HTPC - no more?

staknhalo

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So madVR on an HTPC beats a ShieldTV using KODI to stream to my TV from my NAS which holds my BR/UHD disc remux rips? No re-encoding done or transcoding done by me. Just raw media from NAS to ShieldTV to Denon to TV.

no, from my understanding (never using it but always being around people who have)

it's for local machine playback only with the upscaling/other processing on playback that madVR provides, it's for playing on an HTPC from an HTPC

I suppose with Windows networking it could be streamed from a NAS, but I dunno how that would affect processing/'the whole point' of madVR - and it needs a GPU for processing IIRC (no clue there how beefy of one)

correct me if that's wrong anyone
 

Meeho

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So madVR on an HTPC beats a ShieldTV using KODI to stream to my TV from my NAS which holds my BR/UHD disc remux rips? No re-encoding done or transcoding done by me. Just raw media from NAS to ShieldTV to Denon to TV.
Yes. Less so, but yes.
 

grifter_66

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So madVR on an HTPC beats a ShieldTV using KODI to stream to my TV from my NAS which holds my BR/UHD disc remux rips? No re-encoding done or transcoding done by me. Just raw media from NAS to ShieldTV to Denon to TV.

No, it's for the highest audio and video quality possible on my local machine. When I want perfect Blu-Ray quality I use MPC-HC with madVR locally. When I'm watching something in another room, mostly TV shows that don't come close to that quality natively I use PLEX.
 

aliaskary77

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I may set up madVR/MPC-HC again as an external player for kodi, but not as default, maybe as context menu option only for myself, for certain movies. Don't want to deal with complaints from kids and wife when I am not there :p
 

MrGuvernment

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That's a bit hyperbolic don't you think? I'm sure a 4 core Ryzen 3 mobile CPU with integrated Radeon graphics in a mini PC could handle that as well at around the same power draw, and at least with a PC you have complete control of the software stack. The CPU isn't really what matters as much as the decoder. I'm certain AMD's latest decode hardware is as good or better than the aging decoders in the Shield devices. That being said, I have a Shield in the living room as well, but the addition of ads that scare my child (The Black Mask specifically) on its home screen have us looking into other options. Which sucks, because I've had this Shield since 2015, and it has been fantastic until the addition of ads. For us, we'll probably be switching to an AppleTV in the living room, but I will always have a PC driving my home theater projector.
I was just replying to the person who claimed a shield was useless, which it is not in any sense. I agree, ad's suck, def, but for 99% of people, a shield is quick, easy, and will provide the same quality as an full HTPC for the majority of codecs and audio formats people use today for a fraction of space used and cost (unless you find a deal on ebay or get some parts on sale), even with it's older decoder. I was an HTPC guy for many years, but it just got old and tiring having another system to maintain and deal with.

staknhalo said:
A nuclear reactor is more powerful than the Shield, but just as useless as an HTPC in terms of app support

HTPC died when Hulu desktop was killed, those were the days
 

jlbenedict

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To summarize: client / server streaming model is now the choice.

Even though only ~10 years or so ago... WD TV Live boxes, or comparable were the rage .. crazy how fast those type of boxes disappeared
 

bluestang

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To summarize: client / server streaming model is now the choice.

Even though only ~10 years or so ago... WD TV Live boxes, or comparable were the rage .. crazy how fast those type of boxes disappeared
I still got 1 or 2 of those sitting around in packed back away in their boxes.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
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Jan 4, 2004
Messages
135
I kinda miss WMC. We really got a lot of great years out of a media center PC. Gotta say though, I like centering things on a Synology now running Plex. It just works.

