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HTPC software

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Wicked Klown

Hard *** Southern Boy Senior
Dec 20, 2000
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
This was missing from this area so I figured I'd contribute some basic info on this.

The all in one solution:
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 - Comes with integrated support for a lot of tuner cards and has the extra software to drive your HTPC setup. A lot of PC's were coming with this version of Windows in the lead-up to the Vista release, so it's pretty easy to get your hands on. Drawbacks: You're at Microsoft's mercy when it comes to DRM (current or future), as well as for updates and enhancements to the PVR interface itself. Switching to a different PVR app may require disabling some services and other tweaking. Can extend an MCE PC with an Xbox or Xbox 360.

Seperate PVR Apps (pay):
SageTV and BeyondTV - these apps have varying degrees of features. Trial versions are available for each and I would suggest trying them before you buy. Some TV Tuner cards come with BeyondTV bundled.

Seperate PVR Apps (free):
GBPVR - Freeware PVR app. Closed source, but has a published API for writing community supported plugins. The developer is extremely responsive to support requests via their forums. Does pretty much anything most of the other apps do and is programmable/extendable. Good support for the Hauppage MediaMVP thin client and has built in support for client/server GBPVR setups (meaning, you can keep your TV cards and storage in the fileserver and stream them to either the client PC or the MediaMVP client). Also has excellent support for Hauppage remotes and Snapstream remotes. Based on .NET 2.0 and GDI+, so it works on Windows 2000 but works *best* with XP or better. Built in support for comskip (program for skipping commercials on playback). 1 GHz CPU minimum processing power is recommended.

MythTV - Linux based, can be difficult to configure. Requires MySQL database backend. Available as a knoppix-based LiveCD distribution. Plus: excellent TV tuner card support. If your tuner works with tvtime, it'll work with Myth. Negatives: WAF (wife acceptance factor) lowers significantly the more you have to configure and fix issues with it. Most of us interested in setting up HTPC's do't really want to mess with them too much or engage in excessive configuration, and it can be VERY complicated if you're not already a power user on Linux.

Other Apps of Note:
TSReader Lite - Assists in some advanced tuning of HD channels. Can tell you the program number, ID #'s of the AC3 and MPEG2 streams for any particular channel. Lite version is mostly crippled, but free, and can do enough to help if you have tuning issues.
VideoReDo - Inexpensive/simple video editing program that can remove commercials from TV programs. When used in tandem with GBPVR's postprocessing capabilities, can automatically remove commercials in tandem with files produced by ComSkip.

Some basic tenets of HTPC software setup:
- Before going into setting up a PVR type program, make absolutely sure your card is working with the software it came with. Start with the most recent driver and app versions from the vendor's website. Be sure you know how to diagnose the difference between a driver/hardware problem and a problem with the PVR software, because the developers of the PVR app won't be able to help you much if your card doesn't work in the first place.
- Install ONLY decoders and codecs that you absolutely need. Codec conflicts can cause a lot of problems.

Credit to SickBoy

MeediOS - is a new open-source project which is will recapture the magic of Meedio with sizeable improvements such as a WPF based UI built on the .NET Framework 2.0. It is a free program.

Yahoo Go TV - thats is based off part of the Meedio code. This is a freeware program that is nice for watching your recording movies.

MediaBrowser plug-in for media center.

Screen shots
with Xzener's Icons and custom made backdrop. You can add any photo by placing it in C:\Program Data\MediaBrowser\StartupFolder and naming it backdrop.png or backdrop.jpg

with Stark covers.

MPC-HC - This project is based on the original "Media Player Classic" and was created after Gabest, the original author, stopped working on it. Many new player features have been integrated in this player, such as:
An option to remove Tearing
MPC Home Cinema in Your Language (see all languages)
Additional video decoders and in particular H.264 and VC-1 with DXVA support
Better support for Windows Vista, including a release for 64 bits platform
Support for EVR renderer
Bugs and vulnerability fixes
All previous features from the Guliverkli Project (MPC) from Gabest.

Credit to Wicked Klown

MediaPortal - turns your PC and TV into a very advanced home media center. Our software allows you to listen to your favorite music and radio stations; watch and store your videos and DVDs; view, schedule and record live TV as a digital video recorder; and much, much more. MediaPortal is open source software. This means you can help develop MediaPortal or tweak it for your own needs with lots of innovative plugins from our great community.

MediaPortal Wiki

Credit to Smokie mcpott

Great write up on installing Media Portal and installing plug-ins.

da Master @ avsforum

KMplayer - Integrates FFDshow. Far less buggy than Zoomplayer. Remote compatible. Supports non-unicode subtitles. Best standalone video player IMO.

HIP - How do you control your HTPC? HIP is free and what I use. Couple it with a Harmony remote and you have HTPC control bliss.

Event Ghost - Also very good and free. However, it supports less IR receivers than HIP. If you don't care about free and open software, Girder is what a lot of people like.

Credit to Silkshadow

Feel free to PM to keep this up to date and add new software
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