Anybody use a HTPC as their primary cable box? (re: CableCARD, etc) - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
Advanced Member
 
sofakng's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 916
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I'm thinking about switching from Dish Network to Comcast and building my own cable box (aka HTPC, DVR, etc).

The hardware isn't the problem... but I'm skeptical about running Windows 7 (and Media Center) as my primary cable box.

Right now the Dish Network DVR just works and my wife and in-laws (babysitters) are happy.

If I use Windows 7 Media Center (w/CableCARD) as the only cable box, I'm worried about windows being created and getting on top of the picture, windows losing focus and the remote not working, "Windows Needs Updating" messages in the corner, etc, etc, etc.

Has anybody done this and can tell me their experience?

Were you married when you made the changes? If so, are you still married?
sofakng is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 07:04 AM
Newbie
 
Jimal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I built a PC to replace my cable box. I was a bit nervous about the same types of issues, but I must admit it's great. You can control how much hard drive space your DVR has available to record to. I used the Ceton tuning adapter with a cable card from the cable company. I can record four shows at one time while playing back something previously recorded. Also with a built PC you can store all your photos, music, and movies in one place, then play them from the couch. My wife likes that she doesn't have to worry about if there is room to record stuff. And she can handle the UI.
Jimal is offline  
post #3 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 07:24 AM
AVS Special Member
 
pittsoccer33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Pittsburgh (East Liberty)
Posts: 1,830
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Liked: 193
if you get the thing running, and then dont touch it (as in update it and add extra stuff to it) it will run very well for you.

there is a setting in WMC to lock it into media mode - it starts up and opens WMC immediately, and then you cannot exit from it without a passcode.

you get the added benefit of not having to change the TV input to do different things - watch dvds, watch netflix, etc. everything launches from the same interface, so theres no screwing around with HDMI1, Component1, AV2, etc.

I played around with mine for 3 or 4 months before I started using it as a cable box and I have no complaints about it at all. i dont have missed recordings and the keyword scheduler has found lots of good educational programming i would have otherwise not known about.

the only problem I ever had was that something I did (by adding new programs) began causing a memory leak every time the xbox extender was connected. a system restore fixed it and I haven't touched setttings since.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
pittsoccer33 is offline  
post #4 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 08:02 AM
Newbie
 
Demati's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I had two Tivos on Comcast with cable cards a couple of months back. About three weeks ago I switched to Fios and got two cablecards and the 6CC HDHomerun Prime. I haven't looked back since!

It took about a day to setup and configure everything. I have an HTPC in the living room and a XBox 360 in the bedroom as an extender. I configured both the PC and the XBox to boot directly into Media Center. Everything is automatic. In fact my wife likes this setup alot more than the Tivos (which she also liked more than the Comcast DVR).

It is pretty nice having 6 tuners available throughout the house. Setup with the HDHomerun Prime was easy. It took no time at all. I downloaded the latest beta firmware for it and there are no issues. I went with a beta because I had an issue where it was misinterpreting a copy flag on a terrestrial channel.

Right now the PC and XBox are my main cable boxes and have been working great.
Demati is offline  
post #5 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 08:43 AM
 
cybrsage's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 8,074
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 147
Just know that you will NOT be able to access the On-Demand stuff from the Windows machine. Tru2way does not yet exist for PCs...doubtful it ever will.
cybrsage is offline  
post #6 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 10:26 AM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,515
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked: 121
I've had an HTPC with FIOS and a Ceton InfiniTV4 for over a year now. I just added a 2nd InfiniTV4 about a month ago and it's working great.

If this is your first attempt at a Windows Media Center PC, I would highly recommend that you get it set up and tweaked to get the bugs out before you get rid of your cable box. I tried to convert my family to a Media Center PC with extenders and it didn'ty go as well as I would have liked. The end result is that I still have a cable box on the bedroom TV and a S3 Tivo on the TV in the family room.

My HTPC is decated to my Home Theater setup and I absolutely love it. However, there were times when I wasn't quite so thrilled with it. The key is that I didn't throw in the towel and give up on it like so many have done before me. You've got to be willing to deal with issues if things don't go as smoothly as you'd like. The light at the end of the tunnel is definitely worth the effort you put into it.

