Home > Podcast > AV Rant #317: Live from New York!

AV Rant #317: Live from New York!

December 20th, 2012

Ok, not quite live. But the good news is for this week and next, Liz and Rob are on the same continent for easy podcasting. Tom is off exploring the world, so Rob steps in once again. This we we talk about television news. Nielson will be partnering with Twitter to get show metrics. Liz is excited, Rob not so much. The FCC CALM Act comes into effect this week (but cable companies who can demonstrate hardship still have a year to comply). Rob is pumped, Liz reminds you that your volume button and your dynamic range features may still get some use. The BBC Red Button now comes via the internet on your Tivo, rather than embedded in the show. Liz is going to check it out when she gets back to London. Rob saw The Hobbit in the theatres: his take on 48fps, and coverage of the furor around the Dark Knight Rises Blu-Ray aspect ratio inside. Let us know your thoughts if you’ve seen either! Rob answers a listener question about DIY HTPCs and your set-top box options. A list of the products mentioned is below the jump.   Thanks for listening. Check out our Facebook Page. Click here for our YouTube channel where you can see the recordings of our show videos. Download Tom’s FREE superhero-themed ebook Bob Moore: No Hero wherever ebooks are sold (or given away in this case). Visit Tom's website for download links as well as links for the two full-length followups -  Bob Moore: Desperate Times and Bob Moore: Hostile Territory. Check out AVGadgets.com where Tom is the new Editor-in-Chief! Download Tom's NEWEST book, Touch of Pain from Amazon now!

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Products that I will likely mention when talking about PC audio and HTPC vs. Network Players:
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  1. Henry
    December 26th, 2012 at 21:10 | #1

    Hi Rob,

    Great discussion on home-brewed media serving solutions. Breaking it down into three functional requirements of “Ripping-Storing-Playback” really helps to organize and segregate the necessary tasks.

    Henry

  2. Rob H.
    December 27th, 2012 at 07:42 | #2

    Hi, Henry!

    So glad to hear you enjoyed the episode. Hopefully we addressed your question a bit, at least 🙂 It’s a tricky subject. Lots to consider. But I think it becomes clear that, unless the only thing you want to do is stream, you pretty much need to have a computer at some point in the process. The computer doesn’t necessarily need to be your playback device, but certainly for ripping discs, it’s necessary, and for setting up other parts of the system, it’s often necessary, or at least it’s easier. For example, setting up a NAS requires a computer. Once it’s set up, the NAS can run on its own. But for the initial setup, you need the computer. And even if you’re downloading rather than ripping discs, most NAS servers, and certainly the DuneHD or Popcorn Hour can act as your BitTorrent client, but finding the correct feeds first is much easier with a computer.

    So, like I said in the podcast, many folks already have a computer, or they have already accumulated a whole bunch of content, but they can’t or don’t want to connect that existing computer to their home theater. They just want a device that can play back ALL of the files that they already have, and provide metadata (cover art and descriptions) and a nice TV interface. That’s the scenario where a DuneHD or Popcorn Hour makes the most sense. And if you want pre-loaded apps for streaming services, then the Boxee Box really makes sense, too.

    But if you don’t already have that computer for ripping and acquiring other content, then an HTPC makes more sense, by far. And the HTPC might simply also be the better playback device, depending in your situation. The other players do a pretty good job of supporting ISO files, MKV files, and lossless HD Audio pass through now, but 3D support is still a bit spotty. And, like I mentioned on the podcast, for use as a Cable or FIOS CableCard DVR, an HTPC is really your only choice!

    The interface you use on the HTPC is up to you. Windows Media Center, Plex, XBMC, etc. Lots of choices. So it’s not cut and dry. But I hope that makes sense 🙂

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