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61 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 58679 17-Mar-2010 07:38 Send private message

Hi Fellas,

The last time I used Windows MCE was 2005 - when it worked quite well for me. I then switched to MediaPortal to get Freeview HD, which I have been with ever since. Recently I added another node to my MediaPortal setup (now multiseat) with a single server with the tuners (which is also a client), and remote client (wired 100Mb net) for live/recorded TV. This is working, but every couple of days I need to reboot everything, and so am thinking about switching to another MC platform.

My questions are about MC in Win 7.

I understand another Win 7 MC can be an "extender" for a central Win 7 MC instance - is that right?

Assuming a Win 7 extender, can the extender
 a. Watch live TV from the server
 b. Watch recorded TV from the server
 c. View photos, movies, music from the server

If I cant watch live TV on the extender, can I set up my two nodes both as "servers" (i.e. both with tuners attached), and connect them together so that I can watch the recorded TV from one, on the other (and vice versa) - but accepting that scheduling etc would have to occur on the node I wanted to record on.

Any info/advice appreciated.

Cheers,

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335 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 308130 17-Mar-2010 08:15 Send private message

Hi gpnz - good questions! I'm looking to "extend" my media centre installation to a 32" LCD in the bedroom, so I am quite keen to see the answers to this thread.

I'd also like to know if there are any devices out there that would serve the same purpose. I've had experience with a Linksys extender and Visa MC, but truly the quality was terrible and it was so slow - to the point it was unusable.

Any comments???




My HTPC - Case Antec Fusion Remote, MOBO Intel DH67BLB3, CPU Intel Core i5-2400S 2.5 GHz, RAM 8GB  DDR3 1333, HDD 120Gig Corsair Force Series 3 SSD system | WD Caviar Black 2TB data, Tuners Black Gold BGT3595 dual DVB-S/S2, dual DVB-T, Video nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, 1024MB, Sound Intel® High Definition Audio (onboard), OS Windows 7 x64

81 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 308142 17-Mar-2010 08:57 Send private message

gpnz: Hi Fellas,

Assuming a Win 7 extender, can the extender
 a. Watch live TV from the server

No.
gpnz:
 b. Watch recorded TV from the server

Yes.
gpnz:
 c. View photos, movies, music from the server

Yes
gpnz:
If I cant watch live TV on the extender, can I set up my two nodes both as "servers" (i.e. both with tuners attached), and connect them together so that I can watch the recorded TV from one, on the other (and vice versa) - but accepting that scheduling etc would have to occur on the node I wanted to record on.


Hmm maybe. That might work. I have two Win7 boxes but only one tuner so I can't try it out for you. Doesn't seem like a very elegant solution though. As much as I love Win7 MC and recommend it, I think maybe MP is better for a multiseat solution.


483 posts

Ultimate Geek

Trusted

  Reply # 308204 17-Mar-2010 11:26 Send private message

If you want to use 2 PC's (not really what you'd call Extenders), both as Media Centers, then you would need to use DVBLink TV Source Network Pack. This would allow one to act as the "primary" with all the tuners, and share the tuners over the network. The second machine would only have "virtual" tuners.

This would allow you to watch/record live TV on both machines assuming you have enough tuners. You could also share all other content using a Home Group, including recorded TV from any of the machines.

It would work everybit as well as anything Media Portal can do... with the possible exception that it actually works ;)

The other way to do it, is just use proper "extenders" ie XBox 360's. This offers lower cost (try building a PC for $300), easier content management, smaller footprint, simpler to setup, easy to use etc etc etc You effectively only need to manage one machine, the extenders all run entirely off that.

335 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 308208 17-Mar-2010 11:33 Send private message

I've just taken a look at the DVBLogic website, it looks very interesting... but I have to say that it grates me that a FREE solutuon such as mediaportal does all of this out of the box, whereas a pay product such as Windows 7 Media Centre (in addition to buying the bolt-on pack) doesn't seem to do it as well.

Rusty, other than the Xbox, what are your other options for an extender?




My HTPC - Case Antec Fusion Remote, MOBO Intel DH67BLB3, CPU Intel Core i5-2400S 2.5 GHz, RAM 8GB  DDR3 1333, HDD 120Gig Corsair Force Series 3 SSD system | WD Caviar Black 2TB data, Tuners Black Gold BGT3595 dual DVB-S/S2, dual DVB-T, Video nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, 1024MB, Sound Intel® High Definition Audio (onboard), OS Windows 7 x64

483 posts

Ultimate Geek

Trusted

  Reply # 308219 17-Mar-2010 11:54 Send private message

If you compare it to Media Portal, then you also need to include the countless hours of free headaches you get with it as well when it doesn't work.