You can build an HTPC using just about any components of your choosing. However, I would highly recommend that you go with one of the configurations put together by either assassin or renethx in the sticky threads at the top of this forum. Assassin also has pre-built HTPCs for sale on Amazon.com if you'd rather not deal with a DIY system.
captain_video is offline  
post #7 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 10:32 AM
Member
 
tcs2tx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 188
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

If this is your first attempt at a Windows Media Center PC, I would highly recommend that you get it set up and tweaked to get the bugs out before you get rid of your cable box.

I could not agree more with this recommendation. Get the kinks worked out before you introduce to the family. Once you have the HTPC working, it will likely be easier to operate than your current system because you can consolidate everything (cable box, cd player, blu-ray and/or DVD player, network media player, etc.) down to one audio and one video input. The elimination of multiple remotes was huge for acceptance by my family.
tcs2tx is offline  
post #8 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 10:42 AM
Advanced Member
 
genro's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
4 HTPCs (one being my regular desktop) as my primary (and sole) sources of TV via 2 HDHomerun Primes for the last couple of months.

Works great. I have WMC start on boot up. I disabled sleep (though I used to use it and had no major issues) to make things easier for my wife. All have Harmony remotes configured as well to make watching TV work by pressing one button. Disabled auto-updates, configured everything just as I like it (ffdshow/media control, mediabrowser, my channel logos, tuner salad, weekly backups, etc etc).

If you might build more than one HTPC I would recommend using the exact same components, build one and install the software (before activating windows), backing it up and using that as the source for the other builds. Saved me a lot of time doing it this way. I found building the HTPC itself takes <1hr now, but configuring software just right takes 4-8hrs easy.
genro is offline  
post #9 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 10:42 AM
Advanced Member
 
ncarty97's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 745
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 16
I went all HTPC about 4 months ago. Unfortunately, after working perfectly stable for about a month prior to the switch, my ceton card started giving me real problems where I had to go through the setup almost every other day. Turns out to have been a router issue and I finally no longer have that issue, but the wife was NOT happy for several weeks.

My overall impression is this: When it is working, an HTPC that handles ALL your multimedia needs CANNOT be beat, but when it isn't working, its a nightmare. I won't go back to a non HTPC DVR unless I have no choice, but as a backup, I got a second cablecard and put it into my TV. No DVR, but if the HTPC develops problems again, the wife can at least watch live TV no problem.
ncarty97 is offline  
post #10 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 10:58 AM
Member
 
tcs2tx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 188
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
There are a number of good recommendations that are coming up. To me, they all address the most important issue to me - striking a balance between having a system with great functional properties while also having high reliability and usability for the family. I think most of the threads here focus on squeezing every bit of performance out of the HTPC, which is great, but I now dial it back to make things easier for the family. Otherwise, the wife is unhappy and I get calls at work to troubleshoot over the phone.
tcs2tx is offline  
post #11 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 11:27 AM
AVS Special Member
 
blueiedgod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Amherst, NY
Posts: 1,483
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked: 62
Out WMC Media Center machine is the ONLY cable box in the house.

If you have decent quality components then reliability is not an issue. Especially if you don't push your system to the limits.

I have been doing HTPC since the 90's (Pinnacle, Titan.. ect), and when my wife, girlfriend then, came into the picture, she went through the transition without a problem. With WMC XP, HTPC took on another phase, where it became more mainstream, and with WMC 7, even my in-law's can use it without a problem.

With an HTPC and 4 extenders, we have 5 TV's in the house that are soon to be expanded to 6 when the basement rooms are finished.

Things to consider:

KISS - keep it simple silly. Use programmable remotes like Harmony, to make the transition seamless and transparent to the operator.

You don't need today's top of the line hardware, top of the line hardware from 3 years ago will do the same, and will have a proven track of reliability.

Look for military grade components, i.e. solid tantalum capacitors, ceramic resistors.

Keep the HTPC as its only task, don't use it to surf the internet, or check mail. It just adds unnecessary possibilities of someone messing it up. Lock it down in WMC mode.

If you are going with the extenders, consider wreing the house. Wireless is where you can get into problems.

Edit:

I second the idea of having battery back ups on everything, HTPC, router, switches, extenders, server... It lessesns the risk of something getting messed up from a power spike.

