"Server PC", InfiniTV 4, MCEBuddy, and FIOS Questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-31-2012, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll be moving into a new home in NY soon and plan on using FIOS. I've Been doing a lot of research but wanted to clear up some of my confusion as I know this site has a lot of experienced users with this topic.
I have a "server PC" (W7Pro) with all of my media stored on it that I use to stream to my two HTPCs(W7)... My plan was to install an Infinitv4 on the "central PC" and use that card to "stream" live TV to the HTPCs.

1. If I use this setup, will I be able to press record on the HTPCs and have the live TV recorded onto the "server PC" hard drives?
2. Will those recordings be accessible on both of the HTPCs, or only the one that "initiated" the recording?
3. Will my X-Box be able to play all live TV recordings?
4. Do the tuners have to be "married" to one particular HTPC?
5. I've heard a little about MCEBuddy; does anyone use this program, will it allow me to convert TV recorded from FIOS to other "un-proprietary" formats?

Thanks for reading, any input is appreciated.

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post #2 of 14 Old 07-31-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrikeOne33 View Post

I'll be moving into a new home in NY soon and plan on using FIOS. I've Been doing a lot of research but wanted to clear up some of my confusion as I know this site has a lot of experienced users with this topic.
I have a "server PC" (W7Pro) with all of my media stored on it that I use to stream to my two HTPCs(W7)... My plan was to install an Infinitv4 on the "central PC" and use that card to "stream" live TV to the HTPCs.

I personally think your best bet with fios is to put the tuner on the "server" and let it handle the recordings... with this setup the HTPCs won't be doing any recording but will still play most recordings without an extender. The problem is live tv as htpcs can't be extenders so they can't play "remote" live tv, (though it might be possible to play the recorded file prior to it completely being recorded. More after question 4)
Quote:

1. If I use this setup, will I be able to press record on the HTPCs and have the live TV recorded onto the "server PC" hard drives?

Its generally best to record to the local drive... if one of your htpcs is doing the recording it should record to the htpc drive and then move it later to the server. It is possible to map drives and/or use iscsi to record directly to the server but many have problems with this approach
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2. Will those recordings be accessible on both of the HTPCs, or only the one that "initiated" the recording?
currently most of fios is copy freely so any of those recordings can be viewed on other pcs, but I keep hearing of more and more becoming copy once which will be protected. Someone recently said AMC and others in addition to the premiums like HBO, what I don't know if this was because AMC often uses CGMS and verizon isn't setting the CCI flag properly to override it, or if cci is actually at copy once.... It may vary by market.
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3. Will my X-Box be able to play all live TV recordings?
as extenders they have access to all recordings and live tv. Can only be paired to one media center pc at a time but each media center pc can watch any folders that others record to and include them in its library (provided there isn't any copy protection)
Quote:
4. Do the tuners have to be "married" to one particular HTPC?
You can set up the tuner as network tuners and assign two tuners to the server, and one to each htpc if you really need live tv at each htpc and want to be able to press the record button at each htpc... generally for doing what you want, extenders are best for the viewing locations not htpcs. I believe with SD's HomeRun Prime you can configure it as a pool of tuners on each computer but I have heard people having lots of problems with losing tuners when you do this.
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5. I've heard a little about MCEBuddy; does anyone use this program, will it allow me to convert TV recorded from FIOS to other "un-proprietary" formats?
should work as long as the content is copy freely
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-31-2012, 10:52 AM
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Be aware that fios is starting to encrypt some of its content. A user in ny reported premiums like hbo and some others like amc were encrypted last week.

So mce buddy won't work for those and recordings are locked to the pc they were recorded on. Unless you get an extender of course.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-31-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Its worth mentioning that none of my HTPCs have storage drives, only SSD boot drives.

Given the above information I think I have devised a new plan for the house.
Ideal Plan:
Office: "ServerPC" (W7Pro) Ceton InfiniTV4 PCIe
Living Room: HTPC1 WMC
Den: HTPC2 WMC
Bedroom: Cable Box
With this plan I can press record from either HTPC, and have the recording written to a HDD on the "server". These recordings can be accessed from either of the HTPCs.
I believe this plan will only work with Copy Freely content.
But for some reason it's not recommended to record this way even if content is copy freely? I don't understand why however, the cable-card is in the server anyway right?

New Plan: probably more realistic
Office: "ServerPC" (W7Pro) Ceton InfiniTV4 PCIe
Living Room: HTPC1 WMC
Den: X-Box WMC extender
Bedroom: Cable Box
With this plan I will still press record from either HTPC, and have the recording written to a HDD on the "server".
I think this plan "protects" me from copy protection by setting up the x-box as an extender of the Living Room HTPC.

