Newbie Q: will MP be able (with plug-ins) to do everything I need?

Discussion in 'Newcomers Forum' started by pjm1, October 12, 2013.

  1. pjm1

    pjm1 New Member

    Joined:
    October 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    Home Country:
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    Hi, only joined today but have spent a lot of it reading through existing posts. Big caveat: I haven't yet demo'd MP, partly because I don't yet have the kit to properly do so. But, putting that to one, side the reason for wanting to move to MP is:

    1. I have pretty full Sky+ (HD, movies, world package and BT Sport) which I'd like to escape (the cost of this would justify spending a lot on a new rig, which would only really be used as a HTPC)
    2. My wife will want to use whatever we have so it has to be very user-friendly - e.g. remotes control is essential although we both use Samsung S3 phones (aMPdroid), iPads etc. and control through them would be good
    3. I'm a geek and like to tinker, so subject to satisfying fully #2, I'd love to have more flexibility
    4. We currently have a fairly old set-up: DVD, CD, Sky+, and a very nice (but old-tech) HD-ready 1280x720 Panasonic plasma, Yamaha 5.1 DSP-A2 so this is an opportunity to change slightly, rip all of our CDs, DVDs to HDD and upgrade to Bluray at the same time - and replace 3 boxes with one (larger one)
    5. UPSCALING! As mentioned, most of our content is SD... I'm not expecting miracles, but it'd be nice to get better quality pictures from everything we have so far. I love the Panasonic TV - lovely picture which obviously doesn't need quite as much hardcore upscaling as a Full HD set, but it'd be good to get better images from non HD sources. Is there any way to get madVR working on MP?

    But, concerns when moving:

    1. I can do a limited test with my laptop by buying a USB DVB-S to see if we like MP, but that obviously requires me to spend £60-70 on a tuner box which will be wasted if I decide not to go for it
    2. My wife finds Sky easy to use - a change will be ok as long as it's reliable and straightforward (for the viewer)
    3. We will lose some Sky channels, which is a pain, but spending £70+/month is a fair bit! Not being able to get BT Sport through satellite is probably the biggest bugbear (for me, at least)
    4. I don't want to spend £1000-odd on a HTPC setup either for it to be wasted because I end up moving back or it needs substantial upgrading because I've got the wrong kit...
    5. Sky Movies will be lost to be replaced by a subscription to (UK services of) Netflix, Amazon or similar. I need this to integrate seamlessly - FOR THE UK VERSION - which is one reason for not choosing JRiver (which can't seem to do that).

    In terms of kit, I'm thinking something along the lines of:



    Silverstone Grandia GD07 Home Theatre Server Case - Black (SST-GD07B USB 3.0) - The GD08 is tempting as well, but not sure I need the extra space
    Samsung 120GB SSD 840 EVO SATA 6Gb/s Basic - (MZ-7TE120BW) - I know the PRO is better, but it is a bit more... this bit of kit could be deferred entirely till later but then I would lose fast start-up which may impact useability (esp for wife)?
    Toshiba (7K3000.D) 3TB SATA 6GB/s 64MB Cache - OEM (DT01ACA300) HDD - thinking about this more, I'm guessing a slower spinning drive (WD Caviar Red) might be better? Do I need to shy away from >2TB drives?
    "Recon RX4" AMD FX-4 4130 Black 3.8GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) Quad Core Value Gaming Bundle - Quad Core AMD Bulldozer FX-4 4100 3.80GHz (3.9GHz Turbo), Asrock 970 Extreme3 R2.0 DDR3 Motherboard, TeamGroup Elite 8GB 1600MHz... does this provide any remotely competent onboard GPU for decent upscaling? Bear in mind the upscaling improvements are one key driver for this move, although I only currently need to upscale SD content to HD-ready
    MSI HD 7770 GHz Edition 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card - First thoughts are this should be added later, subject to the above point (and getting madVR to work?)
    Antec Neo Eco C 450w Modular '80 Plus Bronze' Power Supply - should be enough
    Pioneer BDC-207DBK 8x BluRay ROM / DVDRW SATA-II Optical Drive - Black (OEM) - don't think I need BR writing
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-Bit - OEM (GFC-02050) - have Win8 on my laptop and don't like it... also have seen some issues reported
    And a couple of DVB-S TV cards (well, one card and the "test" USB box already purchased)

    Total cost including software is approx £900. Seems like quite a bit so maybe I've gone overkill on some things. Can obviously shave £150 by dropping/deferring the GPU and SSD. Then again, I could easily up the cost of the HDD by £40 by replacing a 3TB with 2x2TBs as I know I'll end up needing more space. Haven't really thought about RAID options on the HDD(s) yet... I'd obviously rather get 4x drives and do a proper RAID 5 setup.

