Question HTPC Upgrading Advice

siross

Active Member
Hi all,

I'm upgrading to a 4k TV and need my HTPC to keep up.

I need it to play 4k and be able to handle all audio formats. Files will be ripped blu rays in x.265 format predominantly.

Current specs of PC:



Undecided whether using integrated graphics or dedicated card is the best way forward.

Ideally I'd like to keep it as cheap as possible, open to going second hand.
 

techquest

Active Member
This MB is ATX format and not sure what your case supports. Is the a model # on your Antec Fusion?

This MB has a Display Port capable of max 1.2 with max resolution of 4096 x 2160 @ 60 Hz which will interface with your 4K TV set which would be 3840 × 2160.

Asus ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING AM4 DDR4 ATX Motherboard
ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING | Motherboards | ASUS United Kingdom

Asus ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING AM4 DDR4 ATX Motherboard | Ebuyer.com £194.49


Ryzen 2700X CPU

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AMD-Ryzen-Processor-Wraith-Cooler/dp/B07B428M7F/ref=sr_1_1?hvadid=8861378177&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&keywords=ryzen+7+cpu&qid=1566823092&s=gateway&sr=8-1 £229.99


2 x 8GB DDR4 Memory

Patriot Viper V4 16GB 3000MHz CL16 | Ebuyer.com £70.52


Total of above is £495 but I didn't do a shop around for best prices or look at 2nd hand. But it gives you an example of what you could do.
 
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EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
This MB has a Display Port capable of max 1.2 with max resolution of 4096 x 2160 @ 60 Hz which will interface with your 4K TV set which would be 3840 × 2160.
No it wouldn't, as no TVs on the market over the last few years have DisplayPort inputs. You need something with an HDMI 2.0 output.
 

siross

Active Member
Thanks for the advice, I think I'll have a look in the classifieds and see what comes up.

My other option is to invest in some network storage and an Nvidia Shield to perform the transcoding?
 

ChuckMountain

Well-known Member
My other option is to invest in some network storage and an Nvidia Shield to perform the transcoding?
What's your actual use case. Do you need a htpc to do anything other than play movies or TV series?

If that's all then get a NAS and a media player, plenty of the latter using Kodi for around or under one hundred pounds. They will play all your media in whichever format with no need to transcode. The media player will be silent and drink a lot less juice than a pc
 

siross

Active Member
What's your actual use case. Do you need a htpc to do anything other than play movies or TV series?

If that's all then get a NAS and a media player, plenty of the latter using Kodi for around or under one hundred pounds. They will play all your media in whichever format with no need to transcode. The media player will be silent and drink a lot less juice than a pc
Not really no, all my other computer related stuff is done on other machines.

My HTPC is literally just for playing movies and TV shows.

Will a media player still play all formats that a PC can, such as x.265 compressed files?

Would I be better going down a NAS route or would a WD cloud storage drive suffice?
 

siross

Active Member
Answer is yes to all your questions.

What media player/ software did you use at the moment?
I use Media Player Classic on the PC at the moment, it does the job for the most part but cannot handle x.265. It just jumps and stalls constantly.
 

ChuckMountain

Well-known Member
Most media players run something like Kodi or possibly Plex or their own proprietary player. Kodi in most new boxes will quite happily support x265. The Raspberry pi 4 will also support x265 with latest builds.

Unless you need something that a media player won't give I don't really see the point in spending that much money on a htpc. I used to have an Antec fusion case too before changing to an Intel nuc and a pi for a second room. Just got a Vera 4K+ to replace the pi as I run a heavy skin for Kodi. I might however replace the nuc with it because it has better support.
 

siross

Active Member
Most media players run something like Kodi or possibly Plex or their own proprietary player. Kodi in most new boxes will quite happily support x265. The Raspberry pi 4 will also support x265 with latest builds.

Unless you need something that a media player won't give I don't really see the point in spending that much money on a htpc. I used to have an Antec fusion case too before changing to an Intel nuc and a pi for a second room. Just got a Vera 4K+ to replace the pi as I run a heavy skin for Kodi. I might however replace the nuc with it because it has better support.
Is this the machine you have? Vero - OSMC

Would you recommend this over something like the Nvidia Shield? Ideally I want something that's very easy to use.

