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View Full Version : Computers Internet TV, hulu.com, et al


modocsot
06-08-2009, 07:51 AM
Has anyone here tried watching internet TV on a Home Theater PC?

I'm considering buying a slim desktop PC to use as a HTPC, and canceling my DirecTV. The cost saved from canceling DirecTV would pay for the HTPC within several months. It looks like there's a lot of TV shows now available on the internet.

If anyone's tried this, or can think of potential downsides to the idea, I'd like to hear. Thanks!

mikeyis4dcats.
06-08-2009, 08:00 AM
if you have no technical knowledge, an HTPC is not for you. They require constant maintenance and are not a plug & play solution.

By the way, you don't need an HTPC to do this, you can watch Hulu on a Roku or PS3 (with $30 software).

No one can say if this will work for you....we don't know your taste in tv nor your viewing habits. Many shows are not on Hulu or other sites, and often those that are are only for a limited time or only available after a certain amount of time.

Saulbadguy
06-08-2009, 08:36 AM
Downsides - if you are looking forward to your favorite show being on, you won't get to see the show until the next day because they upload it the day after it airs. Quality isn't as good. Selection isn't as good. etc.

modocsot
06-08-2009, 10:29 AM
if you have no technical knowledge, an HTPC is not for you. They require constant maintenance and are not a plug & play solution.

By the way, you don't need an HTPC to do this, you can watch Hulu on a Roku or PS3 (with $30 software).

No one can say if this will work for you....we don't know your taste in tv nor your viewing habits. Many shows are not on Hulu or other sites, and often those that are are only for a limited time or only available after a certain amount of time.

Regarding constant maintenance, are you referring to maintenance related to a regular computer?

We only watch a few shows, all on major networks. Can probably catch those OTA.

I thought of the idea for an HTPC when I surfed hulu.com, and wondered if it'd look good on our 47" LCD in the home theater.

DaFace
06-08-2009, 10:33 AM
if you have no technical knowledge, an HTPC is not for you. They require constant maintenance and are not a plug & play solution.

By the way, you don't need an HTPC to do this, you can watch Hulu on a Roku or PS3 (with $30 software).

No one can say if this will work for you....we don't know your taste in tv nor your viewing habits. Many shows are not on Hulu or other sites, and often those that are are only for a limited time or only available after a certain amount of time.

I'm not sure I agree with that. If you're not using it as a DVR, it's just a computer that happens to use your TV as a monitor. Once you have it set up, it's just like any other computer in terms of software and usage.

As for the question, Netflix looks great. YouTube is watchable. I notice Hulu skipping a lot more on my big screen than I do when just watching it on my laptop. But it's still more than watchable.

mikeyis4dcats.
06-08-2009, 11:06 AM
I'm not sure I agree with that. If you're not using it as a DVR, it's just a computer that happens to use your TV as a monitor. Once you have it set up, it's just like any other computer in terms of software and usage.

As for the question, Netflix looks great. YouTube is watchable. I notice Hulu skipping a lot more on my big screen than I do when just watching it on my laptop. But it's still more than watchable.

unless things have improved drastically, the near constract tweaking and upgrading of codecs and plug ins, format compatibilities, and maintenance of programming guides, etc. requires more work than the average PC. Not saying it can't be done, but for those expecting to buy a box, stick it in a cabinet and forget it will be disappointed. Oh, and I can't imagine having an HTPC that is not capable of recording and displaying OTA content, but that's just me.

And if he means to build the HTPC himself, he definitely needs GOOD technical knowledge.

modocsot
06-08-2009, 11:21 AM
unless things have improved drastically, the near constract tweaking and upgrading of codecs and plug ins, format compatibilities, and maintenance of programming guides, etc. requires more work than the average PC. Not saying it can't be done, but for those expecting to buy a box, stick it in a cabinet and forget it will be disappointed. Oh, and I can't imagine having an HTPC that is not capable of recording and displaying OTA content, but that's just me.

And if he means to build the HTPC himself, he definitely needs GOOD technical knowledge.

No, was just looking at a Dell Inspiron 530s:
http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspndt_530s?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

I actually didn't think about recording anything OTA; but now that you mention it, it sounds like a good idea.

Deberg_1990
06-08-2009, 11:34 AM
If all you do is watch network TV and dont record programs, id say its an excellent idea to save some money.

Stewie
06-08-2009, 12:19 PM
Hulu and Joost plus OTA reception are about all you need. Screw cable and satellite. Granted, the pic quality isn't perfect, but it's good enough. I've noticed some shows are perfect and some choppy. Barney Miller is one of my favorite old shows and it's choppy when there's much movement. It's a little annoying, but not so bad as to quit watching. I don't know if they've reduced the frames per second or what, but it's consistent in its choppiness.

Guru
06-08-2009, 12:27 PM
Hulu and Joost plus OTA reception are about all you need. Screw cable and satellite. Granted, the pic quality isn't perfect, but it's good enough. I've noticed some shows are perfect and some choppy. Barney Miller is one of my favorite old shows and it's choppy when there's much movement. It's a little annoying, but not so bad as to quit watching. I don't know if they've reduced the frames per second or what, but it's consistent in its choppiness.all I have noticed from Joost is music videos.

Stewie
06-08-2009, 12:31 PM
all I have noticed from Joost is music videos.

Click on the "Shows" or "Film" links at the top of the Joost homepage and you'll see quite a number of TV shows and movies available.

Guru
06-08-2009, 02:22 PM
Click on the "Shows" or "Film" links at the top of the Joost homepage and you'll see quite a number of TV shows and movies available.I have it on the iPod touch but it seems like every time I try to find anything it is always movie clips and not actual movies.

modocsot
06-09-2009, 07:54 AM
Thanks for all the input. I'm going to purchase a Dell 530s with a TV tuner so that I have the option of recording OTA HDTV.

mikeyis4dcats.
06-09-2009, 08:41 AM
Thanks for all the input. I'm going to purchase a Dell 530s with a TV tuner so that I have the option of recording OTA HDTV.

just curious, how did you choose a530s for your HTPC?

modocsot
06-09-2009, 08:51 AM
just curious, how did you choose a530s for your HTPC?

Its compact size, allowing it to be stored on its side was a big factor; allowing it blend in with the rest of the HT components. I also read reviews that it's fairly quiet. Also, Dell's customization such as the addition of an HDMI video card and/or HDTV tuner. Most importantly, price. After 15% coupon code, I'm getting the specs I chose for $510.

Why, do you suggest an alternative?

mikeyis4dcats.
06-09-2009, 09:45 AM
Its compact size, allowing it to be stored on its side was a big factor; allowing it blend in with the rest of the HT components. I also read reviews that it's fairly quiet. Also, Dell's customization such as the addition of an HDMI video card and/or HDTV tuner. Most importantly, price. After 15% coupon code, I'm getting the specs I chose for $510.

Why, do you suggest an alternative?

no, I don't really have time to review it in detail, but at first glance it appears to be set up for a low-end media desktop. Make sure the harddrive and video and audio cards are robust enough for HTPC use. Desktop harddrives are not meant for the fast and constant access of DVR and HTPC use, they will fail much faster in those applications.

modocsot
06-09-2009, 10:14 AM
Desktop harddrives are not meant for the fast and constant access of DVR and HTPC use, they will fail much faster in those applications.

Hmmmm.... did not know that.