You also need to include the many hours you need to invest getting it setup, hoping it will work, watching it fails many times along the way.

You also need to include the hours of time you will waste trying to "reskin" it, because its just so damn ugly in the first place, knowing full well, that whatever you do it still won't look as good as Media Center does. Priceless...

Don't get me wrong, I like free stuff as well, but if you compare the two products, well they just don't. The MP guys are stil using the same arguments they were 5 years ago - it does multi mux recording, save the universe!!! So what - just go and buy another tuner, for all the money you save on the free stuff, you'll burn it in time and frustration using Media Portal. Its the cheap road to nowhere...

The DVBLink team have made a fantastic product, it does something nothing else on the market can do (including Media Portal), and for $40-70 odd bucks its a good investment, especially if you want to watch Sky Digitally.

Theres a ton of other "free" stuff for Media Center which will make up for it. Much of itis commerical grade stuff like Media Browser, Macrotube, Heatwave, Remote Potato etc etc etc Media Center has a development community that Media Browser will never get, its a simple numbers game.

As for the extenders the 360 is it at the moment. Everyone else gave up - at $250 they didn't want to compete - and really, why would you, unless you like burning money.

335 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 308261 17-Mar-2010 13:19 Send private message

Rusty

I too have played extensively with both Media Portal and Windows Media Centre. I have to say that Windows 7 Media Centre won, exactly for the reasons you state. The most recent time that I installed Media Portal was when I was running Windows 7 64bit. There was some serious known issues at that time (which I am sure have been ironed out) that made me flick back to Media Centre very quickly. I?m not the only one in the house that uses the Media Centre, there is also my wife to be considered. She hated Media Portal and found it hard to use? and believe me, if she can?t watch her shows then my life is a misery!

But what I was alluding to in my previous post, is that I still find it hard to believe that Microsoft, and multi-billion, squillion, gazillion dollar organisation STILL can?t incorporate such features as being able to record two channels with one DVB-S card (from the same transponder), or perhaps act as a proper media server for example. With all the resource behind Microsoft they can?t take the good from Media Portal and incorporate into Media Centre? and let?s face it, Microsoft can do it when they set their minds to it. Look at what happened to Netscape!




My HTPC - Case Antec Fusion Remote, MOBO Intel DH67BLB3, CPU Intel Core i5-2400S 2.5 GHz, RAM 8GB  DDR3 1333, HDD 120Gig Corsair Force Series 3 SSD system | WD Caviar Black 2TB data, Tuners Black Gold BGT3595 dual DVB-S/S2, dual DVB-T, Video nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, 1024MB, Sound Intel® High Definition Audio (onboard), OS Windows 7 x64

2155 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 43


  Reply # 308266 17-Mar-2010 13:26 Send private message

I've been using MediaPortal in a client/server setup for about 2 years now and never had any issues, except ones caused by me or hardware failure.
The issues caused by me were from playing around with extra plugins etc but was easily fixed with a reinstall.
No hours wasted or anything like that and I think the default MP skin is OK.

I run the server side of MP on a WHS box so is there anything available that I could use instead that can share the tuners on the network for WMC and manage Recorded TV on the one system?

I like my setup because I can set something to record on one client and on another client it will show in the guide that is set to record as well and then once recorded I can watch it on any client.




335 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 308269 17-Mar-2010 13:30 Send private message

I rest my case! WHY can't Microsoft have incorporated this functionality into Media Centre???




My HTPC - Case Antec Fusion Remote, MOBO Intel DH67BLB3, CPU Intel Core i5-2400S 2.5 GHz, RAM 8GB  DDR3 1333, HDD 120Gig Corsair Force Series 3 SSD system | WD Caviar Black 2TB data, Tuners Black Gold BGT3595 dual DVB-S/S2, dual DVB-T, Video nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, 1024MB, Sound Intel® High Definition Audio (onboard), OS Windows 7 x64

2155 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 43


  Reply # 308274 17-Mar-2010 13:40 Send private message

blur: I rest my case! WHY can't Microsoft have incorporated this functionality into Media Centre???


And they aren't doing any tv server side stuff in the new WHS either.




