, easier to navigate, better playlist support, support for tablets and phones as remotes (both iOS and Android), and on and on and on....

The differences between XBMC and 7MC w/ Mediabrowser are fairly minimal when it comes to TV Shows (NOT liveTV) and Movies. I like XBMC's ability to toggle subtitles better, but otherwise there is no reason to choose one or the other based on Movies.

If you need LiveTV, go 7MC
If not (and especially if you listen to a lot of music), go XBMC
 

AMD[H]unter

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Why does everyone ONLY focus on movies/TV shows? Or has Mediabrowser substantially improved their music support? :confused:

XBMC is 10000x better for music collections. Looks better, easier to navigate, better playlist support, support for tablets and phones as remotes (both iOS and Android), and on and on and on....

The differences between XBMC and 7MC w/ Mediabrowser are fairly minimal when it comes to TV Shows (NOT liveTV) and Movies. I like XBMC's ability to toggle subtitles better, but otherwise there is no reason to choose one or the other based on Movies.

If you need LiveTV, go 7MC
If not (and especially if you listen to a lot of music), go XBMC

I'm going XBMC, but mainly I only watch movies and tv shows that I have ripped. So I rarely listen to music on my HTPC.
 

Valaire

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Yeah, I did forget the mention the very valid point that XBMC is much better for music right now.
 

CrimandEvil

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There is nothing 'garbage' about either of those. They both work wonderfully and offer a lot. You may prefer either for one reason or another but overall they're both very good options and saying either is 'garbage' is misrepresenting them both.

Either of what? VLC is the only app I call "garbage" which is exactly what it is compared to other, better apps like Media Player Classic. I'm talking from a technical perspective as well. Using VLC is like suggesting Klite. lol :rolleyes:
 

MrCrispy

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Yeah, I did forget the mention the very valid point that XBMC is much better for music right now.

I thought that 7MC's music support, with the Zune like playback screen, as well as native support for Libraries, was much nicer :confused:
 

CrimandEvil

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I thought that 7MC's music support, with the Zune like playback screen, as well as native support for Libraries, was much nicer :confused:

I wish it was better organized, for a large library it's absolute rubbish trying to use 7MC's music library. Too much damn scrolling around makes you rely on playlists too often which might be that great for different situations. I really don't feel like creating a playlist for a party, you know? I wish there was something similar to Apple's Genius Shuffle allowing me to shuffle similar tracks from my library. I guess that's why I choose to load iTunes instead of using the 7MC music library most of the time.

BTW, 7MC isn't perfect but I prefer it over the competition. If I was to switch I would probably go witth Media Portal second and XBMC only if I had to use it.

Bookmarking and emulators are the only things I wish I could get in 7MC that XBMC has.
http://lifehacker.com/5634515/how-t...c-media-center-across-every-room-in-the-house
http://lifehacker.com/5523672/turn-your-xbmc-media-center-into-a-video-game-console
 

kac77

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As stated before, I think that if you are watching LiveTV or DVR that eliminates XMBC as of now (it remains to be seen if this can be a contender in their next major release which is supposed to include at least a front end for LiveTV/DVR). I

XBMC does support Mythtv backends. Hence you can get support for Live TV/DVR using it.
 
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