Which HTPC Solution?!

2010-10-17

As a keen HTPC enthusiast based in the UK, I can only concur that some kind of official app for TVCatchup.com on Boxee‘s platform would be awesome. However, if things turn out that the two parties unfortunately can’t get along in some way then I will probably have to jump-ship to Kodi (formally XBMC) which seems to have more mature mythTV capabilities in the bargain. The downside to jumping ship is that XBMC does not have the richness of different sources of online streams that Boxee has as far as I am aware.

I’m still at sea as to finding a single platform that provides broadcast as well as online TV sources complete with an EPG for the broadcast side of things. (By TV sources, here, I mean any sort of video content that isn’t produced by myself.)

  • Boxee promises so much, yet the lack of broadcast lets it down. The TVC system would help in that respect.
  • MythTV is mature, yet slowly developed, and doesn’t have intuitive setup or local media discovery.
  • XBMC comes part way between Boxee and MythTV in providing more online streaming and better local media discovery, akin to Boxee, but lacks some of the more advanced broadcast features of MythTV.

And what about WMC? Well, that is windows-based and hence evil! :-p Seriously though, it doesn’t support a single unified backend server with multiple HTPCs streaming off it’s tuners like MythTV and VDR allow, although it does support offline content streaming.

Oh, VDR, there’s another one! WE NEED UNITY, PEOPLE!

Also, one must never forget the venerable compilation of many projects to form a single unified home media network, the LinuxMCE distribution based on Kubuntu. This last one holds a special place in my heart for being nearly good enough to get mainstream knowledge yet not quite there. It’s just too damned difficult to get set up when using random junk to build your HTPC: When you use their recommended hardware it all “just works” but stray from that and you have to be prepared to break things. The problem is that everything is automated to such an extent that prior Linux experience is a hinderance where you try to change things the way you’re used to and find your tweaks are overwritten on next invokation or reboot. (Note: I’m careful to not say “fix” at any point in that last sentence; by changing the way the system behaves you are technically breaking it to such an extent that it can no longer be considered upgradable by automated means, with updates causing ever more breakage where they can’t be aware of your prior meddling.)

What way can I turn to satisfy my hunger for the triplicate utopia of online, offline and broadcast media?