Using roku ultras, and they work well enough, but kinda annoyed at being advertised at on the home screen. Ick.
 

n00bsky

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I have a similar question. A lot of good advice available in this thread, but I'm still a bit loss.
I built my HTPC a good few years ago. I'm running Win10, Kodi, Prime & Netflix apps, Youtube in browsers. I have web cam connected for videocalls, not used a lot recently. I play DVDs. the PC is connected via HDMI to 5.1 receiver and PC screen. I did not get a TV to avoid paying TV licence. It is time to revisit the setup as it is aging and not playing HEVC properly. Did I mention I have old QNAP NAS that I use as a network share, Kodi is using this as a video files source, and this is where it struggles with HEVC.
What options can you suggest for me?
My requirements are:
- 1080p PC monitor via HDMI (4k nice to have)
- 5.1 audio via AV receiver (HDMI)
- physical DVD and Blu-Ray disks
- playing video from NAS (HEVC)
- screen sharing / casting from IOS and Android
- youtube
- netflix, prime etc. with 5.1 support
- internet browsers and keyboard support
- webcam support (nice to have)

Is that possible on a budget with a single device?
Should I look at something like Fire Stick + stand alone blu-ray player? Or update my HTPC? Or something else?
I appreciate your thoughts.
 

LukeTbk

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I would look at black friday-prime deal on a fireTV 4k, they got really good at natively handling almost anything and can act in dev mode as a standard android device to have steam-moonlight if you ever interested, good bluetooth mouse-keyboard support at really good price when the big 40-50% Prime days-black friday deals goes on.

But it will be quite limited in USB connexion out of the box (none) without an add-on and obviously lack the bluray player
 

mvmiller12

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I have a similar question. A lot of good advice available in this thread, but I'm still a bit loss.
I built my HTPC a good few years ago. I'm running Win10, Kodi, Prime & Netflix apps, Youtube in browsers. I have web cam connected for videocalls, not used a lot recently. I play DVDs. the PC is connected via HDMI to 5.1 receiver and PC screen. I did not get a TV to avoid paying TV licence. It is time to revisit the setup as it is aging and not playing HEVC properly. Did I mention I have old QNAP NAS that I use as a network share, Kodi is using this as a video files source, and this is where it struggles with HEVC.
What options can you suggest for me?
My requirements are:
- 1080p PC monitor via HDMI (4k nice to have)
- 5.1 audio via AV receiver (HDMI)
- physical DVD and Blu-Ray disks
- playing video from NAS (HEVC)
- screen sharing / casting from IOS and Android
- youtube
- netflix, prime etc. with 5.1 support
- internet browsers and keyboard support
- webcam support (nice to have)

Is that possible on a budget with a single device?
Should I look at something like Fire Stick + stand alone blu-ray player? Or update my HTPC? Or something else?
I appreciate your thoughts.

I'm confused... what TV license are you talking about having to pay? I have an HTPC running a Core i5-6600K w/16G RAM, 256G SSD, Radeon RX-480 8G connected to Samsung 55" TV and an Auzentech PCIe HomeTheatre (Creative X-FI) passing DDL 5.1 via TOLSLINK to a Yamaha 5.1 NEO receiver. Software is Windows 11, Kodi, Netflix app, and Microsoft Edge (YouTube, Amazon Prime, BritBox). I have never encountered having to pay any kind of TV license. Plex app is also installed, but rarely used on this TV. Bedroom TVs all use Plex (either built-in app, or FireTV sticks).

All of my physical media (which I still buy things I really like) gets encoded and stored on an old Dell PowerEdge R515 (Windows Server 2019, 2x Opteron 6-cores, 32G ECC RAM) in the basement with 8x8G WD drives internally in a RAID6. There is an MD1200 drive box connected to that with another 8x8G of WD drives in RAID 6 for a mirrored backup. I also have a Plex Server (Windows 11, Ryzen 3900X, 32G ECC RAM on Crosshair VI Hero) for remote streaming - the Plex Server connects to the mirrored backup from the R515 via iSCSI (using 10G Ethernet) and that drive is then backed up to the cloud via BackBlaze. (Proper 3-2-1 backup setup... Had to re-encode my entire collection 3 times before I learned this lesson)

Latest upgrades to my encode chain include a laptop UHD BluRay reader in an external USB case (LG-BU50N) that is firmware modded so AnyDVD can decode UHD 4K BluRay disks and I can just rip and encode using my normal BluRay process. Very nice since I don't actually have a UHD BluRay player.

Edit to note - the only real expense in all of this were the 16x8G HDDs - pretty much everything else is repurposed old PC parts I had from upgrades, or parts I was given.
 

mvmiller12

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Usually Euros, like in the UK, it is sometime paid to own a tv set, nothing to do with the HTPC:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_licence
Ah. I'm a US Citizen, so I gotta tell you, I've never before heard of such a thing. The mere concept of having to pay an annual "subscription" tax just for owning a TV is very alien to me. I'd be pretty screwed, too as I have a bunch of TVs in the house, and 2 of them are specifically used exclusively as computer monitors.
 