Also, consider isolating your TV traffic from internet traffic via switches that are dedicated to the TV traffic, and leave the service provider's router to deal with DHCP tables and internet traffic.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
blueiedgod is offline  
post #12 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 11:28 AM
AVS Special Member
 
erickotz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 1,123
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 30
I've been using an InfiniTV in a PC since June, 2009 as my main PC, and haven't had a Cable Box for longer (I was using ATI DCT's before that).
Works for me - the best suggestion I have is don't treat it like a PC - don't tweak/change things and it will keep working.

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
erickotz is offline  
post #13 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 11:32 AM
Advanced Member
 
jeff lam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 680
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I notice reading that sevral of you guys had Tivo's in the past before the HTPC. I am currently building my first HTPC but have been using Tivo's for the last 10 years. Gotta love that Tivo interface compared to the other cable and dish DVR garbage interface.

Anyway, was it difficult to make the change from the Tivo interface to the HTPC? I currently have a S3 with 2 S cable cards, and a 1TB drive installed and it has been great for me for the past 4 years. I too am afraid of making the switch and having issues.

My wife loves her TV time and if things don't go the way i'm planning with this HTPC, things could get messy for me. My wife also has a hard time with change but I did convince her to try the HTPC out. I hope it goes well.
jeff lam is offline  
post #14 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 12:31 PM
Member
 
Norsican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 160
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Can this be done with the XBMC interface? I don't see anyone mentioning anything other than WMC.

THERE IS NO NORSICAN, THERE IS ONLY ZUUL
Norsican is offline  
post #15 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 01:03 PM
AVS Special Member
 
gtgray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,379
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked: 44
You can have router issues, you can have sleep issues. I highly suggest you use all Intel including using their Media Board brand main boards. You get the reliability of the Intel Nic. Make sure your host and clients PC properly sleep and resume from sleep. Intel boards do. I would also suggest you have a small UPS on both the Ceton Host PC and the Router.

Other than that KISS is the rule to follow. If you are going to try a new driver for example due it on the least important client and make sure it does not introduce instabilities. I just went through and issue where the latest Nvidia driver breaks video playback in WMC.. you get audio but but a black screen. Fortunately I discovered this on my personal desktop which while setup as a clientto the Ceton can easily be rolled back without effecting the Ceton host or the other PCs in the house.

A lot to be said for using the same hardware everywhere. I suggest the Intel i3 processor, the Intel DH67BL main board and something like the Antec Earthwatts EA380D Green PSU. You can use the green hard drive of your choice.

I think the Ceton is a little more demanding of everything being right. The HD Primes are stand alone devices and so that eliminates one major variable.

For example while typing this I got a momentary glitch and received the infamous subscription required blue screen. I never saw such a thing with a Tivo.

I am committed to the PC as my cable delivery system, but don't let anyone tell you that it WILL BE problem free getting it going or keeping it going.

It COULD BE problem free.. this is kind of a random thing. A lot depends on your provider and the quality of signal your provider sends to your home and the quality of the wiring to the tuner.

You can make it work for you with patience, but it is not an appliance like the Tivo.

Just another blank signature.
gtgray is offline  
post #16 of 35 Old 10-27-2011, 01:49 PM
AVS Special Member
 
hlkc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
OP,

Happy Ceton user here replaced Comcast from DirectTV and using this box as a nothing but DVR and BD player functionality. Same advice as others, don't tweak to much, add anything more than you need, don't use this box for your work and you will be happy HTPC DVR user IMO.
hlkc is offline  
post #17 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 05:34 AM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,515
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by erickotz View Post

I've been using an InfiniTV in a PC since June, 2009 ....

That's a pretty good trick considering they didn't start shipping until August of 2010. They didn't take pre-orders for the InfiniTV4 until March of 2010. I was one of the lucky ones to get mine in the first production batch they shipped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff lam View Post

I notice reading that sevral of you guys had Tivo's in the past before the HTPC. I am currently building my first HTPC but have been using Tivo's for the last 10 years. Gotta love that Tivo interface compared to the other cable and dish DVR garbage interface.

