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Just wondering what you guys use for presenting your media on your HDTV. I am currently using a MBP with Plex and XBMC. I am using Plex 90% of the time but do have XBMC for testing. I have BD Rips, DVD rips, music and photos that all stream from my WHS box.

Curious to what you guys use. What is your favorite Media front end? Are you happy with the current product you are using?

Thanks
 

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Running Win7 on a headless server for storing media and running mediaportal TV server (had strange issues with WHS data duplication crashing the server). TV server is using 3 HVR 1600s, a Nova-S, and next week a Qbox 3 DVB-S2.
For clients, two dedicated Win7 HTPCs running mediaportal in client only configuration.
Also an Asus Oplay HDP-R1 that gets a little bit of use.

I am happy with mediaportal once it is setup and running the way I want it (streamedMP skin, OnlineVideos plugin, Arcsoft plugin for BD playback, Schedules direct, ect), but the learning curve was very steep and it takes alot of time and patience to get the bugs worked out. I prefer it because it allows me to run my online shows, OTA, cable, and sat channels all under one front end and epg. I will give XBMC a try when they get a stable live tv client/server release. It supposed to run much smoother.
 

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Right now, just an older PC running Ubuntu Linux (10.04 I think), connected to the TV with VGA. I am using no special HTPC interface. I just play video files and Youtube on it really. I was using my netbook, but it has gotten slow at playing full screen video.
 

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After a lot of trial and error, I went to a simple set up for front end - I move everything from the various video in sources I have to an Alienware 51 desktop running Win7 and I playback using VLC (and, less and less, Windows Media Center).

I've tried a lot of other, more complex, configurations, but this one seems to be a lot more robust. Picture quality is exceptional and minimal 'can't play that kind of file' problems. Keys seemed to be i). getting a very powerful PC and dedicating it to audio/video playback ii). settling on VLC, which is limited in many ways but its ability to play almost any file type makes up for it, iii) using the VLC remote app to turn my iPhone & iPad into remotes that give me slow motion, skip ahead and other functions while using VLC.

I looked at Plex a while ago and frankly forgot about it. Just checked the website now - hmm, might have a closer look (this forum is great).

What I learned was you have to decide up front what's more important - are you setting up the media capabilities mainly to watch/listen to programming, or is the setting up a hobby in itself that you enjoy? I'm found I'm in the first camp, so I ended up with something less complex that required little or no maintenance
 

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I use a dedicated computer, hdmi to the tv, running Windows7 Media Center. Media center fills all my needs (it can play any kind of files using Shark007 codecs pack) with integrated EPG to record HD OTA. All recordings can be stream to all other computer (all Win7) and I usually use Media Player on those computers. The computer is also use to stream Netflix with IE.
The HTPC has remote control, wireless mouse and keyboard. Maintenance and relate activities like conversion are instruct on an other monitor on my desk linked with a 25' VGA cable (easier than in front of the tv set).
 

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I have a couple of HTPCs based on Gigabyte motherboards (as described in another thread.) The software of choice is XBMC.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I cannot get any or very little OTA stations so my sole reasoning for a front end is to display my rips in a way that my wife can navigate and choose what she wants to watch when I am not home. I have no interest in web services such as youtube or hulu.

There have been times when the front end is not functioning correctly and I have had to log in over my iPhone through the internet and fix things. This usually happens when I am out playing poker with the guys. My plex solution works about 70% of the time.

I also have a hacked Apple TV (1st Gen) that runs Boxee and has been rock solid so far in the kids play room. I like the Boxee interface for the most part but find it a bit childish. Prefer XBMC on it but Boxee seems to be more stable.
 

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I've got a win7 fileserver (could be any OS the way I use it, but it happens to be win7) that houses 6TB of video and music

Pair of almost identical AMD dual core machines, based on the nvidia 6150 chipset

added ati 4350 passively cooled gpu's when i migrated to 1080p content
 

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So for people using Win7 and HTPC connected to HDTV's. What cases are you using for housing the PC's? One of my issues is if I move in that direction my TV stand is limited for a PC other than a closed laptop.
 

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The HTPC case is a tower type Antec. You need something as quiet as possible. The tv is angled in the corner and the box fit behind.
For accessing ripped and compressed content i use Media Browser which is a plugin into Media Center. The advantage over MC Movie is the possibility of categories and subfolders to manage the medias. Fetching for cover art and info is made through Media Center Master.
 

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I'm running a WIN 7 HTPC in my basement, and run HDMI and IR receiver cables (25 feet) to my TV in main floor family room, so no noise, no space required near TV. HTPC is my home server, contains 10 drives, 8 TV tuners (analog, digital, ATSC OTA). Case is big, but who cares. Tuner Salad (free) allows simultaneous recordings on all 8 tuners. I use the standard MS remote so it also controls TV on/off and volume. Other TV's in house use XBOX extenders (2) or DMA-2100 (5). I've still got my old Antec fusion case (looks nice, too small for more than 3 drives). I've had multiple HTPC's (too much support). Extenders are a bit flakey, but they work.

MediaBrowser is great for video library, and remote access to Win7 also includes vmcMote using my iPod, or Remote Potato.
 

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The PC I mentioned is in a fairly generic beige box tower case sitting beside my lounge side table, which has the 19" LCD monitor and KVM switch (to switch between that PC and the netbook). The PC connects to the TV with a long VGA and audio cable. One of the VGA connections is direct on the graphics card, the other through a DVI-I to VGA adapter. The mouse is wireless, but for now the keyboard is wired, all USB.
 
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