HTPC - Help, newbie advice!

Ash Telecaster

Apr 8, 2014

First time poster. I am building my first htpc and was hoping to get soem recommendations. First let me say thank you in advance for your ideas. I will start by laying out what I already have, what my PC has, then specifiing what I was hoping to accomplish.

I have a Dish 722k DVR that plugs via HDMI into a Sony NSZ-GS7 which, along with a Sony Blu-Ray player (Don't know the model off hand), that plugs via HDMI into a Visio e550 55" flat screen. The Visio is not one of the "smart" models. Then I run SPDIFF out of the Visio into a Pioneer VSX-1017.

Satallite -> Google box -> Flat Screen -> Reciever
BluRay ->

The Pioneer handles HDMI but with serious limitations which is why it is last in the chain using SPDIFF.

I'm building an HTPC with a limited budget (wife was recently laid off) but have enough resources for something reasonable.

CPU: 40
RAM: 8 gigC: Drive: 120gb Solid State
D: LG Blu-Ray
E: 3tb Hard Drive
Cooler Master Elite 130 Elite mini ITX

What I am hoping to accomplish is to replace the Sony Blu-Ray player and Google box with the HTPC.

I need to...
1. Choose Media Center software that handles, preferably with 10-foot view...
a. Netflix
b. Amazon Prime
c. Youtube
d. Web browsing

2. Figure out if there is a way to pass through the Satallite video like the Google box does today.

3. A remote that will handle all devices

4. I'm wondering if a solution to streaming is to buy a ROKU and pass that through the HTPC?

I appreciate your thoughts on this. So far I have played around with...
1. OpenElec - BMX
2. Win7 BMC
3. Win7 MediaPortal
4. Win7 Windows Media Center
5. MediOs
6. J River Media Center
7. Sesam TV

The learning curve is pretty steep and I'm kind of stuck. So far, from my unwashed and probably incorrect perspective; the Windows media center is the only one that offers full Netflix functionality but little else. The J River Media Center is the only other that offers Netflix and is the most functional out of the box. It costs $50 but that is reasonable if it solves my problems. OpenElec is the lightest and fastest but does very little out of the box and probably won't do Netflix or Amazon. MediaPortal has a very slick interface, like XBMC on steriods, but along with XBMC requires some set up know how and as far as I know are limited on the streaming end. I don't even remember what MediOs looks like as it's all becoming a blur at this point.

Thank you very much for taking the time to ponder this.


Nov 17, 2012
If you are really into surround sound and HDMI, it might be cheaper just to stay with what you got. I am not a big fan of the HTPC craze, I have a setup very similar to yours, and am 100% satisfied with it. So in short, if it ain't broke, don't f*ck with it.
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