Ripskin

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When I went to rebuild my HTPC I decided to go with a solid NUC. Minisforum and it is GREAT for my needs and beefy for the $350 price tag vs what I would have paid for a full new PC with similar specs. I decided I dont care about the optical drive. If I need one I have it on my maid desktop and I rip all my media to my NAS.
 

DrezKill

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I did not get a TV to avoid paying TV licence.
Wait, what is this now?

I'm confused... what TV license are you talking about having to pay?
Yeah I too am just as confused.

WHAT THA FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK
That is absolute insanity!!!

I've never before heard of such a thing.
Me either. What the actual fuck. That's some fucked up shit.
 

aliaskary77

Limp Gawd
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How do you use it? I remember I had set up mpc-hc as the external player for kodi. Not done that in a long time or save my config files.
A small follow up. I did setup MPC-HC with the latest madVR I could find...mostly defaults, dont think I tweaked anything.
There is one movie that is so yellow tinted in Kodi and vanilla MPC-HC, it was amazingly clear and had better colors in MPC-HC with madVR. I don't care how directors intend for things to be viewed...if I prefer it another way, I am gonna do it. I watch movies for entertainment, not "art"!

I think Kodi has a branch that allows DSPlayer so you can use madVR, but never got into it. Might have to check it out.
 

Zepher

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Ah. I'm a US Citizen, so I gotta tell you, I've never before heard of such a thing. The mere concept of having to pay an annual "subscription" tax just for owning a TV is very alien to me. I'd be pretty screwed, too as I have a bunch of TVs in the house, and 2 of them are specifically used exclusively as computer monitors.
If it's like Iceland, it's licensed by person, so you could own a dozen TV's and you just pay the one yearly tax fee.
My uncles all had their TV's bought in my grandma's name back in the day to avoid paying the tax, lol.
Oh, it was also radio's, but I think it was all the same tax. It helped cover the state run radio and TV station, which back in the 80's there was only 1 TV channel to watch, and it wasn't 24/7, more like 3pm till 11pm on weekdays and something like 10am till 2am on friday and saturday.
 

biztyke

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I don't know, I've spent a while trying to just go with various media players and Firesticks or Rokus but I just ordered a mini-pc to function as my HTPC. Most things will be streamed from my server or other PCs in the house. To me there are just too many hang-ups and lack of customization with the various media boxes and sticks. They are great for travelling and I still have and use them on my TVs but for general ease of use I still like the PC environment. I use a mouse and keyboard and it does anything and everything I need it to. Later on when I can afford it I will build a full gaming capable PC for my home theater. I personally don't get why most people seem content with the limited capability of the average media stick, granted I haven't tried a Shield yet so maybe I'm missing out.
 

Zepher

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I don't know, I've spent a while trying to just go with various media players and Firesticks or Rokus but I just ordered a mini-pc to function as my HTPC. Most things will be streamed from my server or other PCs in the house. To me there are just too many hang-ups and lack of customization with the various media boxes and sticks. They are great for travelling and I still have and use them on my TVs but for general ease of use I still like the PC environment. I use a mouse and keyboard and it does anything and everything I need it to. Later on when I can afford it I will build a full gaming capable PC for my home theater. I personally don't get why most people seem content with the limited capability of the average media stick, granted I haven't tried a Shield yet so maybe I'm missing out.
I use Plex for my media and don't game on my TV.
No real need to have a full blown PC unless it's the Plex server as well as the HTPC.
Plex-Server-Home-Screen-11-2022.jpg
 

biztyke

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I use Plex for my media and don't game on my TV.
No real need to have a full blown PC unless it's the Plex server as well as the HTPC.
View attachment 526056
Yes I've had a Plex server set up for years and I like it. Like I said I still use sticks on my TVs and I use plex, Netflix, Prime, etc but for my go to main home theater I still prefer the PC environment.
 

aliaskary77

Limp Gawd
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Messages
387
Yeah I had a tough time with media sticks. Got a HTPC with 32TB storage. I use Kodi (with mpc-hc sometimes) as my main player....have netflix, disney, appletv (apps and browser)....plex is installed for my external streaming.
If I get a house, will have smaller pc boxes strapped to the extra tvs. I have heard decent things about nvidia shields.
 
