Tools for Building Your Own
I have been testing a lot of different components to find the best hardware to run media center software such as XBMC.
I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for all of HTPC hardware and software that you’ll need to build your own media center experience.
In this page, you will find only products or software I use personally and believe will add great value to my readers.
Custom HTPC Builds
- AMD A6-3500 build with OpenELEC OS: I currently use this build in my living room. In my opinion, AMD Llano or Trinity chipsets have the best value/performance ratio at the moment, so they are ideal APUs to run your media center.
- Intel Core i3-2105 build with Windows 8: I designed this system to be very silent, so I have chosen many high-end components to ensure this build does what it is designed to do. I currently use this system as a test bench for any new software or service.
- Raspberry Pi: Raspberry Pi is an amazing little computer that I currently use as a bedroom HTPC. While just a bit slower than the Apple TV 2, it can run XBMC media center and provide output in 1080p H.264, MPEG-2 and VC1 video, all for about $40.
- Flirc: This nice little USB adapter learns any remote control allowing you to control any computer with any remote. I currently use Flirc to control my Raspberry Pi XBMC.
- Motorola NYXBoard Hybrid: I currently use Motorola NYXBoard remote control with my living room HTPC and it is the first remote in the world designed for XBMC. It work’s straight out of the box and I have been really satisfied with it.
- OpenELEC: This small Linux distribution turns your computer into a complete XBMC media center. OpenELEC can be installed in less than 15 minutes and it is designed to make your system boot as fast as possible.
- Raspbmc: The simplistic yet powerful Raspberry Pi media center distribution turns your Raspberry Pi mini computer into a media center.
- XBMC Media Center: My favorite media center software already for over 10 years. It is still the best and most versatile open source media center out there.
- PlayOn Media Server: This is a unique software that runs in the background on your Windows-based PC over your home network. PlayOn is the only way to integrate Netflix, Hulu and other premium services into XBMC.
- Plex Media Server: Simple and easy way to organize your video and music collection. Plex automatically scrapes all the meta data from the media files.
Premium Content Services
- UnblockUS: This excellent DNS redirection tool will allow you to watch Netflix, Hulu and other premium services from any country. It is fast and reliable, so I can recommend it based on my personal use. You can try UnblockUS free for one week.
- HTPC buying guide: Choosing the right HTPC hardware can be a difficult process. So, if you are looking for some excellent hardware recommendations, this guide will definitely save your time and money.
- Silent HTPC guide: This guide for building a silent computer is very practical, so after reading this you will feel much more comfortable in getting started with your own project.
- XBMC hardware guide: After testing many different components, I have finally found the best hardware for the XBMC media center. This guide will definitely save you time and money, helping you to avoid the same mistakes I did when choosing the optimal components for your first HTPC build.
- Raspberry Pi guide: In this complete tutorial, you will learn how to build a lightweight HTPC front-end by installing and configuring a minimal Raspberry Pi XBMC distribution called Raspbmc.
- XBMC software guide: In this extensive guide, you will learn most of the relevant customization tips you need to know to take your new XBMC 12 Frodo installation to the next level.
- Plex Media Server guide: In this complete guide, you will learn how to build a simple setup with Plex Media Server and Windows 8 Storage Spaces feature that will make all of your media easily accessible from almost any device.