I did what?

By | August 11, 2014

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.

7 thoughts on “I did what?

    1. Jon Post author

      Yes. You will need the MB3 plugin for Roku, which includes Live TV support. The Live TV plugin will need to be installed on the MB3 Server. Finally, you will need at least one Media Center system configured fully for Live TV playback so that guide info and tuning is possible. This is the system the MB3 Server will be configured to connect with. They can be the same system.

      Media Center w/TV setup -> MB3 Server -> Live TV

      1. Branson

        Just a few things:
        1. Let us know how the Roku handles the Live TV.
        2. What other than premium channels didn’t work?
        3. What Android interface?

  1. ym

    ouch the roku. My folks use the Roku. not great in terms of running a media server but cool if you just want to watch netflix. Running an HTPC has never been easier, sounds like the ‘dying breed’ might be at your house (which is fine, just inaccurate). there are lots of people that need a real processor. You could rename the blog to ‘slownsteady’

    1. Jon Post author

      I run a media server and have for nearly 10 years. 6000 movies and nearly 30000 TV episodes. The Roku plays everything my HTPCs did. Yes, even the 1080p content. Live TV from my HDHomeRun Prime as well.

      I get artwork with my titles, subtitles, and direct play on pretty much everything but old AVI files, which look like garbage on everything.

      I just added the Android TV also, which will take the place of the Rokus as it is definitely more powerful in terms of what it can do.

      Running an HTPC hasn’t gotten easier…it hasn’t changed a bit. I’m a parent of 4 kids that do not find an HTPC “easy”. It was easy when it was just me and I had time to waste.

      You are right though, it’s not a dying breed. It’s a niche, just like it always has been. Never mainstream and never will be. I still have two HTPCs in my home and they’ve served pretty well over the past few years, but I’m not going to miss them.

      I’d say slownsteady describes you adaptation to current technology more than the Roku.

      1. Branson

        How is the Android TV handling everything? Does Live TV work as well as it does on the Rokus? Does Media Browser crash for you as much as it does on my phone, it’s basically unusable ?

        1. Jon Post author

          I’ve not had much luck with it and it’s nowhere near taking over my Roku. The alpha of MB3 client I’m using works, but playback is another story. I don’t think that’s the fault of MB3 though – other media platforms, like Plex, also have issues with it. Live TV has a guide and some channels work, but it’s also got a way to go. I have high hopes Android TV will get better, but it’s pretty worthless to me right now.


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