HTPC

Apr 17 2014

News - Microsoft Releases New Wireless Keyboard for Couch Users

Microsoft is releasing a new All-in-One Media Keyboard (N9Z-00001) for people that want to use their computers from the couch. It has a built in touch pad and a 30 foot range. They are calling it a media keyboard, it doesn't look like it is full size, but it would be a great option for all of the HTPC users. Check it out and let us know what you think. Looks like it will be out in a few weeks based off Amazon listing. MSRP $39.95 and this Keyboard will work with Smart TV's and Game Consoles too.

 

The All-in-One Media Keyboard is the perfect device for your living room or home office. It has a full-size keyset and an integrated multi-touch trackpad – type, swipe, drag, zoom, and click with ease. It has customizable media hotkeys that put the web and your favorite music, photos, and movies at your fingertips. The keyboard also has a durable design, so there's no need to sweat the bumps, drops, or spills of everyday life. The All-in-One Media Keyboard is all you need for comfortable typing and effortless navigation.

Microsoft Site

Mar 13 2014

News - Plex New Update includes Chromecast for All

Plex has released an update to the mobile apps today for Android and iOS devices. They hadve added Chromecast to both platforms and you no longer have to be a Plex Pass member to reapPlex Logo the benefits. We are going to be talking about Chromecast this week on the podcast, recorded Live every Sunday evening. We are excited to finally see this option out to the masses, Missing Remote checked it out at CES and it had a ton of potential. They have also releasing Music shuffle and Camera upload from your mobile device to your server to view your pictures on your Plex devices and listen to your music anywhere. Check out the update in the App stores and come back and let us know what you think. Check out the link to the post below.

 

Mar 07 2014

News - XBMC v13.0 "Gotham" Beta Now Available

XBMC Gotham Beta

It has been more than a year in the making, but the first public beta for XBMC v13.0, codenamed "Gotham", is now available. The new version of XBMC brings a host of updates and changes. The development team is promising major updates to the Audio Engine that was introduced in v12.0, as well as a revamped settings page with more granular options for advanced users. The new version should also offer better performance for Android and Raspberry Pi users, as well as better support for 3D movies. The usual beta software caveats do apply and many of add-on developers are still working to add support, but if you have been itching to play with something new, this might a be good time to hop in and see where XBMC is headed this year.

Yet More Features

  • Update to FFMPEG v1.2 which we use for audio/video playback
  • Stereo audio can now be upmixed to 5.1 and sent through optical/SPDIF devices
  • Various visual changes throughout the skin which should improve usability and logic.
  • Improve the handling of subtitle downloading and selection
  • Extend and improve the User-interface Engine which developers use to create a variety of skins to be used.

XBMC Blog

Jan 13 2014

News - Zotac @ CES 2014

Zotac made a name for itself with small form factor (SFF) PCs, many of which were great for HTPC use. With competition in the SFF HTPC, and gaming, market heating up we stopped by their booth in the back of South Hall for a look at what they were bringing out this year.

Jan 13 2014

News - Gigabyte @ CES 2014

Gigabyte was focused mainly at the PC high-end, but there were a few tidbits for HTPC enthusiasts as well. The BRIX was probably the most interesting thing in the bunch though with several different options either just out, or coming soon.

Dec 28 2013

News - ASUS Q87T Thin-ITX Has Custom Solutions Header (aka HTPC_HEADER)

ASUS Q87T

I've been in a bit of a motherboard funk ever since Intel announced that they were leaving the business. While other OEMs make solid kit, none have embraced the the HTPC niche in the same way that Intel has. It looks like that may be changing though, because it looks like ASUS may have picked up the mantle with their new Q87T Haswell Thin-ITX which includes a Custom Solutions Header (HTPC_HEADER) that will work with Pulse-Eight's internal CEC adapter. Internal CIR is sadly missing, but at least that's easy to fix. Well done ASUS.

