As you might have noticed from my last post, I’m constantly fiddling with my HTPC setup. As I generally enjoy that kind of thing, it’s a reasonable price to pay for having access to everything on the internet. My latest upgrade is a tiny keyboard called the Rii mini i8+ (Amazon).
If you don’t have time to read the rest of my review, if it were a stock I was reviewing, I’d list it as a “strong buy.” It seems to have been designed with the HTPC market in mind, and it reminds me of typing on a generously-sized physical phone keyboard. The keys are kind of a soft-plastic feel, but not too soft to be mushy like a remote control. F1 through F10 are present, which is really convenient if you’ve setup custom macros to launch a certain program or website with them (see this post on how to do this).
The touchpad is similarly setup well for media-PC use. Directions for operation are clearly printed on the pad, which could be useful if you have friends over that want to “drive,” and there are Read more »
For the last five years or so, I haven’t had cable, and instead use a computer (AKA HTPC) to stream everything off of the internet. I use a graphics card with no fan, which has generally worked well for me, but some streaming services* seem to cause the CPU to heat up, causing my main cooling fan to go crazy.
I’m not sure if it’s because it was getting old, but the fan that I had sounded like a jet engine. After doing a little research, I found out that I needed an 80mm fan. This is apparently normally measured by what the height and width of the square fan box is, but my fan was round for whatever reason. You can also infer this width by the distance between the holes. There is a handy chart here, so I made my best guess after taking the measurements.
After looking at reviews, I finally settled on this “ARCTIC F8 PWM PST” fan (Amazon) for under $8 as of this writing. It is seriously the most Read more »
In previous articles I’ve both talked about my HTPC setup and how I mounted a Roku LT player on another TV. The following is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each streaming device. If you’re considering “cutting the cord” as I did, you may find this useful.
In the same order as the above comparison table, here’s a breakdown of what I like and dislike about both:
- Upfront Cost – In this department the Roku LT has a definite advantage. One will most likely spend $300 + on a new HTPC, while the Roku LT comes in at a paltry $49.99. Advantage: Roku
- Monthly Cost – Although there is no fee associated with the Roku directly, if you want to watch almost anything worthwhile, you have to pay for it. Standard Hulu as well as ESPN3 are available on your computer without cost, even if you probably want to get Netflix and/or Hulu Plus anyway. Advantage: HTPC
- Size – There’s really no comparison here. The Roku player at 3.3 x 3.3 x .9 inches is tiny. Even the smallest PCs are much bigger. Advantage: Roku
- Interface – This is a tough call. On the one hand, Read more »