Automating your HTPC

So you’ve got your HTPC ready to go and now you need some media.  There’s the tried and true method of manually downloading the content you want, but why waste your time with that when you can set your computer up to automatically download you want?  This collection of guides will help you get things set up so that you can just tell your computer what you want and it’ll search it out and download for you, so you can spend your time consuming content rather than searching for and managing that content.

Before we get started, I’d like out point out that I’m not a huge torrent fan, so although there are options to use torrents for your automation, I won’t be getting into that here.  This guide will be more geared towards Usenet instead which is, in my opinion, a much safer and better alternative to torrents.  So with that said, you’re going to need to sign up with a Usenet provider.  I have only ever used Astraweb as my primary provider, so I can’t say much about others, but I have not every had any issues with their service and would recommend it.

Link to Astraweb

Now that you have a Usenet account, you’re ready to get started.  The first thing you’ll need is a Usenet downloader.  The two popular ones are SABnzbd and NZBGet.  They both work really well and what you stick with will probably be a matter of preference.  That said, you’ll likely get better performance out of NZBGet.  Here you’ll find the guides to setting these two up.

SABnzbd

NZBGet

With your Usenet downloader all ready to go, the next thing you’ll want to add is the interfaces for downloading your media.  You’ll have a few choices to choose from, depending on what it is that you’re looking for.  For music there is Headphones.  For Movies there is CouchPotato, and for TV shows, you can choose between SickBeard and Sonarr.  I used to use SickBeard, which is a really great program, but recently switched over to Sonarr because of it’s slick interface.  There are probably other programs out there to serve up this functionality as well, but this are the most well known programs around.

SickBeard

Sonarr

CouchPotato

Headphones

Once you’ve these all set up, you’re on your way to enjoying your new library of media.  To really get the home theater experience, you’ll want to explore one of the media centers.  There are several good ones out there, but my personal favorites are Plex and XBMC which you can also find guides for here.

 

 

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