New to HTPC - On the right track?

Discussion in 'HTPC' started by Shinanigans, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Shinanigans

    Shinanigans Member

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    Hey all,

    After house-sitting for a friend and absolutely loving their Kodi HTPC setup, I'm finally going to bite the bullet and build a proper HTPC and I'm looking for a bit of advice.

    To preface, I'm not looking to play games on this system at all, it will only be used for watching TV shows/movies and music. The current setup I use is basically opening content directly from my main gaming PC onto my smart TV via WiFi network sharing, sifting through the folders. It works okay, but its not ideal. What I liked about Kodi is the UI was much nicer, had a ton of filtering/sorting options, loading the folders via the TV is a slow process, and it means one less HDD in my gaming machine finally(!)...

    I've got a $100 PC lined up with an i3 3225, 4GB RAM and a HD 7470 GPU to get me started.

    Onto the questions:

    Q1: Does the dedicated GPU come into play at all when it comes to streaming movies or is it all handled by the CPU?

    Q2: I have a 4K TV but I don't play any 4K content yet, everything is either 1080 or 720P. If 4K support does factor in at a later date, will this hardware be enough to stream it?

    Q3: Is there any major reason to run Kodi via Linux instead of Windows? I don't know Linux, so I'd prefer to stick with Windows if there's no major downside.

    Q4: My friends Kodi setup is all wired. How well does Kodi handle content via WiFi? Anything to consider here with regards to WiFi?

    Q5: How can I control Kodi through my TV remote? My TV is a year-old Samsung 4K unit. I've been reading stuff about a CEC HDMI adapter to "inject" signals via HDMI, but also read about AnyNet+ ?

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    The only thing that differs is the live tv "backends", as far as I know. Do you want to use Kodi to watch and/or record tv? You can do it in either, you've just got different options in each. I use Kodi in windows, and it does everything I want. If I were you, I'd just start with what you are familiar with and consider changing down the track if you ever discover there's something you would need linux to do.

    I don't know that issues with wifi are down to Kodi, but down to the network and the power of the computer. I have read that there can be issues with playback over wifi, but I've not used it to say more than that.

    I'm not sure if/how you can do that, but you can control it fine with a universal remote (which I use). It just works.
     
  3. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    I can't answer most of the questions, but I can take a shot at number 2. Your CPU is one of the first lower end chips with HD4000 graphics, so in theory, you should be fine with 4K@60Hz. The chip can do it, the 7470 is not required.

    However, that is provided your mobo, which you haven't identified, also supports 4K@60Hz. Some mobo's only supported 1080P.

    I hope its an ITX board.. would be perfect in an Antek ISK-110 as a vesa mounted HTPC.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Shinanigans

    Shinanigans Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    Nah, sorry should have mentioned that. No plans on watching or recording free to air stuff.

    Any idea how? haha Maybe it just works through AnyNet+ for my case with the Samsung. I guess I'll find out sooner or later :D

    Its a little Dell Optiplex 3010 box, so it probably has some no-name brand board in it. Info is a little sketchy on the web about what parts they come with (due to regions) but I pick it up tonight, so I'll find out then!

    I've actually being eyeing out one of these for the future: http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=283

    Would look swish in the TV cabinet. Just going to do this as cheap as I can to get started and then if I end up using it and loving it, I'll go guns blazing. :thumbup:
     
  5. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    A universal will also "do" your tv if you can't figure out using your tv remote (does your tv remote have play and stop and all of that stuff on it?).

    Yes, just "suck it and see". If you get issues (eg with wireless), then deal with them. I've got a lot of "old" computers and they all play video fine, but I'm not doing High definition 4k whatever, and I'm not doing wireless.
     
  6. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Ok, having checked out your machine, your mobo only supports 1920 x 1600 @ 60Hz. If you are happy with that, you can dispense with the GPU, you'll get your 1080P from the CPU/board only.

    If not, then you could use the GPU, but honestly, its a terrible card. It has a max resolution of 2560 x 1600, so 1080P (1920x1080) will work on that too, but way short of 4K. Kinda pointless for your purposes. The bottom end GPUs like GT730 and down are also mostly 2560x1600, but for the $50 they cost they will at least offer better performance than the 7470.

    Consider buying the cheapest current low profile GPU you can find which supports 4K if you actually want 4K. I'd suggest that means an R7 250 or a GT1030, depending on your preference for Nvidia or Radeon, @ slightly over $100 new. If you can do without 4K, then just use the onboard graphics and get an easy 1080P.. you can always add a 4K GPU later :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  7. jakes

    jakes Member

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    for more of a clean sheet / ideal approach ... intel nuc7i5bnk .. samsung evo 960 ssd .. 8gb ram .. happy days

    baked in 4k support .. hevc/265 hardware support iirc .. grunty yet runs on almost no power / super quiet / super small
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Shinanigans

    Shinanigans Member

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    I considered going something compact like this but a major factor in this is to get one of the HDDs out of my gaming PC which is used solely for storing TV/movies. I'd prefer not to have to do a bunch of external drives with SATA cables going everywhere which I think I'd have to do if I went down this route.

    You raise a good point about power and noise though. Will have to see how much of a factor that becomes.

    Ah, good point! Didn't even think about max resolution on the GPU. Didn't think that was even still a factor to consider these days, but I suppose the card is 5 years old :lol: But yeah, I think I'm a few years off streaming 4k content regularly.
     
