DIY projects, HTPC owners know that from time to time the "yourself" part can be the most frustrating one when things don't work quite right. That's where our friend Chris finds himself on his current project, and he's looking for a way out:
"Last year, I built my latest generation of Windows Media Center HTPCs. They're quad-core beasts w/ SSD OS drives and 1 TB storage drives. 4 GB of RAM, Blu-ray drives, Windows 7, gyro-mouse remote -- the works. I've got 4 total tuners via 2 HD Homeruns connected to 3 separate attic/rooftop antennas. On paper, it all sounds like a dream. The reality is, Windows Media Center has been a nightmare to use and maintenance is a never-ending chore. Codecs, subtitles, driver issues, more codec issues, software glitches, more codec issues, problems with going to/waking up from sleep, poor performance even on these powerful quad-core machines, etc. etc.
Needless to say, I'm in the market for a replacement. Here is my small (and what I think is a very reasonable) checklist.
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- At least 2x ATSC tuner that works w/ OTA antennas. I know a lot of people are convinced they can get everything they need from the web, but when there is free HD video being broadcast, and plenty to watch on the dozen or so channels in my area, I feel like it is a very logical request to have my streamer/HTPC box include tuners.
- DLNA support. It has to be able to fetch/store metadata and cover art. It doesn't have to get carried away with cast/crew photos or anything..just basic cover art, description, runtime, rating, etc. would do.
- Netflix/Hulu Plus. These are an absolute must, but it'd be nice to do Youtube and a few other basic streaming services if possible.