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292 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 38236 26-Jul-2009 23:55
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Hi there,

a lot of buzz around how nice Windows 7 is for the media center. Can anyone quantify what features Win7 has over mediaportal?

If we set aside "it just installs and works" for now... What features does it sport that MP doesn't have?

Thanks

Dale




HTPC: Antec Fusion 430, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-UD2H F7, AMD X2 4850e, Sapphire 4670 1GB, Corsair 4x1Gb,  Adata 128Gb SSD, WD10EARS Green, LG GGC-H20L Blu-ray, Hauppauge NOVA TD-500, Logitech z-5500, Logitech Harmony 525, Samsung LA40B530 1080p, Vista Premium-32 SP2, Catalyst 10.12(Facelift preview), Mediaportal 1.2.3+OneButtonMusic, AC3Filter, Cyberlink Powercinema 6 codec, BLU-RAY: Samsung BD-F7500

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Ultimate Geek

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  # 239240 27-Jul-2009 08:45
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You can't really discount the fact that it just works - especially when your talking about Media Portal - which in many cases just doesn't... 

You could look at many many things including:

Professional User Interface - Windows 7 is light years ahead of Media Portal when it comes to useability, the 10 foot interface looks better, works better, and well is better.  This to me is the single biggest differentiator.  The Windows 7 Media Center interface is designed by professionals, Media Portal is designed by a couple of geeks who probably came from planet linux.  You only need to look at the guide to see the glaring difference, two click series record etc etc etc.  My kids (6 & 4) can easily use Media Center, the same cannot be said for Media Portal.  It is easy to use and graphical...

Extender Integration - Windows 7 provides easy to use extender integration using the Xbox 360.  You can set this up in under 5 minutes.

Integrated Codec support - no additional codecs required to view live TV

Channel Changes Speed - Windows 7 provides fast channel changes Media Portal doesn't.

Content Sharing using Windows libraries - easy to use content sharing, anywhere, including recorded TV.

Windows Home Server Support - out of the box WHS support.

Development - Windows has a full time development team, Media Portal, well, doesn't.  This not only gives it direction, but gives it progress.  Can anyone look at Media Portal and tell me what has changed in the last 2 years, it still looks like the dog it always was.

Third Party Support - Programs such as Big Screen EPG, Media Browser, DVBLink and many others provide professional level additional support for Media Center.  While Media Portal has a good development community, its a bit like Media Portal itself, you need to spend hundreds of hours finding stuff that works, that doesn't break the revision whatever you happen to be using etc etc.

I think Media Portal reflects the good and bad of open source software - you get 110% of the features people want.  50% of them work as they should.  25% of them are in development, and will be fixed in the next 27 revisions, which are due sometime between the next 2 weeks, and the next 5 years, depending on when the development team, have the next pizza briefing to discuss the long term viability of implementing the new revision (c) of the feature release.  All of this however will be discussed fully in the public domain so that everyone knows what is going on.  The other 25% of the features are slated for development in Version 2, which is currently being worked on as a sideline to version 1.  However the development team may or may not continue the development of version 1, depending on whether Lars gets (a) a new job, (b) arrested for drug trafficking or piracy (c) gets a girlfirend (d) buys a realdoll...  The development community however are also working on the 25% work in progress, and will provide complete support using the following page (www.google.com).  Version 2 by the way is due sometime before the Rugby World cup, the development team are unable to say which one at this stage, it could be the next one, it could be the one after...

I could go on and on and on...Cool

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  # 239252 27-Jul-2009 09:10
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But on the flip side. WMC (Windows Media Center) doesn't support "standard" XMLTV format XML files to EPG (every other PVR software does).

Also don't discount GBPVR. Very similar to MP (some would argue doesn't look as pretty), but the recording engine is rock solid (some would argue the most stable). Similar features to MP, but developed by a single guy. With a fairly active developer community for plugins.

Development, and therefore extention of WMC was alway, I thought, it's falling down, in that the API wasn't that easy to use.

But yes i agree, these people that can run up a Windows 7 Machine, and get NZ Freeview|HD going pretty much out of the box, make a very telling reason to be using WMC, and not the other hoops that are needed to get the two free options going.