    We would mainly be watching broadcast TV - and a fair bit of that pre-recorded/time-shifted - netflix/other movie downloads and working our way through our DVD library again (and ripping them at the same time, obviously). We'll also use it a fair bit for music - both CD (which would also be ripped, lossless) and internet radio. Finally, I'll be using the BT Sport app to watch the rugby when it's on - shame I won't be able to record it though. I take it there isn't a UK-subscription movie service that allows you to download and store the films, rather than stream? Our internet connection is 4Mb on good days but can be pretty temperamental and sometimes drops way down.

    Final point: I'm a big fan of DTS (not much content) and DD5.1 - the most my amp can push out. I'm assuming MP will be able to dump the audio stream out through SPDIF/optical to my amp... and DVB-S2 offers DD5.1 on some broadcasts? DVD and BR rips will, of course, be in full 5.1 or better. I'm quite picky about good surround on movies etc. Also, are there still EPG problems in the UK with DVB-S? This is an absolute must-have and must be reliable for the missus!

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. CypherMK
    • Team MediaPortal

    CypherMK Test Group

    Joined:
    March 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,735
    Likes Received:
    297
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +617 / 3
    Home Country:
    Netherlands Netherlands
    Show System Specs
    Hi,

    As a CPU and GPU you could also consider a AMD A4, A6, A8 or A10. Depending on your needs of course. A6 should be enough.
     
  4. JimCatMP
    • Team MediaPortal

    JimCatMP Documentation Group

    Joined:
    April 1, 2010
    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leeds
    Ratings:
    +282 / 1
    Home Country:
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    Show System Specs
    Had similar reason to move to MePo 100% couple of years back - never regretted it.
    You can do everything you need to via remote, but as you say, aMPDroid is also on hand [not used it - until the phone is smarter than me it's not a smart phone - expecting one for Christmas then:(
    You have it and more, what got me hooked was personalization I could do.
    madVR - no idea, sorry, but I use range of SD content on 1920x1080 display using pure native LAV filters and Intel graphics with NO problems and full screen.
    My Living room system [no HD] relies on USB stick, basic k-World unit giving dual channel Free View, so you start cheap and expand.
    It is!
    There are a whole range of systems you can use, from my [low end, recycled chassis, slightly naff woodworking skin] <https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/threads/scratch-build.120107/> to the truly magnificent system Marcus built, see <https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/threads/my-aluminium-case.117909/>.

    Take a tour around the hardware forums, may help you settle on hardware - but SSD is a MUST:)
    My NAS now sits on powerline [200M] adaptor [needed to clear space below TV] so drive speed it not issue - go green:)

    Re services, can't comment, sorry, external amp [I have internal one] & SPID-F, yes, search forums, it's not uncommon. EPG with DVB-S - seem to recall some problems in forum [I use DVB-T, so apart from when the change frequencies, it's 100% solid] but not seen anything lately.

    To sum up, out of the box - MePo will give you 80%+ of what you want, add in plugins [MovingPictures & MPTVSeries absolute must for my money] + support from streaming services and your almost there - add some tinkering and you'll have more than Sky could provide [other than the content]:rolleyes:

    And problems, if you hit any, there are lots of people reading and supporting the forums(y)

    TTFN - JCMP.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. pjm1

    pjm1 New Member

    Joined:
    October 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    Home Country:
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    CypherMK, thanks for the suggestion. In fact, I've gone one better and got my hands on a second-hand (but VGC) ASUS M5A78L/USB3 Motherboard + Phenom ii X4 850 CPU. The only downside is it doesn't have onboard GPU but I have a 2-year-old card which will do as a stop gap. Best of all, it was £60 and spits out much better performance than the bulldozer let alone the A6. I'll need to get my hands on some RAM, might go for 4GB at first as long as it's 2x2GB as I have 4 slots so can add a couple of sticks of 4GB or even 8GB if I need more.

    JimCatMP - thanks for the VERY comprehensive response! That's one of the things I love about these sorts of systems and communities... the online support from "real" people (no call centres!) Imagine getting similar help at Sky ;)

    I just need to buy the aforementioned RAM (£20 or so), an SSD (£80) and a PCI tuner card and the OS and I'll be good to go as a starter... I have the rest I can cobble together (ridiculous tower case, 1TB NAS which is currently used for backup). I'll be able to get it all up & running for less than £250 I reckon. From there I can then upgrade the case, buy a stack of proper SATA drives (when the 1TB looks a bit tight) and also upgrade the GPU to something which will do CUDA (or Radeon equivalent whose name I've forgotten).
     
    Last edited: October 13, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  6. JimCatMP
    • Team MediaPortal

    JimCatMP Documentation Group

    Joined:
    April 1, 2010
    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leeds
    Ratings:
    +282 / 1
    Home Country:
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    Show System Specs
    On behalf of the MePo bods in general - welcome:)

    Cheers - JCMP.
     