Last edited:

n00bsky

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One thing that annoys me about the PC is lack of 5.1 audio support from streaming apps. Netflix seems to be the only one supporting it currently. This drives me towards alternative solutions.
 

Aurelius

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I don't know, I've spent a while trying to just go with various media players and Firesticks or Rokus but I just ordered a mini-pc to function as my HTPC. Most things will be streamed from my server or other PCs in the house. To me there are just too many hang-ups and lack of customization with the various media boxes and sticks. They are great for travelling and I still have and use them on my TVs but for general ease of use I still like the PC environment. I use a mouse and keyboard and it does anything and everything I need it to. Later on when I can afford it I will build a full gaming capable PC for my home theater. I personally don't get why most people seem content with the limited capability of the average media stick, granted I haven't tried a Shield yet so maybe I'm missing out.
The reality is that most people don't rip discs, pirate shows or otherwise need to stream files elsewhere on their network. They either play discs directly (less and less common) or are happy to watch digital purchases, rentals and subscription content.

For that matter, most people want to go to the living room to escape the complexities of PCs, not extend them. With a Fire TV/Roku/Chromecast/Apple TV device you don't have to worry about drivers, NAS setup or antivirus software. You don't have to balance a keyboard and mouse on your lap instead of your child. You just grab the remote and decide what to watch — that's tremendously appealing at the end of a long day when you just want to relax for an hour or two.

And if folks are interested in gaming... well, that's what a console is for. You can stream all the big services and still play top-tier games.
 

sharknice

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The only reason to directly connect a PC is to game or simply use a PC normally, or if your TV old or crappy. Using a PC for media consumption on a good modern smart TV is inferior to simply using the smart TV directly.

My TV can stream any service in 4k hdr and Atmos surround sound. Something the streaming services simply don't support doing through a PC. And my TV can play any video file I'm sharing on the network at native frame rate, something that's a major problem on a PC. And my TV knows what content I am playing and can adjust the picture settings automatically, it can't if everything is coming from the PC. I can also push a button on my TV remote and say "the matrix" and it will search every single service and my files in a second and I simply click it to play.
The TV even has a web browser. I can also cast my phone, and do all sorts of things much easier and faster than on a PC.

Using the TV directly provides superior video and audio quality. It's dumb to use a PC for any media consumption.
 

whateverer

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The only reason to directly connect a PC is to game or simply use a PC normally, or if your TV old or crappy. Using a PC for media consumption on a good modern smart TV is inferior to simply using the smart TV directly.

My TV can stream any service in 4k hdr and Atmos surround sound. Something the streaming services simply don't support doing through a PC. And my TV can play any video file I'm sharing on the network at native frame rate, something that's a major problem on a PC. And my TV knows what content I am playing and can adjust the picture settings automatically, it can't if everything is coming from the PC. I can also push a button on my TV remote and say "the matrix" and it will search every single service and my files in a second and I simply click it to play.
The TV even has a web browser. I can also cast my phone, and do all sorts of things much easier and faster than on a PC.

Using the TV directly provides superior video and audio quality. It's dumb to use a PC for any media consumption.


absolutely, but IO finally found a cheap upgrade for my 6-year-old 960 2gb (1060 3gb), so I'll have a lot more options for new steam games on by b7 over the holiday season!

but I use the PC to record live TV and run universal media center (the b7 can handle both that and my entire media library, and Roku over web OS for streaming)
 

biztyke

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The only reason to directly connect a PC is to game or simply use a PC normally, or if your TV old or crappy. Using a PC for media consumption on a good modern smart TV is inferior to simply using the smart TV directly.

My TV can stream any service in 4k hdr and Atmos surround sound. Something the streaming services simply don't support doing through a PC. And my TV can play any video file I'm sharing on the network at native frame rate, something that's a major problem on a PC. And my TV knows what content I am playing and can adjust the picture settings automatically, it can't if everything is coming from the PC. I can also push a button on my TV remote and say "the matrix" and it will search every single service and my files in a second and I simply click it to play.
The TV even has a web browser. I can also cast my phone, and do all sorts of things much easier and faster than on a PC.

