Instructables

Best home theatre software/set-up?

I am thinking about setting up my own home theatre pc system and was wondering what the best set-up was. what is the best software (preferably cheap, ideally free) something that can play most popular video formats (avi, mp4, mov, etc.) and that can be controlled remotely (iPod, phone). I was also wondering what the best hardware was, computer, cables, TV  speakers and such. Help will be much appreciated thank you. 

quickie8172 years ago
Try XBMC. Its free and one of the most awesome media center software. It gives you a really nice interface for selecting and viewing your media and there are many skins available for you to choose from to customize the way your interface looks. My wife LOVES XBMC and couldn't live without it now that she has been exposed to it.

It is available for Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS, Unbuntu. You can also install it on your iOS or Andriod and control it through your pad or phone. I've been using it for a while and love it.

XBMC also has an add-on that lets you recreate the movie theater experience. For example, you can set up XBMC to play trivia, theater intros, feature presentation intro and stream new trailers before your movie starts. Its an add-on called Cinema Experience.

XBMC so far has played every file format I threw at it. It also plays music and views pictures. You can even check the local weather and read RSS feeds with it. THere's just so much to explore with XBMC.

I have a 3.00ghz core 2 duo, 8gig ram and a gtx420 video card. If you have a decent computer then XBMC will work fine for you. When I had only 1.8ghz processor I was still able to run XBMC.

If you dont want to built an HTPC then you can buy an apple tv and install XBMC on it. Give it a try. I'm sure you will really like it. Best of all, its free. XBMC.org
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monkeys98 (author)  quickie8172 years ago
yes a friend mentioned this and I completely forgot about it but you make it sound amazing thank you. I will probably get a cheap laptop off the web and use it as a dedicated htpc
Any windows PC with HDMI output on the video card will have everything you need. Win 7 comes with media center on it and will everything you want. Get the Mobile Mouse app for your iPhone and your all set. Any TV with HDMI out will work great and you can take your pick of sound systems you want to use.
monkeys98 (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
the problem with windows media centre is that it is very limited in its supported video formats. most of my video collection is made up of mp4 files because I use them on my iPod also
Media center is able to play MP4 files. You just have to add the files location to the media center library. Here is how you do it.
http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/01/adding-mp4-files-to-movie-library_22.html

oldmicah2 years ago
Haven't tried it, but there is an active hacking community for the appletv. It's definitely on the lighter weight end of the scale, but its $99, small, and sips electricity.