  9. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Looking into my crystal ball, your next thread will be "which NAS should I get"? ;):lol:
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Shinanigans

    Shinanigans Member

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    You're probably not wrong haha :lol:

    I wouldn't mind one that does all the raid setup with backup and all that shiz...
     
  11. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    They all have that stuff. Handed to you on a platter. Put your media files on it, connect it up and you're off and racing and can use a small unit for the player.
     
  12. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    My personal clean sheet approach would be an $80 G4560 on a $185 ASRock H270M-ITX board with 8GB of the cheapest DDR4 I could find( ~$90 ). The Asrock board has M.2 and wireless, + 6 SATA connectors and support for pretty much any kind of RAID you want, but the case I would choose can only handle a pair of 2.5" drives.

    Stick those, together with a $100 M.2 OS drive, and a pair of $100 2TB 2.5" drives (or $200 4TB 2.5" drives.. both 2TB and 4TB sourced from Seagate USB Expansion drives at Officeworks, JB, etc), into an $110 Antek ISK-110, VESA mounted to the back of the TV, and you have the perfect HTPC.

    However, I suspect getting the most out of what the OP already owns is the question, not sure that he is wanting to spend that much cash.

    As a HTPC, what he has, without the GPU, is ample for a 1080P HTPC I believe is the definitive answer to the original question.

    The GPU is no better than the CPU at all for stated purpose, so no point in even bothering with it.

    If he wants 4K, he needs a video card and the one he has is not up to the job, so he'll need to buy a slightly higher than bottom of the line GPU if he decides he needs 4K currently.

    OTOH, if he is happy with 1080P for now, its likely that the $50 bottom of the line cards in 6 months or so will be 4K too IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  13. srey

    srey Member

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    Yeap, going to a NAS was the thing that really made my media setup so much more manageable.

    I didn't have a need for integrating live TV into the media player, so for me it was just a toss up between an NUC and an Android based media player that could run Kodi and Netflix; ended up with a FireTV and with Kodi it's awesome.
     
  14. shmity

    shmity Member

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    I looked at my options not long ago. The HEVC hardware decoding is an important factor as is HDCP 2.2 compliance if you want to consider 4k Netflix etc in the future without any more drastic hardware upgrades. In the end my existing htpc wasn't going to cut it without a lot of changes so it's now serving files to an Android tv box running Kodi. It plays any source from bluray ISOs wirelessly (AP to AP admittedly) through to 4k HDR Netflix without an issue.

    My recommendation is to build a file server that will last you and get a low power media player.
     
  15. ipv6ready

    ipv6ready Member

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    I3 3225 good enough for 1080p, sell the gpu or give it away lol.

    Two sound issues will be CPU fan and psu fan.

    Chances are dell comes with 92mm noisy CPU fan and loutish psu.

    just changing it with quite fan will be better, a standard fan like noctua should fit.

    Also if the psu is noisy get a fanless one or one of those two speed silent mode one.

    Thank you will have a really quite machine.

    Plus look into a cheap universal remote from harmony (Logitech)
     
  16. jakes

    jakes Member

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    pretty much everyone should have a nas, or everyone on a forum such as this, at least

    as for the nuc approach vs other .. imo its pretty much a case of, do it once and have it sit in the background for several years and just work (and be practically invisible - they are tiny) .. vs .. continually having it almost where you want it, upgrading piecemeal and stuffing around with kludging various bits of an old machine to keep up with requirements

    needs must though. its certainly cheaper to build a handmedown solution
     
  17. GoneFishin22

    GoneFishin22 Member

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    I have a NUC and they are near silent - if we go away we just take it with us and have our Kodi available in the hotel/apartment room if they have free wifi.

    For controllers we just use a mouse and keyboard as the NUC has Win10 on it.

    You could consider a wireless mouse and keyboard but we have wireless mouse and wired keyboard and generally just use the mouse.

    Kodi for wireless streaming will only be as good as your wireless network potential - that is it can't improve upon your wireless network and it will be as good as your lowest unit in the network setup.

    Kodi used to have a Video Buffering issue which should not be confused with wireless/network buffering. This is due to the bog standard Kodi being configured for very small devices and cannot assess how much RAM and scale settings to your unit:
    http://kodi.wiki/view/Caches_explained


    http://kodi.wiki/view/HOW-TO:Modify_the_video_cache

    I run something like - but increase the RAM size even greater:

    Code:
    <advancedsettings>
      <cache>
        <buffermode>1</buffermode>
        <memorysize>139460608</memorysize>
        <readfactor>20</readfactor>
      </cache>
    </advancedsettings>
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  18. Dilbery

    Dilbery Member

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    Anynet+ is samsungs name for HDMI CEC. You'll need one of these

    https://www.pulse-eight.com/p/104/usb-hdmi-cec-adapter

    When I used to use a HTPC (Before I moved to more suitable devices) I used that adapter, worked fine in Windows with Kodi and plex. It also worked OOB with Plex home theatre and openelec.
     
  19. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    I just use my universal remote. My "amplifier-thing" has CEC and I can program my universal to turn things on in sequence. I've never needed anything else to make it work. :confused:
     
  20. andurils_sheath

    andurils_sheath Member

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    This, please just do this. Its 100% nicer using your factory TV remote to control your KODI box and you dont look like a toolbag ripping out some cheese remote when your mates come around for a movie. Also the simplicity of using the same remote is good for the other half if you have one.
     

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