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I need recommendation for my HTPC. I checked a lot of HTPC forums, and still not sure about what Interface, plugin, codec combination to install.

This is what I need from HTPC:

  • 10foot UI
  • video formats: h264 (mkv), xvid
  • external subtitles
  • audio formats: flac & ape
  • metadata: Would like to recognize tv-show files and to group them by series and seasons (almost all of them are scene releases), with all according metadata. Audio metadata is also a plus.

I would like answer to be set of Interface, plugins and codecs (and anything else is needed) You recommend me to install. Also, anything else you think is important is more than welcome.

Thanks

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I personally use Windows media center with shark007 codecs: found here

the main benefit of this is that it keeps the codecs clean, and doesn't install loads of stuff you don't need. The other main advantage is that you can manage all your codecs from a single screen:

settings page

The next thing you'd want to install is media browser: found here

which is simply awesome, as it finds all your tv show/movie metadata for you and displays it beautifully. you don't even have to rename files (but some organisation helps!)

my folder structure looks like this:

films --> film title --> film.format
tv shows --> show title --> season 1 --> tvshow.format

and the software above just eats them up and looks great. Also like sam holders answer, you can install all sorts of add ons for youtube, web browsers (kylo is great for big screens) and it all works perfectly with a media center remote.

example

(edit: sorry, windows isn't free, but the rest is. windows7 would be nice if you can use that over windows xp media centre edition)

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Kind of answer I was hoping for. Thanks. –  Jox Apr 7 '11 at 18:36

there is only one choice IMHO, XBMC.

Although I'm not certain, I believe it will play FLAC and APE format.

It looks amazing and has many skins to suit all tastes.

It will get meta data for TV/Movies/Music automatically

It can be extended via plugins and can play youtube videos/TED talks/ The onion etc etc.

it can all be controlled from the sofa via remote.

Its free and actively developed.

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I'd also recommend looking at Boxee, which is built on XMBC, if streaming is the priority. I use Windows Media Centre for everything else, as I think it is very good. –  paradroid Sep 6 '10 at 13:46
    
Agree times 1000. I had low expectations for XBMC; always assumed it had something to do with the original XBox. But wow, it is amazing: Beautiful (I mean really, really beautiful) and lightning fast. –  skypecakes Sep 29 '10 at 5:59

MythTV is also pretty good. And also free. MythDora is a good pre-configured installation; I used it happily for a couple of years. It's better with video that with audio; the UI for selecting music is surprisingly poor.

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