Advice - "idiot proof" setup


May 2, 2010
I hope those with more knowledge can help me! I have researched this inside out and have just ended up going in circles and getting more confused..

My parents want a new TV setup. They currently have 4 remotes (TV, DVD, Freeview, XBMC), with labels on them (TV, etc) and this is too confusing. Their main requirement is 1 remote & easy to use.

Other requirements:
* XBMC media PC (this is already there, but I would like to start utilising HDMI-CEC to remove the separate remote)
* DVD player
* freeview
* PVR (pause, record)
* streaming services (netflix, iplayer, 4od, NowTV for sport, etc)

They need a new TV and any other kit required, which allows me to be quite flexible in how to approach it.

My thinking is as follows:
* Roku is not possible for streaming services, since it would kill HDMI-CEC (apart from the stick, which has a laggy interface).
* Chromecast is not possible since it is driven by a smart phone/tablet.
* If I can get as much as possible in 1 device, then it will reduce the number of interfaces they need to understand and will therefore be easier.
* DVD player has simple interface, so assuming it plays nicely with HDMI-CEC, this should be fine.
* Two options: smart TV with built in streaming apps & PVR functionality (like LG time machine) OR dumb TV with external PVR that has streaming services. In some ways, I prefer the separate box approach just for if things need upgrading in the future/break/etc. Also, I assume it will have better PVR functionality than that baked into a TV as a side-thought..

* Freeview vs YouView. YouView seems to nicely integrate the iPlayer/4OD/etc apps, but as far as I can see is only supported by Humax (must be a stand alone box, not tied to BT/Talk Talk) and has no Netflix, etc. I have also heard that the interface isn't great.
* Are Humax good? I thought they were the benchmark, but have seen a lot of complaints. How does someone like Panasonic compare?

I can't find a helpful shop round here to let me try all the different interfaces - so does anyone with experience have any feedback??

I'm sure I'm not the only one with tech-unsavvy parents in need of help, so hopefully a good discussion can shed some light on this!

Thank you so much for reading all that and helping! :)


The single remote requirement is dead easy. Buy a good universal remote and program it to operate all of their equipment. Some televisions and BlueRay/DVD players come with such a remote, though it may be limited to a restricted list of makes/models that it can control.
You could use one of those master/slave power boards - CEC is tricky to get on desktop PCs. This means everything turns on/off when you turn the PC on/off.

Having everything in one box (the HTPC) makes control easier, and means you don't need to switch inputs. Get a tuner card and a DVD drive for the HTPC, and use XBMC to drive them.


May 2, 2010
Ok, universal remote sounds like a good idea. Although I guess the advantage of CEC is if you want the boxes out of sight...?

As for the media PC.. it is a small nettop. Runs XBMC fine, but no space for a tuner card. Would rather leave it as is if possible.. but perhaps that would be slightly easier..

I think for PVR, I am most likely to go for an external box - how do Humax boxes rate against Panasonic, Samsung, etc? (in terms of usability & smart features)
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