Welcome to your HTPC Guide!
Saturday, 12 December 2009 07:43


Hi and welcome to a guide that I've pulled together to make your assembly of an HTPC easier - and much, much quicker.  All for a total cost of under $400.


But is it worth $400?  A picture is worth a thousand words - and the following is worth at least  400 - dollars that is.  

What the initial menu looks like - click on the pictures to get a large scale picture.


What a TV series details look like:


The Movie 'flow':

Ok - so you're sold on the HTPC, but why follow this guide?

Because I took very careful notes and screenshots during this entire process.  

I did so, because I found myself very frustrated with the lack of a comprehensive guide in terms of the software involved.  

One more reason for this guide - since I'm currently unemployed I thought I could pull together a guide to help you avoid that frustration.

If you appreciated that guide or any of the articles that make up the overall guide, that you might show that appreciation with a small donation (click on the picture at the bottom of the page).


Here's the guide - hope it helps! 


SickBeard Win 32, build 473 and sabnzbd = HTPC TV Nirvana. PDF Print E-mail


The following is intended to enhance the legal downloading of legally downloadable TV shows from newsgroups. If you're not sure what newsgroups are and care what they are, check out NzbMatrix's excellent FAQ. If you don't really care, but are looking for an alternative to unwieldy torrenting systems, then read on. 

The following system has these benefits: 

  1. Complete automation.  Set and forget. 
  2. Automation that spans multiple mapped share drives.
  3. A system that uses very little resources, so you can have them running in the background of  your always-on-HTPC. 
  4. A system accessed through web-API's so you don't have to log on to your HTPC and interrupt your fiancee's
    TV viewing. 

If that's something you're interested in, here's how  - step by step. 

It's important to first clean up your TV library up just a tad.

Use the Bulk Renamer Utility to get your shows renamed roughly like the following example.Here's a couple of tutorials on
how to use BRU - practice with a bunch of text files and folders first.

Lifehacker solution.

A more in-depth, step by step solution from us.


Sign up for any newsgroup – I signed up with newshosting because of the two week trial.

Make sure you copy down your:

username, password, the port (probably 119), number of connections, and how many days articles are retained.

This last bit of information is most easily seen on their websites front-page where they normally put something like this:

Sign up for http://nzbmatrix.com/, or any other usenet search index, and immediately do the upgrade for $11 to VIP.

It's good for a year or so – and you'll need the API key that comes with VIP membership.

To find that, click on account, Generate a new API Key and copy that.


Download sabnznd, the reader that actually downloads the files you want, and install it to a folder called SABNZND in
C:\ Program Files (x86) folder. Once it's done extracting, make sure to grab the exe and create a shortcut on your desktop.

Then, follow the wizard screenshots here.

In that wizard, on the Server Setup page, put in the information you got from newshosting in step 1 above.

Make sure you hit Test to confirm it's working.

After restarting, you'll want to take note of where SABnznd stores files, by clicking on the Folders tab.

Incomplete files that are being downloaded/ unpacked are to:

Completed files are moved to:

And when categories are implemented like we are going to do, TV shows are specifically moved to:


Just in case you're reconfiguring your system - here's where you can find

Click on Config:

Then, click on Folders - note how it's written by default...

Also, make sure you grab SABnzbd's API key from the General tab:

And save the http://yourComputer'sIP:8085/sabnzbd/ url to your desktop and send it to yourself,so you can access it
from your other computers.

Configure XBMC's web gui- take note of the username, password, computer's IP, port for use in step 5.


Sick Beard

will be organizing the TV shows. Extract the sickBeard files to a folder called sickBeard in your
Program Files (x86) folder. Be sure to grab sickBeard.exe and create a shortcut on our desktop. 

Then run it Unblocking it from Windows Firewall.

And allowing AVG to leave the file where it is.

And then configure as follows:

Finally, click on the Home Tab and Restart (some things require a manual restart.)
Congratulations - configuration is done!!!!Now, let's get to the fun stuff....

Click on the Home tab, and add shows. Click

This is the folder where all of your TV shows are stored.

Select shows to Add...and click Continue.

For shows, that are not recognized, you can skip the show, or do a search and select one of the suggested option, and click continue.

At this point, SickBeard will show that it's loading the shows. Refresh the page occasionally if you want to see the page change.

Go have a beer and relax.

Come back in 15 minutes or so, and you can click on the URL to one of the shows that's already loaded.

If you scroll down, you'll probably see episodes of that show marked as missing. Click on those, and 
with Status marked as Watch, click Go:

And it will start to download....but how will you know? You should get a pop-up in XBMC saying that your show is downloading. And then you'll get another pop-up when it's done.

Finally, you should see your XBMC library very quickly update and then compress.

Congratulations! But, before you go all out, you should focus on one folder, one legally downloaded TV show.

Couch Potato will be coming up next.... in the meantime here are some useful links: 

For SickBeard specific support, start here:
If nothing is found relating to your question/problem above go here next:
Other links:
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 January 2011 01:19