Multi-room networked HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-06-2010, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm planning on building a 24TB HTPC running Windows 7 Ultimate (Media Center). This will link into my existing setup using an HDMI and S/PDIF card for audio and video.

The trick to this application is that I would like to extend the HTPC for multi-room viewing and ensure that when content is paused, it can be resumed in another location. For this I would obviously need an IR method of controlling the main HTPC from the remote location, but what would be the best way to get the content to stream or transmitted to the remote location (about 100' away)?

In this box I would have 4 PCI-X and one PCI-E slot and 2 are taken up with HDMI and S/PDIF. What else is needed to complete this such that I can bring up the video in the remote location and resume playback?

Many thanks.
/torben
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-06-2010, 12:33 PM
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SageTV with an extender (or client pc) at each remote location. Connected by wired LAN.

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-06-2010, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for quick response. It looks to me like the SageTV HD Theater is in fact an extender and it's not clear how this will allow me to pause content in the main location and resume it in another. I currently use my xbox360 as an extender until I get my HTPC completed. Can you explain how this would work with resuming content? Are you talking strictly about SageTV software that's mainly a media center replacement and centered around tv scheduling and recording?
Thanks.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-06-2010, 01:30 PM
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Yes, the HD Theater can be used in "standalone mode" as a Network Media Player, ie a device that operates by itself and plays files off the LAN. I'm thinking you think (incorrectly) that "Extender" means Network Media Player, quite the contrary.

The real power is when you run it as an "Extender", in that form it operates as part of a SageTV system.

How are you using your Xbox today? I'd have thought that when using that as a Windows Media Center Extender (ie connected to WMC giving you the WMC UI on the Xbox) that it would allow pausing of content and resuming elsewhere. If not, sounds like a limitation of the WMC design, not of extenders in general.

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post #5 of 11 Old 09-06-2010, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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So right now I use my 360 as an extender to my hobbled media center PC. It's actually an HP Media Server edition that I modified to run Windows 7. I like the UI and plugins for the 360 media center and right now it's my bridge to the content. This runs over a powerline adapter. I've never tried pausing content in one place and resuming it in another because I only have one 360.

So to recap, what I would need is the HD Theater and the SageTV software on my server and I'm good to go? I assume that there will be no conflicts if I run SageTV software as well as Media Center on my windows 7 box using my current setup until my new server is running?

Thanks
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-06-2010, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinal View Post

So right now I use my 360 as an extender to my hobbled media center PC. It's actually an HP Media Server edition that I modified to run Windows 7. I like the UI and plugins for the 360 media center and right now it's my bridge to the content. This runs over a powerline adapter. I've never tried pausing content in one place and resuming it in another because I only have one 360.

Well I would expect it to work. You should be able to find out by pausing/stopping something on the Xbox and trying to pick it up on the PC.

Quote:


So to recap, what I would need is the HD Theater and the SageTV software on my server and I'm good to go? I assume that there will be no conflicts if I run SageTV software as well as Media Center on my windows 7 box using my current setup until my new server is running?

Thanks

They'll likely fight over tuners, so you'd have to either disable one, or not configure tuners on one.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-06-2010, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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So here's the fun part. Because the 360 is somewhat crippled with it's ability to play back VOB files (ripped dvd content) I've had to install a helper app called Transcode DVD on my current HTPC to help me play back the VOB files in order, without pausing between files. Because of this, it appears that VOB content does not show up in the "Now playing" section of Windows Media Center. Other files such as MKV and AVI do, so in part this works as you described.

This is one of the main reasons I'm moving away from the 360 as an extender because the codec support is horrible, and instead moving to video direct from an HTPC.

I have no plans to install tuners so I don't think the tuner fight comes into play. In the interim I assume my 360 will talk to SageTV software (not using media center interface)? Or is the software and hardware designed to work together exclusively?
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-07-2010, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinal View Post

I have no plans to install tuners so I don't think the tuner fight comes into play. In the interim I assume my 360 will talk to SageTV software (not using media center interface)? Or is the software and hardware designed to work together exclusively?

The 360 will not talk to Sage. Sage is designed to work by itself with Sage extenders accessing Sage, etc.

That said, if you do ever intend to add tuners, Sage records to an open .TS format that is easily read by other players/programs (I still don't know if the 360 would acknowledge the files though.) You just wouldn't get the same integrated menus and the file names will be somewhat random (still, it is useful if you just want to pull an episode onto a laptop to take with you quickly or some such.)

Also, you don't have to worry about needing trickery programs to get the Sage extenders to play DVDs and such. They will play them as is. Just rip and watch.

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post #9 of 11 Old 09-07-2010, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Well that's good to know - thanks everyone.
From what I can tell, in order to accomplish what I want, I can use any decent extender like the one from Seagate or whatever and on the main HTPC use XBMC as opposed to SageTV Media Center. Since I don't plan on using this for recording any shows, XBMC seems to be a viable solution as well, no?
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-07-2010, 01:49 PM
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I think you're confusing "extenders" with "Network Media Players" (NMP), they have a lot of things in common, but they are not the same things. Most of the boxes you see floating around are NMPs, they're boxes that allow you to play content from locations on your home network (and sometimes the internet) or local storage/connected hard drives. These are stand alone devices, they don't work or integrate with anything else, they just do their own thing.

Extenders are similar (SageTV ones in particular because they can act as just simple NMPs), in that they play content off the network, but beyond that they integrate with a server for access to a central database, be it of metadata, show info, EPG, etc. They "extend" the functionality present on the PC (EPG, Metadata, watched status, watched position, etc) to the TV via a "box".

I haven't really followed XBMC or many of the NMPs, but I expect the Seagate you're talking about (GoFlexTV or FreeAgent Theater+) are simply Network Media Players, not Extenders.

The only two systems I'm aware of with official Extenders are Windows Media Center (Xbox 360), and SageTV (HD Theater). It's possible XBMC has some sort of replacement firmware or something for some/certain NMPs but like I said I haven't followed them so I'm not sure.

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post #11 of 11 Old 09-08-2010, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

The only two systems I'm aware of with official Extenders are Windows Media Center (Xbox 360), and SageTV (HD Theater). It's possible XBMC has some sort of replacement firmware or something for some/certain NMPs but like I said I haven't followed them so I'm not sure.

technically you can use myth with a mediamvp as an extender, but I don't think that combo is very popular.
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