Anyway, was it difficult to make the change from the Tivo interface to the HTPC? I currently have a S3 with 2 S cable cards, and a 1TB drive installed and it has been great for me for the past 4 years. I too am afraid of making the switch and having issues.

My wife loves her TV time and if things don't go the way i'm planning with this HTPC, things could get messy for me. My wife also has a hard time with change but I did convince her to try the HTPC out. I hope it goes well.

I had zero problems personally making the transition from Tivo to HTPC. I've been a Tivo user and hacker/upgrader since they first came out.

I made the mistake of trying to transition the family over to HTPC use with extenders before working out all the bugs and now I'll never convince them to come back. The biggest problem with having a central PC for viewing TV is if the PC has issues, the whole system falls apart. I have enough patience to deal with the issues, but it's hard to convince the rest of the family to sit tight when they want to watch TV. As such, I'm the only one in the family that uses the HTPC full-time.

My S3 Tivo with lifetime now acts as a digital tuner for a 42" Sony flat screen in the family room. I was actually surprised that the wife accepted the Tivo with no complaints, which is extremely rare for her when she has to deal with any unfamiliar technology. The only reason I'm still using the Tivo is that it's cheaper to pay for two cablecards at $2.99 apiece (I'm grandfathered in under the original rate) than rent an HD cable box from Verizon. I don't have VOD capability, but I never used it anyway.
captain_video is offline  
post #18 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 05:49 AM
AVS Special Member
 
pittsoccer33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Pittsburgh (East Liberty)
Posts: 1,830
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Liked: 193
eric works for ceton

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
pittsoccer33 is offline  
post #19 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 06:44 AM
Member
 
wsume99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

That's a pretty good trick considering they didn't start shipping until August of 2010. They didn't take pre-orders for the InfiniTV4 until March of 2010. I was one of the lucky ones to get mine in the first production batch they shipped.

I guess you missed his signature which indicates that he works for Ceton.
I suppose that means he was one of the really lucky ones to have access to pre-production hardware.

Back on topic ... I currently use a Hauppage 2250 to record TV (ATSC and NTSC) but use my cable box for watching live TV. That has made the transition a little easier for my wife. I've been using this for well over a year now and I'd like to take it to the next level and toss the cable box, but before I throw down a pile of money on a cable card tuner I'm wondering how responsive it will be when changing channels. My wife already gripes today about the delay when changing channels with the cable box (Time Warner) which I'd have to agree is pretty pathetic. I believe that I'll be forced to use a tuning adapter with my provider so I'm not sure if that will have any impact on this.
wsume99 is offline  
post #20 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 06:56 AM
AVS Special Member
 
pittsoccer33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Pittsburgh (East Liberty)
Posts: 1,830
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Liked: 193
ever since cable went digital and you could scroll through a mini guide at the bottom of the screen i quit channel surfing. that is much faster and you can actually see whats supposed to be on, not a commercial for Tide or an ambulance chaser.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
pittsoccer33 is offline  
post #21 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 07:06 AM
AVS Special Member
 
StardogChampion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 2,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked: 117
I look at my HTPCs and lack of cable box and think about how that's saving me $120/mo. My HTPCs can only tune unencrypted QAM right now. Next year, after they've paid for themselves, I'll probably get an Ceton for my WHS2011 and add back some of the cable channels I really miss -- sports stuff like ESPN, NESN and VS but most of all HGTV .

We had a HTPC in our living room for about 2 years before getting rid of the cable boxes. The family got to really LOVE the HTPC, especially the kids since they can pick whatever they want whenever they want w/o asking Mom or Dad to put a disc in. Mom and Dad love it because there's no cleaning fingerprints, milk, cheerios, etc. off the disc before putting it in .

WAF has been very high. I've spent a lot of late nights fixing and making thing work though to get that WAF up there. I'll go long stretches when I don't need to do anything but then something will break somewhere and it's time to play sysadmin. It'd probably been 15 years since I'd messed with PC hardware before I built my HTPC. Now I've got a little side business building PCs and I spend most of my time lurking at PC-related website and forums instead of running, biking, swimming, spending time with my family and whatever other hobbies I used to have. I've spent all the money we'd probably have used to take the kids to Disney World on PC hardware and software. So, there is a price to pay .

Overall, we'll never go back to cable boxes. No way.

