I have long held a fantastic dream of what I want my home theater
setup to be. I've tried several times, in several different ways, to
realize this dream - but there is always something. There's always
something that doesn't work right - that makes my final implementation
lacking in some fundamental way. I'm starting to give up hope. So -
I'll tell you what I want and what I've tried - and I want you to tell
me if there's another way. I can't be alone here.
posted by kbanas to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What I have to work with:
Several terabytes of music, television and music stored on a Windows
Home Server on my local network.
A HD television
An AV receiver
Bright House cable service with a digital cable box
A Windows 7 HTPC
A Logitech Revue Google TV
A Hauppauge HDPVR
What I want:
I want to listen to music, and access my local media content, and play
and record live TV and access internet-based applications like Netflix
and Hulu and network streaming sites (abc.com, etc) all from a single
device/interface/remote. I would also really like it if all this was
searchable, but I'll take what I can get.
I don't want to switch between different devices and different
interfaces and different remotes based on the type of content I want to access. I want everything in one box. Is
that too much to ask?
What I've Tried:
Logitech Revue GoogleTV
It's OK. If it's the best solution, I'll keep it, but presently I've
got a pre-paid shipping label for it and I'm getting ready to send it
back, because there are some real problems.
-The player for local media content (stored on my WHS) is barely
functional. None of my local media content is reliably indexed - none
of it reliably comes back in search results - and the universal
searching is part of the big selling points for GoogleTV. Also, a lot
of my videos don't play properly, because there are certain audio
codecs missing. Apparently this is a work in progress, but there have
been no updates yet.
-Um, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and others have all banned the GoogleTV from
accessing online streaming content, which is in theory one of the neat
functions of the device. I don't want to get on a soapbox but I don't
understand why Google didn't get this straightened out before they
launched the product - and, also, why there seems to be no real
urgency now to get it fixed. This is a huge bad thing.
-It allows me to record and watch live TV, but not in any accessible
way. It just uses my DVR from my Brighthouse cable box, so all the
recordings are locked down and inaccessible. The interface and guide
are all the same ugly crap software from the Brighthouse box, which I
hate and is horrible.
-Apparently in a month or two the "application store" for the GoogleTV
should open up - maybe the platform will continue to mature and grow
and I should hold on to it and hope it gets better?
This is a new solution, after I decided to return my Revue. I'm not
in love with it either.
-OK, so, I read about this thing a bunch and I ran out and I bought
one. It lets me watch and record live TV in the Windows Media Center
interface on my HTPC. I can also do pretty much everything else on my
wish list, because, well, it's a PC.
-The HDPVR from Hauppauge, which is pretty much the only one of its
kind as far as I can tell, only has ONE TUNER. So, if I wanted to be
able to record multiple things at once, or watch and record at the
same time, I would, in theory, have to buy another Hauppauge box and
get another cable box from my provider? Ugh.
-The HDPVR exploits an analog loophole by using component video at
1080i. It then connects to my HTPC via USB. The resulting picture
quality is good - it's passable, really - but it's not great. There's
some artifacting... maybe that would be improved with an upgrade to
-It takes a long time to change channels. With the included IR
blaster, it took 25 - 30 seconds to change channels. I researched and
switched to a Firewire setup, and this cut it down to 10 - 12 seconds
per channel change.
-It doesn't have the cool universal search of the GoogleTV - but,
since the GoogleTV search results don't work on local media and online
streaming is broken, I guess that's ok.
The only other option I see open to me (and perhaps I'm wrong) is to
investigate getting a cablecard from Brighthouse and then getting one
of those adapter cards for my PC and tuning the cable directly into
the media center. This seems possible, although expensive and
annoying. There only appears to be one card available that does this,
and it's apparently like $400.
So, that's the dilemma. I know. I know this is so hard because what I'm trying to do is entirely against the grain from what apparently every major corporation in the entire known universe wants me to do - but I don't care. I want to make this happen!