It’s true, I have let this site fall to the wayside. The truth is, I just don’t have the time to put into the site anymore, and I’ve lost a lot of interest in HTPCs altogether. Home theater PCs will be around for some time to come, but I do believe they are also quickly becoming a dying breed.
Over the past few months I’ve seen myself replace my bedroom HTPC with a Roku. Yep, I had just had enough in fighting with dropped audio issues that results in improper EDID handshakes when starting everything up. My bedroom setup was always my most reliable. When it stopped working right, I had finally had enough. The Roku MB3 client (I use official release) had been working in my daughter’s room for quite a while without many issues. I have absolutely no regrets in moving to it in my bedroom after nearly 2 months of heavy use now.
I get direct play on just about all of my new MKV HD movies. Those with subs are also not transcoded. For the ones that are transcoded, I’m not unhappy with the quality. They were all mostly sketchy quality to begin with (older AVI files and whatnot).
The Roku interface isn’t the greatest in the world, but it’s also not all that bad. I was trying to hold out for the Android client’s 10ft interface release, but it’s just taking too long (no offense, Red). I’m sure I’ll go for a Fire TV or something at some point once it’s finally released. As for right now, I just want something that works well and the Roku is doing that for me. My living room HTPC will be the next one to get replaced.
This morning I was able to get Live TV working. I haven’t tried it on the Roku yet, but I received many more channels than I expected via the web client. Channels like IDHD, ESPNHD, H2HD, TruTVHD, DiscoveryHD, etc. were all cable channels I didn’t expect to work…but they did. I don’t have HBO or anything, so I can safely assume all the higher HD channels I watch are good to go in Live TV. That was the final nail-in-the-coffin for my HTPCs. I no longer need Windows Media Center hooked up to all my TVs to watch cable. The quality, of course, is not quite as good since it is transcoded, but it’s good enough. I’m going to stick my unused bedroom HTPC in the basement this week and configure it as a ServerWMC server for guide info.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at in the HTPC world. I’ve simply found that, for me, simpler means better.