  7. kiwijunglist
    • Team MediaPortal

    kiwijunglist Super Moderator

    Joined:
    June 10, 2008
    Messages:
    6,742
    Likes Received:
    1,417
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Ratings:
    +1,846 / 9
    Home Country:
    New Zealand New Zealand
    Show System Specs
    A couple of points

    GD07 - I have this case it is really nice. The fans are slightly loud at full speed but if speed is reduced they are great.

    madVR - Mediaportal can not be used with madVR, but we have other tricks instead.

    HD7770 - You could save money and get an HD7750

    Onboard GPUs are now located in the CPU not the motherboard. There is no need to buy an overclocking enthusiast 'pro' style motherboard for an HTPC.

    You don't need expensive HDDs for media, you can use WD Green drives.

    SSD for OS is good. Green drive for OS is bad. Standard fullspeed HDD is fine.

    Extra ram for timeshifting is recommended. eg. 8+ gb total.

    There is more information in the MP Wiki
     
    Last edited: October 14, 2013
  8. pjm1

    pjm1 New Member

    Joined:
    October 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    Home Country:
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    Thanks everyone... I'm making some progress but struggling to get autoripping & autoplaying to do precisely what I want. On CD insertion, I'd like autorip (which works) but then autoplay as soon as the ripping will allow it (probably after the first track has been ripped). On DVDs, I'd like to be able to choose rip or play on insertion.

    Not sure if this is possible though? I'm ripping CDs to FLAC and DVDs to... erm, haven't really decided yet?
     
  9. octessence

    octessence Portal Pro

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Software - Spacecraft Ground Segment Systems
    Location:
    Germany
    Ratings:
    +11 / 1
    Home Country:
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    Show System Specs
    From your initial list, the only thing really missing is full Netflix integration. A PS3 style interface would be amazing but there isn't anything that works that well.

    My personal experience is that it can take a lot of tinkering to get everything running as perfectly as a Sky+ box but it is achievable with some effort. Some people will probably say this isn't the case but for me the wife acceptance bar is set extremely high. Any unexpected behaviour whatsoever did not go down well. Mostly it was things like resolving slow tuning issues (fix: MS security essentials ignore tvservice.exe), wake/sleep issues (fix: disable deep sleep in BIOS), remote control mapping and Logitech Harmony setup etc (fix: ditch iMON receiver). Granted, none of the issues were MP's fault but they were problems nonetheless.

    If there is one single piece of advise I can give it is make sure you get a fully compatible ehome MCE remote. I spend a huge amount of time getting my iMON remote working and it never got it working flawlessly for various reasons. In the end I got a cheap MCE USB dongle and most of my issues disappeared.

    The greatest challenge of all is to stop tinkering and leave it alone once everything is sorted out. Me leaving the HTPC in a weird state too often when tinkering did not help getting the system accepted.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. kiwijunglist
    • Team MediaPortal

    kiwijunglist Super Moderator

    Joined:
    June 10, 2008
    Messages:
    6,742
    Likes Received:
    1,417
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Ratings:
    +1,846 / 9
    Home Country:
    New Zealand New Zealand
    Show System Specs
    There is a netflix plugin that was recently developed, and I believe it is in working condition.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  11. pjm1

    pjm1 New Member

    Joined:
    October 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    Home Country:
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    octessence, that is a really helpful reply chock full of good advice - it sounds like we're in very similar situations... I know I'll find it hard to stop tinkering, but thank you for telling me what I will inevitably find out the hard way!!

    I now have about 1/2 of the kit I need (not quite the list above, mind) and it's only cost me £110 so far... although SSD, Bluray and RAM still to get (secured: mobo, CPU, OS, el cheapo graphics card, CPU cooler, temporary server case and a salvaged 450W PSU which might need replacing). Have decided to go "cheap" on a number of components: mobo + CPU I went for a slightly older Phenom quad-core setup (which doesn't have integrated GFX) for £60, server case was one I had lying around which I had forgotten about, ditto PSU. The graphics card I managed to get is a stop-gap but was too good a deal to miss: a second hand GeForce 7200 for 25p (!! yes, although plus P&P) on Ebay. I reckon I should be able to finish it all off for less than £250 in total... I will, I'm sure, end up upgrading the GFX, getting a new case, increasing the RAM (I'd like to get as close to 32GB at some point so I can set up a RAM disk, so a pair of 8GB sticks will be acquired at some point) and eventually I'll look to get a decent RAID setup for storage (5x 2TB RAID 5 would be my target). But, for £250 all in (inc OS), it's not a bad start.
     
Loading...

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
  • About The Project

    The vision of the MediaPortal project is to create a free open source media centre application, which supports all advanced media centre functions, and is accessible to all Windows users.

    In reaching this goal we are working every day to make sure our software is one of the best.

             

  • Support MediaPortal!

    The team works very hard to make sure the community is running the best HTPC-software. We give away MediaPortal for free but hosting and software is not for us.

    Care to support our work with a few bucks? We'd really appreciate it!