I'd probably run Kodi as that's what I've been used to before.

A Network drive like this WD would be good, but it gets poor reviews...
 

ChuckMountain

Well-known Member
Yep sorry vero not Vera ;)

I haven't plumbed it in yet as I have quite a complicated system and don't have any spare time. My mate has two though and I originally suggested he looked and then and his work fine as far as I know.

Most NAS devices should work fine but the ones linked are the very low end of the market.
 

techquest

Active Member
Looking at what your now saying you want to do it seems obvious the way to go is with something like the Vero 4K, that plus a Network drive such as Synology or maybe something like this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/TerraMaster-F2-210-Transcoding-Personal-Diskless/dp/B07Q6KGLJG?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAIIYGG26R5AFDI45Q&tag=genieshoppi0c-21&linkCode=sp1&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B07Q6KGLJG&ascsubtag=37557170

Combined would be about half the cost of updating your HTPC and as @ChuckMountain has said the Vero 4K is a good product.
 

siross

Active Member
Thanks guys, I think this is the way forward, it makes a lot of sense.

@techquest is that TerraMaster a good entry level NAS unit? Presumably the 4k transcoding efforts of the unit aren't necessary if the Vero 4K is doing all the heavy transcoding?

What drives would be a good budget option? I've read WD red are made for NAS but these are quite expensive.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
It doesn't do any transcoding as it will play the files natively and bitstream the audio.

Best way to buy WD Red drives on a budget is to buy either the WD My Book Duo or a MyCloud Duo and take the drives out it. It regularly comes up on Amazon offers.
I recently got the 20TB (2x10TB) which is for sale @ £560 for £330, so that's £165 per 10TB drive and they sell individually for £300+.

You don't have to run Red drives or any other "NAS" drive but I wouldn't buy new drives that weren't. If I had old drives sitting around I'd use them first but remember the NAS will format them when you add them.
 

siross

Active Member
It doesn't do any transcoding as it will play the files natively and bitstream the audio.

Best way to buy WD Red drives on a budget is to buy either the WD My Book Duo or a MyCloud Duo and take the drives out it. It regularly comes up on Amazon offers.
I recently got the 20TB (2x10TB) which is for sale @ £560 for £330, so that's £165 per 10TB drive and they sell individually for £300+.

You don't have to run Red drives or any other "NAS" drive but I wouldn't buy new drives that weren't. If I had old drives sitting around I'd use them first but remember the NAS will format them when you add them.
Nice one, thanks for that I'll have a look round for some deals.
 

ChuckMountain

Well-known Member
Yes I am also after probably six drives for an upgrade and nearly bought the Amazon duo ones but timing was wrong for me.

If you are going two bay then drive choice is less important but the price difference between nas and non nas drives is not that much for just two.
 

techquest

Active Member
Thanks guys, I think this is the way forward, it makes a lot of sense.

@techquest is that TerraMaster a good entry level NAS unit? Presumably the 4k transcoding efforts of the unit aren't necessary if the Vero 4K is doing all the heavy transcoding?

What drives would be a good budget option? I've read WD red are made for NAS but these are quite expensive.

I would go Synology as you don't need the transcoding. You can see that Amazon have the Red WD's and Synology Nas enclosure, probably cheapest Red WD's around at the moment. But shop around and look at what @Sloppy Bob is suggesting. it makes a whole load of sense.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WD-RED-NAS-Hard-Drive/dp/B008JJLW4M/ref=sr_1_2?hvadid=80607977932182&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&keywords=wd+red+nas+drives&qid=1566848648&s=gateway&sr=8-2
 
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Killbill118

Active Member
Playing say 4K uhd Blu-ray or the likes on your HTPC needs key components to be “approved” or certified. And I’m not just taking about pure horse power or what your GPU can do.
Your CPU, mother board GPU etc need to meet specs.
You can use something like powerdvd 19 to playback your blue ray disks or iso and if your system meets core requirements. You should be good. But if you do go the MS windows 10 route expect bugs and issues with Atmos etc.
PowerDVD 19

They do have an app you can run to check your PC specs to see if your parts are compatible.

