Your HTPC Setup ~ it's capabilities and what it runs. Share Here!

The HTPC, your data's traffic cop.

Having just upgraded a few pieces of my home setup, i thought i would share and ask how you guys have your HTPC's setup, what data they manage for you, and how they do it; the goal of this post being hopefully we all find some neat software or hardware to make our experiences better.

For example:

What kind of HTPC hardware do you run?

What other services are running off your HTPC?

The Software you use to make the TV experiences and manage media.

I'll start off with mine.

Hardware:

2012 Mac Mini

Apple-mac-mini-late-2012-fusion-drive_doorway_showcase_item_medium

I used a stock Mini and just bumped it to 16gb. I like mini's as it's important for me not to have a machine with a ridiculous GPU / CPU combo gulping down electricity. The Mini acts as the server for most services, and powers a 60" Vizio LED via HDMI, which runs a Plex front end for the TV interface. The Mini is also hooked up to two external 2tb hard drives which rsync to each other (ideally when i have some time i will format them and make a software RAID 1) and a third 3tb drive for user and server backups. While i have 802.11n wireless, it's thankfully wired via gigabit.

The place i've really been cheap is sound, although i don't really feel it. I route the computer audio via HDMI, and then use the TV's built in RCA audio outs to connect to a component system. It's only stereo, but it generally sounds great and massive. I've put a ton of thought into 5.1, but if someone here had a life changing experience because of it, I would love to hear about it.

To end out hardware, i also have a couple of 2nd gen ATV's that i've had for years. I use them as satellites to my setup, i've put one in my parent's house in CT, and keep one with my projector, to further extend my plex media servers reach.

Software:

now this fun part. Services. As it's a HTPC post; i'll start off with the more more media related services.

  1. • Plex: A media jukebox, a media server that handles transcoding, meta data, organization and includes a web front end, as well as a ridiculous amount of platform support on the client side. (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Roku, etc.)
  2. SABnzbd - A open source torrent / usenet automatic downloading application with plugin support
  3. Sickbeard: A open-source Television tracking solution which monitors TV airplay, keeps track of your TV etc.
  4. CouchPotato - A open-source Movie tracking and organizational utility, similar to sick-beard for Movies
  5. iCam - A lightweight IP camera monitoring, and recording software, compatible with both Android and iOS, featuring detection zones, record on movement, notifications etc.
  6. OS X server - an easy to use administrative control panel for the server aspects of OS X. Not needed for most services, but very, very nice. I use it to control a domain, IMAP mail, webDAV, cardDAV, calDAV, afp, smb, VPN, authentication services.

Currently my setup is completely cross platform compatible with both iOS and Android (despite android having one or two caveats, such as iCam requiring me to stream audio from camera's at 64kbps) Although there is no Windows Phone client for iCam. Which i like, being platform agnostic myself.

a note about upstream:

you will need more than your low end broadband to have success with a setup like this. A minimum of 3mb up would be sufficient for a single user (for decent plex streaming, so long as it's stable) I have 5mb and it feels very trying at times.