It plays native .mkv files with 5.1 audio, its free, and when it works its perfect for me. I tried tversity and hated it. Any other suggestions? I really need to decide on an ideal streaming software piece and just run with it. If hard wiring my current PC/Media Server to my network fixes the issue, I'll likely just build a box to mimic it and go with that. I'm definitely open to other suggestions though.
" @bretthancock: Is there any reason you are tied to PS3 Media Server? Like specific services it provides? "
Who remembers this thread? Old school
this thing ever going to get built?
I would use this for the keyboard: http://www.logitech.com/en-sg/keyboards/keyboard/devices/wireless-touch-keyboard-k400
It looks similar to the logitech keyboard remote, which I have. It's great for HTPCs because it's small and has a built-in touchpad.
I would also switch the remote to a Logitech Harmony 300. It is a great remote. The only annoyance is that the device settings must be updated through the logitech web app. (Edit: just remembered you might need a separate IR receiver for the harmony 300)
I've been through many builds of my HTPC and the wife had input on all of them.
First, I just put my gaming pc next to the TV. That was awesome for gaming and just about everything. But the keyboard mouse experience was a bit annoying from the couch. And the first time we had a substantial amount of company, it got moved.
Second, I tried a Lian-Li case that looked like a and oversized DVD player. It fit under the tv so it fit into the living room. But the couch experience was hampered by IR dongles, poor audio, and still a pretty solid requirement for mouse and keyboard. Gaming was so-so.
Finally, two years ago I personally feel I hit the nail on the head. I gave up the goal of gaming on this box as I have a wii, ps3, and xbox 360 hooked up to the same TV. The build below has lasted me for the past... going on 3 years and is totally wife approved. We have without formal cable, using just cable internet and an OTA antenna.
Windows 7 w/Media Center for DVR, EPG, Netflix, Music, Pictures, DVD, Ripped Discs, Amazon Unboxed Video
Hulu Dekstop w/Media Center Launcher,
Boxee w/Media Center Launcher for Pandora, Youtube
Hardware (I'll be general for some of this as my 2 year old hardware is irrelevant):
Luxa2 LM100 Mini, this was key as it was small, and had built in IR
Mini ITX Motherboard (I used a Zotac with Nvidia chipset)
Intel CPU (I have a Core2Duo) I would recommend a corei3 so you can hopefully go fanless.
4 GB Ram (again I have DDR2)
1 TB HDD
Hauppauge HVR-2250 (Dual QAM/ATSC Tuner)
Logitech Dinovo Mini for when keyboards are necessary
Logitech Harmony One
The wife loves it, can watch more than one channel at once. Record more than one thing at a time. Recently added a HDHomerun, so now I can record 4 things at a time.
If one of these Frankenstein creations gets made would be awesome. I remember going through the process of possibly getting Will and Norm to build one.
I think a major component holding this back is some compelling HTPC software solution. Some available at the moment are:
Windows 7 Media Center - I switched to this a couple of years ago, after using SageTV (bought by Google, so no longer available) for years. It works ok, but has some bugs and I don't expect Microsoft to ever provide updates for this.
Mediaportal - Free. I haven't used it. Setup doesn't look simple though...
Boxee - They just updated the PC software version to 1.5... and also announced they were no longer supporting it. No DVR solution.
MythTV - Free. Linux. Like Mediaportal, documentation and setup looks rough.
XBMC - Free. I've never used this. I don't believe this has any DVR functionality.
So yeah, the list is pretty weak IMO. I'm personally using W7 MC for the DVR functionality and free guide updates. I guess MS has mentioned they may bring back the media center for Windows 8, so it may be worth waiting to see what that brings. They've also said media center usage amongst W7 users was very low, so I'm skeptical they'll want to spend the resources developing something no one will use.