 

 

StardogChampion is offline  
post #22 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 07:28 AM
AVS Special Member
 
pkscout's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,033
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norsican View Post

Can this be done with the XBMC interface? I don't see anyone mentioning anything other than WMC.

Not really.

1- XBMC in its current stable release doesn't do TV recordings. There is a branch that is trying to integrate DVR functionality, and my impression is that it isn't ready for prime time.

2- Even when it does that, you won't be able to get to any of the encrypted channels (i.e. the cablecard ones). WMC is the only option for that.

That said, I use a combination of SAGETV and XMBC to record and manage all my OTA and unencrypted cable channels, and I love it. It's a good deal more work to get it working, and it requires ongoing babysitting, but I can get not only the stuff I record but stuff from Amazon, Hulu, and other web sites integrated into one list. WMC doesn't quite do that.
pkscout is offline  
post #23 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 08:49 AM
Member
 
wsume99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

ever since cable went digital and you could scroll through a mini guide at the bottom of the screen i quit channel surfing. that is much faster and you can actually see whats supposed to be on, not a commercial for Tide or an ambulance chaser.

That is exactly what I do as well when I'm watching live TV. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts over the past 2-3 years my wife absolutely refuses to adopt that method. She still channel surfs. To make matters worse she still tunes to channel 22 for NBC because that is what it used to be in our area like 10 years ago. Now it is some kind of Catholic Chuch channel. I guess old habits die hard. So my question was more related to WAF because she channel surfs. If channel tuning is slower with a CC tuner in WMC than it currently is with my cable box then I might be in trouble.
wsume99 is offline  
post #24 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 08:57 AM
AVS Special Member
 
captain_video's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Posts: 3,515
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by wsume99 View Post

I guess you missed his signature which indicates that he works for Ceton.
I suppose that means he was one of the really lucky ones to have access to pre-production hardware.

I totally missed that.
captain_video is offline  
post #25 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 11:07 AM
Senior Member
 
tgrinch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 404
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Another very happy Ceton user - made the switch about 8 months ago. Definately nervous at first b/c you reach a point of no return/investment so it feels very high risk initially.

As others said, don't tweak! Granted, I do this just make sure things run as well as it can.

Honestly, I'd recommend just using extenders and save using the HTPC/ itself for rooms like a dedicated media room; it just avoides the possible windows type of issues to the end users. Xbox360s are great extenders and are simple to use - not to say that isn't true about the HTPC itself, but it just avoids potential front end issues.

Be aware of DRM - so if your cable provider flags all their content, don't expect to use different PC's to watch the same recorded content. Extenders don't have this issue, hence why I suggest then - not to mention consolidated guide, etc.

I'd also invest in a good switch - I use a HP procurve gigabit switch and have had very good success with the system (including steaming mkvs for movie watching to the extenders).

Yes I am married and still married during the switch - WAF has been very high thus far, outside a few growing pain glitches with Ceton drivers (if you don't require a TA, consider yourself lucky ). However, they seem very stable at this point IMO.

To prove how much I believe in this system, I'm building my folks a near-identical setup *gasp*! Yes, potential "tech support" calls but the system really is very, very stable if you plan accordingly; else I wouldn't do it for anyone else.
tgrinch is offline  
post #26 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 12:57 PM
Member
 
blushrts's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 55
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
I'll just add my .02. Kiss as many have said; use it for HTPC use exclusively, turn off windows updates, once you have it working as you like don't touch it. I've been using a windows 7 HTPC for over a year as my only device to watch television. Originally had a pair of ATI DCTs, now have the Ceton Infintv. Lucked out and bought a used XBox 360 on Ebay for $20 (It doesn't read game discs, but otherwise works) to use as an extender on my 2nd television. I also think if you can avoid it, don't watch media grabbed off the internet. Not because I care one way or the other about whether it is right or wrong. There will be lots of people here advocating certain codec packs or whatnot, but there are tons of threads about people who have messed up the system installing codecs, just one more thing that can complicate things IMO.
blushrts is offline  
post #27 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 01:56 PM
AVS Special Member
 
sebberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,248
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked: 25
I'd love to use my HTPC for TV/PVR duty, but up here in the Great White North CableCARD is considered evil
sebberry is offline  
post #28 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 04:46 PM
Newbie
 
stempb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

I look at my HTPCs and lack of cable box and think about how that's saving me $120/mo. .