In theory if everything works fine together you can setup your pc to run something like powerdvd or any other media center straight from boot bypassing windows explore by changing a simple shell script.

Long story short after being a PC gamer and heavily into HTPC setup for many years I just moved my media consumption to ripping everything to my NAS and then using my Zappiti 4K mini for main movies with Atmos and my apple tv /infuse for Netflix and family use.
PC is now just used for the odd gaming session.
 
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siross

Active Member
Thank you for all the advice guys, I think it's time for me to leave behind my trusty HTPC and get something slicker and more fit for purpose :)
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
I have been using HTPC's for nearly 20 years and have 6 HTPC's in the house.

I recently bought a Vero 4K+ out of frustration of not being able to get 4K / HDR with atmos to play back easily in the main room. MPC + MadVR = very fiddly and unreliable.

The Vero 4K+ is brilliant. It is tiny and just works. If any of my HTPC's need replacing, I will almost certainly replace them with one of those.

If you are only using it in one room, you may as well store all your media on an external hard drive and not bother with a server.
 

siross

Active Member
I have been using HTPC's for nearly 20 years and have 6 HTPC's in the house.

I recently bought a Vero 4K+ out of frustration of not being able to get 4K / HDR with atmos to play back easily in the main room. MPC + MadVR = very fiddly and unreliable.

The Vero 4K+ is brilliant. It is tiny and just works. If any of my HTPC's need replacing, I will almost certainly replace them with one of those.

If you are only using it in one room, you may as well store all your media on an external hard drive and not bother with a server.
Thanks for that, confirmation it's the right way to go.

Good idea about an external hard drive. It will only be in one room, potentially 2 but the signal will be split at source rather than multiple sources
 

wokeye

Active Member
I have been using HTPC's for nearly 20 years and have 6 HTPC's in the house.

I recently bought a Vero 4K+ out of frustration of not being able to get 4K / HDR with atmos to play back easily in the main room. MPC + MadVR = very fiddly and unreliable.

The Vero 4K+ is brilliant. It is tiny and just works. If any of my HTPC's need replacing, I will almost certainly replace them with one of those.

If you are only using it in one room, you may as well store all your media on an external hard drive and not bother with a server.
Sorry to hijak this thread, but I'm really interested in this hardware. I am getting tired of Windows. This would be just for a spare room. Sorry for the stupid question but am I right that this will output optical audio? It's just that I would want to connect to a DAC then a hi-fi for listening to FLAC files. thanks
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Sorry to hijak this thread, but I'm really interested in this hardware. I am getting tired of Windows. This would be just for a spare room. Sorry for the stupid question but am I right that this will output optical audio? It's just that I would want to connect to a DAC then a hi-fi for listening to FLAC files. thanks
Hi. It does have a toslink output so in theory that should work, but, I haven't tried using it for that purpose.
 

Pasanda

Active Member
Thanks for the advice, I think I'll have a look in the classifieds and see what comes up.

My other option is to invest in some network storage and an Nvidia Shield to perform the transcoding?
Having used a HTPC for 7 years, i've been through the mill on options, and here's a brief rundown.
Starting at the end, i decomissioned my HTPC a month ago. Very sad to see it go, but my chosen path ended up being a no-brainer.

Short version:
My movies are all ripped onto a 10Tb server. Low spec dell (t20) about 4 years old. Cost < £100 + the cost of disks. Serves all of the families photos, audio and video.

Replaced HTPC with an Xbox One S. Bought reconditioned from Music Magpie 1 month ago for £120. Cheaper than a Shield or any HTPC upgrade, includes a BluRay Player. 4K out of the box. 7.1 audio out of the box. And it's an Xbox! Main reason was as a Plex client, but my son has found it's useful for other stuff too :)

as an aside, because the Xbox uses IR, i can now control literally everything with the Harmony 655 for £30. So TV, Xbox, AVR, BT Freeview, Hifi Amp and HIFI Streamer.

My wife likes it...

For £120 quid it's the most cost effective change i could have made.
 

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