Using the TV directly provides superior video and audio quality. It's dumb to use a PC for any media consumption.
To each their own I guess, though I really don't understand a lot of your points. Netflix supports 4K and Atmos just fine on PC, which is good enough for me. I know most or all other services don't(supposedly to curb pirating of content even though its completely ineffective) but the only other service I have is Prime as a byproduct of Prime shipping. Personally I didn't cut the cord just to subscribe to 5-8 streaming services that ultimately cost the same as a cable sub. I've never had an issue playing video files on my TVs at native framerate and resolution, I don't understand how that would be difficult, my setup automatically changes the output based on the video file. I also never change picture settings for content, just calibrate the TV or projector as best as I can and go from there. Not a fan of voice commands(don't use it on my phone either) but it does exist on PC as well, though searching for "the matrix" is hardly an ordeal. And seriously, a web browser on a TV? Have you actually used them? I have, on very modern TVs, they are basically useless IMO.

I get it, everyone has different needs and wants so I'm not saying an HTPC is for everyone(probably only a minority) just that I prefer it still for various valid reasons. To say I am dumb for doing so is just tunnel vision.
 

Ripskin

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The only reason to directly connect a PC is to game or simply use a PC normally, or if your TV old or crappy. Using a PC for media consumption on a good modern smart TV is inferior to simply using the smart TV directly.

My TV can stream any service in 4k hdr and Atmos surround sound. Something the streaming services simply don't support doing through a PC. And my TV can play any video file I'm sharing on the network at native frame rate, something that's a major problem on a PC. And my TV knows what content I am playing and can adjust the picture settings automatically, it can't if everything is coming from the PC. I can also push a button on my TV remote and say "the matrix" and it will search every single service and my files in a second and I simply click it to play.
The TV even has a web browser. I can also cast my phone, and do all sorts of things much easier and faster than on a PC.

Using the TV directly provides superior video and audio quality. It's dumb to use a PC for any media consumption.

I wouldnt call it inferior by any means to use the TV or a PC, each has positives and downsides but it depends on the user and use case. But as you are evidently locked in and rockin' in your camp (y)
 

sharknice

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To each their own I guess, though I really don't understand a lot of your points. Netflix supports 4K and Atmos just fine on PC, which is good enough for me. I know most or all other services don't(supposedly to curb pirating of content even though its completely ineffective) but the only other service I have is Prime as a byproduct of Prime shipping. Personally I didn't cut the cord just to subscribe to 5-8 streaming services that ultimately cost the same as a cable sub. I've never had an issue playing video files on my TVs at native framerate and resolution, I don't understand how that would be difficult, my setup automatically changes the output based on the video file. I also never change picture settings for content, just calibrate the TV or projector as best as I can and go from there. Not a fan of voice commands(don't use it on my phone either) but it does exist on PC as well, though searching for "the matrix" is hardly an ordeal. And seriously, a web browser on a TV? Have you actually used them? I have, on very modern TVs, they are basically useless IMO.

I get it, everyone has different needs and wants so I'm not saying an HTPC is for everyone(probably only a minority) just that I prefer it still for various valid reasons. To say I am dumb for doing so is just tunnel vision.

That's good for you.

I personally can't stand watching anything with pull down frame rate compensation, or subpar resolution or image quality. I bought a high end TV because I want the best possible picture quality.

If you just want to do PC stuff on your TV then nothing beats an actual PC. I used to do that but I moved mine to the server room and it just hosts the video files over the network now. If I want to do PC stuff I do it at my desk and ironically have a TV as one of the screens. If I'm on the couch in front of the big TV it's to watch a movie or something and my smartphone can do just about anything without disrupting what we're watching on the TV.

I only mentioned the web browser because sometimes people watch some "non mainstream" streaming sites that don't have apps and you can use it to do that on your TV if you really want to without needing a PC. I care about picture quality so that's not something I do.
 

biztyke

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I personally can't stand watching anything with pull down frame rate compensation, or subpar resolution or image quality. I bought a high end TV because I want the best possible picture quality.