Nov 18 2013

News - Media Browser Theater Goes Alpha

Normally I wouldn't get to excited about a new player app, but with the just announced alpha of Media Browser Theater claiming support for madVR, lav Filters and Reclock there is a lot of potential to marry a slick media browsing UI with the consumption chops to back it up.

I haven't had a chance to look at the code, or play with it, but it certainly looks interesting and is work a follow over at Doom9.

For Media Browser Theater, the video player is direct-show based and supports LAV Filters, XyVsFilter, Reclock, Madvr & XySubFilter.

There's a long way to go but so far it's been fairly well received. I'm here in hopes of recruiting any potential developers who might have interest in joining the team and helping out.

Doom9

 

Feb 20 2013

News - madVR v0.86.0 Frees HTPC Users from 3:2 Pulldown Judder

Using a HTPC isn't always the easiest way to watch content, but nothing combines the flexibility, capability and potential into a single consumption point like it does. Those that demand the highest quality often rail against the complexity required, and to be fair they have a point, but it's there and few products demonstrate this like the high quality video renderer madVR. As an HTPC advocate, I love it when new features arrive and it's even better when they are exclusive Smile.

For the techincally challenged it can be a little challenging to get madVR installed and configured, so if you fall into this group you may want to wait until the next JMC build to incorportate madVR's newest feature:

Introducing the new "smooth motion" frame rate changer (FRC) with the following main features / benefits:
(1) Can convert any source frame rate to any display refresh rate, while maintaining smooth motion.
(2) Endless playback without frame drops/repeats (if your PC is fast enough) without needing Reclock.

...

Technically the FRC algorithm simulates a display with infinite refresh rate. Which means that every video frame is displayed exactly when the timestamps ask for it. Consequently the motion smoothness depends on proper timestamps. If the timestamps (or audio clock) contain jitter, the playback will contain jitter, too. So even if Reclock might not be needed to avoid frame drops/repeats, anymore, when using madVR's new FRC algorithm, you might still want to use Reclock, because it provides a stable and reliable audio clock with very low jitter, and it supports WSAPI exclusive mode, too. You can however slave Reclock to the audio hardware clock, if you want. Having Reclock fully enabled with audio resampling is still possible, though, it shouldn't harm madVR's FRC algorithm.

To my best knowledge madVR is now the only way to playback Blu-Ray/DVD movies without 3:2 pulldown judder on displays which don't support 23.976Hz playback properly. I don't think any hardware Blu-Ray player can do that, or even any of the expensive video processors. (Correct me if I'm wrong). 

madVR (@Doom9)

Otherwise grab the latest release and have at it. I know I will (with MPC-HC) later tonight; and for those who are asking (I did) - it should run well on HD4000 GPUs.

Feb 05 2013

News - ARCTIC Bundles OpenELEC with Lower Priced MC001-XBMC

When I'm building a dedicated XBMC box, I often turn to the "embeddded" OpenELEC distro because of its drop-dead simple installation process and just-works feature set. And now with XBMC 12 is out, bringing a modern audio pipeline and Live TV to the platform, it's a great time to upgrade or check out the HTPC software. If you need a box to do this, it would be worth taking a look at ARCTIC's MC001-XMBC which offers an Atom CPU, AMD 5430, DVD drive and OpenELEC 3.0 pre-installed for $229 out the door. Of course if you're interested, you'll need to hurry; this offer is only good until they run out of stock.

Jan 14 2013

News - ArcSoft @ CES 2013

ArcSoftI saw a few new applications and some cool technology demos at ArcSoft's booth the most interesting was naturally TotalMedia Theatre 6 (TMT6) for Windows 8 "Metro" UI. Unlike CyberLink's touch focused player, this player is x86 with ArcSoft waiting to see if RT reaches critical mass before investing in ARM ports of their codec/container technology. There is a version of TMT6 for the desktop planned, but won't be available until much later in the year.

UDPATE

It looks like there will be a TMT6 for the desktop (coming sooner than I noted) and although the "Metro" app was sporting TMT6 branding will not be labeled this way when it arrives - more on the next page.

Click through for some galleries and a video of what ArcSoft was showing at CES 2013.

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