Stardog,

How do you save $120/mo? You are still paying for cable correct? Were you paying this much in DVR Fees?

All,

I currently have an old analog CRT TV (yes that is right). It is giving me hints it is ready to give up the ghost so I plan to replace it soon with a HDTV and I am thinking of adding an HTPC. But I am looking at dropping DirectTV and going to terrestrial TV. There is nothing but garbage on much of cable anymore anyway.

I complained to DTV that the only way to make DTV watchable is to have DVR so that I can record the few decent shows when I am not around. I get my DVR service for free from them.
stempb is offline  
post #29 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 05:21 PM
Advanced Member
 
sievers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 517
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wsume99 View Post

So my question was more related to WAF because she channel surfs. If channel tuning is slower with a CC tuner in WMC than it currently is with my cable box then I might be in trouble.

I've only used comcast motorola cable boxes but the w7mc interface, when using a ceton, seems to tune channels quite a bit faster than those motorola boxes. (actually I had a dish box for a while, that was a pretty good box, but I think it was pretty slow changing channels too)

Of course, when I first turn on my htpc, I have to wait about a minute before anything comes in. It sounds so trivial, but when you are used to having tv turn on almost instantly, it gets old. (if anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know, but from what I've gathered, it's the drm that slows everything down and there's nothing that can be done) Then I tried using sleep mode, but have had issues with that as well. I did a rebuild at one point so I still need to get back to trying sleep mode again. At the moment I'm in the habit of just turning on the htpc when I get up, and then whenever the tv gets turned on, the ceton will already be up and running. Then at the end of the day I turn it off.

But then there are other issues. First I had a hardware issue. Twice now, I have had to grudgingly pull out the cable box and hook it up, because some shows that my wife wanted to watch were coming on and the htpc was out of commission. After getting frustrated with that for a few weeks, I think I finally got it resolved with some new memory.

But there's plenty more that can go wrong. HDMI handshaking seems to be a frequent trouble maker. Sometimes when I turn on my tv, I get the wrong resolution and have to go manually correct it. Sometimes the sound doesn't come on. Sometimes I can fix that, others I just have to reboot.

I'm also dealing with (I think) a weak signal, that causes some channels to stutter. Didn't get that from the cable box. I think I need to run some new coax under the house, the current cable is old and not in good shape, and my signal strength is low. So while this and the HDMI thing are not technically issues with the htpc, you will run into peripheral issues that you didn't have with the cable box.

I'm nearing the 3 month mark since I built my htpc. Once I replace the cable under the house, I will be pretty close to returning the cable box to comcast. Hoping for this year. The bad memory really got me started on the wrong foot, but now that the system is stable, WAF is also stabilizing. Because once you have worked thru all the issues... it truly is amazing! Took a little training my wife to get used to it, she was definitely resistant, but honestly it's the exact same buttons you see on any cable box - menu, guide, info, exit, arrows, ok, last, transport controls... you are pressing all the same buttons you would on a cable box, the interface just looks different. Would be no different than switching to a different cable box. Then it's just a matter of learning that now, the menu is just a little bigger, and you can do a lot of things besides just watching tv. The movie library is working out very well, beats popping discs in and out any day.

If your wife is not as excited about the htpc as you are, there's only one way to go - don't return the cable box until you have worked out the bugs.
sievers is online now  
post #30 of 35 Old 10-28-2011, 06:38 PM
AVS Special Member
 
StardogChampion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 2,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by stempb View Post

How do you save $120/mo? You are still paying for cable correct? Were you paying this much in DVR Fees?

Cable + Internet was $200/mo. We had one of the packages with a couple of HD DVRs. It kept going up and up and eventually when it topped $200 I'd had enough. I dropped cable down to the basic (just networks) cable and kept the sam internet and now it's $70/mo. So, I guess that's really $130/mo. saved.

The only channels we lost that we ACTUALLY WATCHED are HGTV, ESPN, NESN and Versus. Those 4 channels, as hard as it is not to watch MNF, TdF and the Bruins, is not worth the difference.

 

 

StardogChampion is offline  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off