I still don't understand this. When I play files on my PC it literally changes the video output to match the file I am playing. Like if I play a 2160p24 HDR file with Atmos audio, my TV gets 2160p24 with HDR input while the file is being played, and my receiver gets an Atmos audio signal. There is no framerate compensation(interpolation), no dropped resolution or image quality. I am getting the exact same quality you are talking about.
 

sharknice

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I still don't understand this. When I play files on my PC it literally changes the video output to match the file I am playing. Like if I play a 2160p24 HDR file with Atmos audio, my TV gets 2160p24 with HDR input while the file is being played, and my receiver gets an Atmos audio signal. There is no framerate compensation(interpolation), no dropped resolution or image quality. I am getting the exact same quality you are talking about.

What about streaming?
 

biztyke

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What about streaming?
As mentioned, I only use Netflix for streaming(and sometimes Prime), but Netflix through Kodi does framerate matching if I want. Interesting actually as Netflix added framerate matching to Firesticks just a few months ago, I'm not sure about Roku or others.

That said a lot of the time I will just use the Windows Netflix app as streaming video isn't the best to begin with but IMO looks fine at 4K with HDR or even 1080p for a lot of series, If I want an all around quality movie experience I will stick with a High bit rate MKV.

Like I said, PC certainly isn't for everyone. You seem perfectly happy with the smart TV functions and that is great, all I did is explain why I still prefer the PC. I'm certainly not giving up quality, and it takes more initial setup this way but I just like having the additional control options a PC provides.
 

sharknice

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As mentioned, I only use Netflix for streaming(and sometimes Prime), but Netflix through Kodi does framerate matching if I want. Interesting actually as Netflix added framerate matching to Firesticks just a few months ago, I'm not sure about Roku or others.

That said a lot of the time I will just use the Windows Netflix app as streaming video isn't the best to begin with but IMO looks fine at 4K with HDR or even 1080p for a lot of series, If I want an all around quality movie experience I will stick with a High bit rate MKV.

Like I said, PC certainly isn't for everyone. You seem perfectly happy with the smart TV functions and that is great, all I did is explain why I still prefer the PC. I'm certainly not giving up quality, and it takes more initial setup this way but I just like having the additional control options a PC provides.

That's great if it's good enough for you. Not being able to stream at high quality was a deal breaker for me. I probably would have kept using one otherwise, but I haven't missed a single thing since I stopped.
 

LukeTbk

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As mentioned, I only use Netflix for streaming(and sometimes Prime), but Netflix through Kodi does framerate matching if I want. Interesting actually as Netflix added framerate matching to Firesticks just a few months ago, I'm not sure about Roku or others.

That said a lot of the time I will just use the Windows Netflix app as streaming video isn't the best to begin with but IMO looks fine at 4K with HDR or even 1080p for a lot of series, If I want an all around quality movie experience I will stick with a High bit rate MKV.

Like I said, PC certainly isn't for everyone. You seem perfectly happy with the smart TV functions and that is great, all I did is explain why I still prefer the PC. I'm certainly not giving up quality, and it takes more initial setup this way but I just like having the additional control options a PC provides.

Not sure how much I understand this. the comment about windows Netflix app and looking fine, what the issue with the Windows Netflix app outside quality ?
 

biztyke

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Not sure how much I understand this. the comment about windows Netflix app and looking fine, what the issue with the Windows Netflix app outside quality ?
Sharknice was asking about watching streaming services on PC, specifically referring to framerate matching. The Windows Netflix app does not framerate match. IMO it still looks great, there is no drop in resolution and it supports HDR. Some people find 24fps content being played on a 60-144hz display looks choppy, but I've never really noticed that on the Netflix app and a lot of content on Netflix is 60fps anyways.
 

MavericK

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I have a Synology running Emby now, so I've considered moving away from an HTPC to some sort of streaming stick, but are most of them actually capable of streaming 4K Blu-ray quality stuff?
 

bluestang

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I have a Synology running Emby now, so I've considered moving away from an HTPC to some sort of streaming stick, but are most of them actually capable of streaming 4K Blu-ray quality stuff?

Shield TV Pro all day long with wired connection. That's basically my setup...ripped raw Blurays & UHD to my NAS and streamed with KODI on Shield TV. I'm not running Emby or anything hough.
 
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