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Buy/build a HTPC - recommendations?

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blitztorte

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Hello QQ. I am tired of needing to use this device/method to play mkv files and another device/method to play other formats.... I do have an OPPO BDP-203 but even that doesn't play everything so I am thinking about buying or building a small quiet HTPC for the living room that would play any MC media including ATMOS files/media as well as discs with full menus. My receiver is a Pioneer SC-95 and media is on a Synology NAS.

I would plan on running Foobar2000 on Win10 unless there are better alternatives.

Any shopping tips or feedback on hardware specs or a recommended platform? And is it feasible to end up with a high performance device with a $500 budget?

Thanks in advance if you could also share your HTPC experience and if it was worth doing in your case.
 
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minimumtumbleweed

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I suppose it depends what you want. It is definitely possible to build something for under $500. Small and quiet is a little more difficult to achieve. It mostly comes down to how you are cooling the PC, so a good quiet CPU cooler and quiet case fans might be worth it (I know that I've definitely put some time into making my PC as silent as possible). I would suggest using Pick parts. Build your PC. Compare and share. to pick out parts and make sure they are compatible. Generally, small HTPCs will have a mini-ITX form factor, which means you will need a compatible mini-ITX motherboard. If you don't want a discrete graphics card (i.e., not using it for games or anything graphics intensive) then make sure the CPU you choose has built-in graphics. Beyond, that, if you're just using it for media you don't need anything too powerful and expensive.
 

LuvMyQuad

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Hello QQ. I am tired of needing to use this device/method to play mkv files and another device/method to play other formats.... I do have an OPPO BDP-203 but even that doesn't play everything so I am thinking about buying or building a small quiet HTPC for the living room that would play any MC media including ATMOS files/media as well as discs with full menus. My receiver is a Pioneer SC-95 and media is on a Synology NAS.

I would plan on running Foobar2000 on Win10 unless there are better alternatives.

Any shopping tips or feedback on hardware specs or a recommended platform? And is it feasible to end up with a high performance device with a $500 budget?

Thanks in advance if you could also share your HTPC experience and if it was worth doing in your case.
I agree with the good doctors recommendation above. A few comments:

Beware that many of Garrys suggestions will be based on using Kodi with some Linux or Android variant for an operating system. Foobar wont run under Linux or Android.

AFAIK, the only ripped format that will play Atmos is MKV. With respect to playing full menus, my guess is MKV is the lone choice again, but I've read that menu operation is spotty and difficult.

As tumbleweed stated, the quiet part of building a HTPC is the hard part. There are fanless designs. I've had good luck with one of these
 

dr. simple

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I agree with the good doctors recommendation above. A few comments:

Beware that many of Garrys suggestions will be based on using Kodi with some Linux or Android variant for an operating system. Foobar wont run under Linux or Android.
True, but if Linux is beyond your scope (like it is beyond mine) you can always buy a Windows license like I did.
 

LuvMyQuad

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True, but if Linux is beyond your scope (like it is beyond mine) you can always buy a Windows license like I did.
Yes. Assuming you can load a version of Windows on the device. On some smallish devices, that means loading a full version of Windows onto a small internal SD card. In those situations, a Linux install is a better idea.
 

HomerJAU

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The thing is you don’t need to know anything about Linux. A NUC will boot straight to the UI.

It plays all the typical media off an external USB drive or off a network OC or BAS etc.

If you need to access anything on the NUC (customising logos etc) you do that from a PC or MAC over your network.

A NUC or similar small device is tiny and is virtually invisible in your HiFi rack.
 

winopener

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Hello QQ. I am tired of needing to use this device/method to play mkv files and another device/method to play other formats.... I do have an OPPO BDP-203 but even that doesn't play everything so I am thinking about buying or building a small quiet HTPC for the living room that would play any MC media including ATMOS files/media as well as discs with full menus. My receiver is a Pioneer SC-95 and media is on a Synology NAS.

I would plan on running Foobar2000 on Win10 unless there are better alternatives.
If i understand correctly, you want a 101% featured AUDIO mch player with some Video needs (menu).
What is the specific problem you have with the Oppo 203? Just to figure out what you need to improve your setup.
 

jimfisheye

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2011 or 2012 Mac Mini
Runs the newest OSX (and back to 10.6). Install Linux or Windows if you wish. (OSX runs the most software, ie everything. Windows is a PITA.)
This is the last of the Jobs era Macs. You can snipe these on Ebay for $200-ish (depending on ram and hard drive installed or not). New SSDs are cheap.
The 2011 & 12 machines are quad core i7. Over spec for a media server perhaps but more power for a low price is never bad.
These have 2x 2.5" drive bays. Up to 16GB ram. 2011 is USB2, 2012 is USB3. Both thunderbolt and HDMI. Fully serviceable. Last of the Macs that were real Macs.
Or there's a 2010 model with an optical drive bay and 1x 2.5" drive bay. Put a bluray drive in it. These are C2D CPUs. Last gen but plenty for a media server and still faster than the modern budget machines.
 

HomerJAU

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What is the specific problem you have with the Oppo 203?
To me the major benefit of most media players (running Kodi, JRiver etc) is near instantaneous access to any album, song or playlist. Oppo folder/file access is very slow and tedious if you have a large music collection.

Edit: Both Kodi and JRiver build an index, database of all your music and videos. No need to read the file system to show what you have. Sort, filter on artist, year, genre, number of channels etc.
 

Ninecats

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No problem playing foobar through Linux, on my laptop I use the Linux Mint distro and no problem using foobar via Snap on there.

But kodi via a media player beats any other solution imo.
 

LuvMyQuad

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To me the major benefit of most media players (running Kodi, JRiver etc) is near instantaneous access to any album, song or playlist. Oppo folder/file access is very slow and tedious if you have a large music collection.

Edit: Both Kodi and JRiver build an index, database of all your music and videos. No need to read the file system to show what you have. Sort, filter on artist, year, genre, number of channels etc.
Not to mention the animated lyrics and the artist slideshow... :LB
 

blitztorte

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What file formats do you have now? That may help narrow down the recommendation.
Thanks for everyone's comments. I have various mc media file formats including Flac, wav, dts, mkv, dsf, avi, m4v, mov, mp4, mts, vob with menus, m2ts with menus, iso, mch. My current system is ATMOS 5.1.4 with Pioneer SC-95 receiver.
 
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