483 posts

Ultimate Geek

Trusted

  Reply # 308275 17-Mar-2010 13:41 Send private message

I believe they looked at it - while it works for some in NZ, we only have 2 transponders for Freeview. Even then you'll get p1ssed off when you've only got 1 tuner and you can't record 1 & 3 together.

Things don't get too complicated, but if you start using more transponders it becomes a mess of a "feature"...

For example try telling someone with Sky, they can record CI and The Art Channel at the same time, but not movies or sport, but you can record Sky Movies along with Cartoon network, or 63...

They look at you like an idiot and say but I just want to record the rugby and a movie - you then say but you've only got 1 tuner, but you can record 63, and CTV1 - at which time they stab you in the face with a hot soldering iron... They then go out and buy two tuners...

I think its one of those features that sounds good on paper, but for the rest of the world (where its common to deal with hundreds of transponders), its not a "killer" feature, hence MS didn't develop any further. You simply buy enough tuners and get on with life...

If it was a real must have feature you'd see it in MySky - but I genuinely believe the complications by far outweigh the gains. Not everyone using this stuff are geeks, who know all about transponders.

The MS path with "Network Servers" is still evolving, currently it uses Extenders, which I would argue, eats the Media Portal TV Server model for breakfast.

DVBLogic on the other hand developed their stuff to do what MS isn't allowed to do - that is actively support plugins, which allow you to watch Sky digitally, using Media Center. For policatal/other reasons MS just can't do this stuff - it would upset way too many content providers. Its not perfect by any means, but I'd rather pay $70 have access to DVBLogic products than not.

Remember once you do this stuff, you can pipe Sky around the house, manage all your media centrally bla bla bla it aint such a bad place to be...

2155 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 43


  Reply # 308346 17-Mar-2010 15:49 Send private message

That reminds me, Rusty have you had a chance to check your emails here on Geekzone?
I sent you one a few days ago.




483 posts

Ultimate Geek

Trusted

  Reply # 308349 17-Mar-2010 15:52 Send private message

CYaBro: That reminds me, Rusty have you had a chance to check your emails here on Geekzone?
I sent you one a few days ago.


Still working on it - got a bunch of stuff I want to post up so that I don't have to keep retyping it - will get something to you later in the week.

2155 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 43


  Reply # 308383 17-Mar-2010 17:02 Send private message

No worries, cheers!






61 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 308411 17-Mar-2010 17:55 Send private message

Thanks guys.

Win 7 MC sounds good, but maybe not quite there for want I'm wanting at the moment - I like the idea of sharing tuners across the network tho, I would defintely pay some money for that feature.

I think I might also look at GBPVR - I understand that this will work on XP (so no big uplift to Win 7 on my machines). At the moment I would stay with MP if it were stable (I'm not knocking it too much, I've used it since FreeviewHD came out, single seat, and its been solid as for me - but it did take a bit of getting going), but will defintely move to either Win 7 MC or GBPVR otherwise. From what what I know, GBPVR will do the live tv on a remote client etc (much like Media Portal) so I might wander over to thier forums and post the question - I've got no view on the stablility or ease of use of GBPVR, but have been told its quite good, if thats true, that might be my next step.

Failing that, from the sounds of it, Win 7 MC is solid, so although from my requirements point of view it might not be perfect, theres a lot to be said for stability.

BTW CYaBro, Just out of interest, what version of MediaPortal are you running and on what platforms? I was originally running MP 1.0 Final on XP SP3 32bit with CoreAVC H.264 codec. Vanillia install with no 3rd party plugins or skins. Worked great for single seat but in multiseat I was constantly getting MP crashes on my remote client when changing channels - I found this was a known bug that was fixed in MP 1.1 RC1 - which I upgraded to. Unfortunately I still get the same thing with 1.1 and its now actually worse as the TV Service simply stops working after a couple of days (service continues to run, but wont record scheduled recordings or stream to clients). I checked the forums and it seems like these issues have all ready been reported.

Cheers,


246 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 309627 21-Mar-2010 20:56 Send private message

i have been following this thread with interest as i am contemplating building an HTPC and extenders (or more HTPCs) for multi-rooms. I currently have MySky Hdi and PS3 (for blurays/dvds and media files) in the lounge.  My consideration for an HTPC is to have these same functions in other rooms, especially Sky. I know how to setup for Bluray streaming, but can Sky be setup on the main HTPC and stream/extended to other rooms?

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