Previously known as psycik

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  # 239270 27-Jul-2009 10:04
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davidcole: But on the flip side. WMC (Windows Media Center) doesn't support "standard" XMLTV format XML files to EPG (every other PVR software does).


However that may change before the full release as MS seem to be working on getting something sorted. Failing that Big screen EPG already does this task very well (although is not as easy to setup and the rest of MC).







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  # 239330 27-Jul-2009 13:19
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I just did the switch from MP to 7MC and have found a few things worth noting about here.

The big one i noticed first was 7MC codecs. They worked great out of the box for everything except .mkv playback. It took me a little while but found 'mkv's for minimalists' on the Hack7MC site. Now, it's all good.

I had to steal vista audio drivers to get my Dolby through SPDIF to work properly.

MP's TV server system deals with channel mux's so one tuner can record multiple channels at the same time if they're on the same mux. 7MC can't, you have to have a spare tuner for each channel no matter what.

The customization options for 7MC are lacking. I can't reassign default hot-keys (red, blue, green and yellow in particular) of things like Pictures or the default Music library to third party options i have installed. This is a big pain and have had to disable the strips i don't want to use and put my partner through a HTPC refresher course (she was mighty angry at this after having just done a Bachelors in Media Portal degree for the last 3 years...)

Skin wise, i'm happy with how 7MC looks, but MP had a bunch of awesome skins i would prefer to use if i could.

The fact that within a few hours of installing 7MC i had a fully functioning HTPC with little tweaking was great. The MP install took days to configure nicely, but i think that this is due in part to the sheer amount of options i was actually able to tweak.

Now that i'm using Media Browser instead of MP's My Videos or Moving Pictures i've re-organised my media into folders with corresponding meta data in each folder. This is great for a longevity sense. As in, i don't have a db that i need to backup as all the data is in the folders with the movies. Just took a few serious hours with a meta data grabber to get it all sorted.

That's about all off the top of my head. There are a few things i don't like, but not enough to jump back to MP until its final 1.x release and before v.2 is developed further. At which point i think 7MC will be given a run for its money.



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  # 239494 27-Jul-2009 22:32
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For me, I agree that the Mediaportal configuration stages are a big downside. But, having got over that hump, I (and the kids) find mp's interface is fine. mp has lots of 3rd party plugins which many people use and swear by, including nicer skins.

I personally really like "one button music" to play N random songs from your collection. Does win7 have something like this?

I also really like mp's navigate +/-15sec,30sec,1m,3min+ feature using the left right arrow keys. Handy for skipping those ads. Does 7mc have something similar?

The biggest hurdle for me and 7mc would be price. Having recently shelled out for Vista Premium complete with useless (for FreeviewHD) media center, it rankles to have to buy a new operating system just to watch TV.





HTPC: Antec Fusion 430, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-UD2H F7, AMD X2 4850e, Sapphire 4670 1GB, Corsair 4x1Gb,  Adata 128Gb SSD, WD10EARS Green, LG GGC-H20L Blu-ray, Hauppauge NOVA TD-500, Logitech z-5500, Logitech Harmony 525, Samsung LA40B530 1080p, Vista Premium-32 SP2, Catalyst 10.12(Facelift preview), Mediaportal 1.2.3+OneButtonMusic, AC3Filter, Cyberlink Powercinema 6 codec, BLU-RAY: Samsung BD-F7500

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  # 239518 27-Jul-2009 23:56
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The big difference for me to stay with MP is the TV Server/client setup.
W7MC kind of does this with the media extenders/xbox360 but not with a computer.
I have one TVServer sitting in the corner that is running WHS with MP 1.0.2.
It has power, satellite, Sky deocder and ethernet connected and that's it.
I have an Asus Eeebox as my main client on the lounge TV (no HD viewing here so nice quiet box is all that is needed) and all our laptops have the MP client on them as well.
It means anyone can go and watch live TV/recorded TV anywhere in the house.

It didn't take me long at all to install and configure the MP TV server and the clients, it was easy.

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  # 239698 28-Jul-2009 13:18
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dale77:
I also really like mp's navigate +/-15sec,30sec,1m,3min+ feature using the left right arrow keys. Handy for skipping those ads. Does 7mc have something similar?


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