Please let me know if there are any flaws in the new plan, or if there are ways to have the "Ideal Plan" work.
Also if there will be any way to access recorded content in the bedroom. (I think I will wait for the Ceton Echo for this, as I do not want another X-box in the mix)

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post #5 of 14 Old 08-01-2012, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrikeOne33 View Post

Its worth mentioning that none of my HTPCs have storage drives, only SSD boot drives.
Given the above information I think I have devised a new plan for the house.
Ideal Plan:
Office: "ServerPC" (W7Pro) Ceton InfiniTV4 PCIe
Living Room: HTPC1 WMC
Den: HTPC2 WMC
Bedroom: Cable Box
With this plan I can press record from either HTPC, and have the recording written to a HDD on the "server". These recordings can be accessed from either of the HTPCs.
I believe this plan will only work with Copy Freely content.
But for some reason it's not recommended to record this way even if content is copy freely? I don't understand why however, the cable-card is in the server anyway right?
New Plan: probably more realistic
Office: "ServerPC" (W7Pro) Ceton InfiniTV4 PCIe
Living Room: HTPC1 WMC
Den: X-Box WMC extender
Bedroom: Cable Box
With this plan I will still press record from either HTPC, and have the recording written to a HDD on the "server".
I think this plan "protects" me from copy protection by setting up the x-box as an extender of the Living Room HTPC.
Please let me know if there are any flaws in the new plan, or if there are ways to have the "Ideal Plan" work.
Also if there will be any way to access recorded content in the bedroom. (I think I will wait for the Ceton Echo for this, as I do not want another X-box in the mix)

Why not go with Ceton in the server, as suggested, and use extenders/xBOX in living room, den, and bedroom?

Or, if you want to separate duties, leave server as the server, and dedicate HTPC 1 to house the ceton, and a smallish hard drive in the livingroom, and use extenders/xbox in den and bedrooms?

This way you elimiate the need to pay for the cable box, when you have perfectly capable 4 tuner unit that can serve the whole house.

WE have 1 HTPC and 4 extenders with 5 TV's in the house, the only up-charge we have from Verizon is $4/month cablecard rental.

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!!!
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-01-2012, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrikeOne33 View Post

Its worth mentioning that none of my HTPCs have storage drives, only SSD boot drives.
Given the above information I think I have devised a new plan for the house.
Ideal Plan:
Office: "ServerPC" (W7Pro) Ceton InfiniTV4 PCIe
Living Room: HTPC1 WMC
Den: HTPC2 WMC
Bedroom: Cable Box
With this plan I can press record from either HTPC, and have the recording written to a HDD on the "server". These recordings can be accessed from either of the HTPCs.
I believe this plan will only work with Copy Freely content.
But for some reason it's not recommended to record this way even if content is copy freely? I don't understand why however, the cable-card is in the server anyway right?
New Plan: probably more realistic
Office: "ServerPC" (W7Pro) Ceton InfiniTV4 PCIe
Living Room: HTPC1 WMC
Den: X-Box WMC extender
Bedroom: Cable Box
With this plan I will still press record from either HTPC, and have the recording written to a HDD on the "server".
I think this plan "protects" me from copy protection by setting up the x-box as an extender of the Living Room HTPC.
Please let me know if there are any flaws in the new plan, or if there are ways to have the "Ideal Plan" work.
Also if there will be any way to access recorded content in the bedroom. (I think I will wait for the Ceton Echo for this, as I do not want another X-box in the mix)
How do you plan to hit record on any htpc and have it record on the server? Just curious. WMC won't let you set a networked drive as the recorder. I think it is possible
but not with standard drive sharing. Just curious if you already have that part figured out.
Also do you plan to assign a tuner from the ceton to each htpc? With the Ceton you either need to assign it or they can't use it. Its not use on demand like the silicon dust tuner.

That's why I agree with above poster extenders are the way to go. Although imo the only in production extender (xbox 360) sucks for anything beside TV duties. Thats why I am waiting for the Ceton Echo.
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-02-2012, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by whiteboy714 View Post

How do you plan to hit record on any htpc and have it record on the server? Just curious. WMC won't let you set a networked drive as the recorder. I think it is possible
but not with standard drive sharing. Just curious if you already have that part figured out.
Also do you plan to assign a tuner from the ceton to each htpc? With the Ceton you either need to assign it or they can't use it. Its not use on demand like the silicon dust tuner.
That's why I agree with above poster extenders are the way to go. Although imo the only in production extender (xbox 360) sucks for anything beside TV duties. Thats why I am waiting for the Ceton Echo.
I did not realize that recording to the server would be an issue, so I guess I will either have to figure that out or...
perhaps it would be best to install the tuner in HTPC1, record to HTPC1's HDD, and simply assign one tuner to HTPC2(for live TV viewing only)... the other TVs in the house can use extenders(off HTPC1).
I guess I haven't given much thought to TV recordings as I have never owned a DVR before, so naturally I don't watch a lot of recorded TV. My main concern is that I have HTPCs on the two main TVs for their ability to play my MKV ripped blu-ray and DVD library which is growing to over 300 titles. My x-box extender has always been troublesome with this.
Is their a way to schedule recordings on HTPC1(tuner installed) without physically being in front of HTPC1? Can a recording be set from an extender?

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post #8 of 14 Old 08-02-2012, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by StrikeOne33 View Post

I did not realize that recording to the server would be an issue, so I guess I will either have to figure that out or...
perhaps it would be best to install the tuner in HTPC1, record to HTPC1's HDD, and simply assign one tuner to HTPC2(for live TV viewing only)... the other TVs in the house can use extenders(off HTPC1).
I guess I haven't given much thought to TV recordings as I have never owned a DVR before, so naturally I don't watch a lot of recorded TV. My main concern is that I have HTPCs on the two main TVs for their ability to play my MKV ripped blu-ray and DVD library which is growing to over 300 titles. My x-box extender has always been troublesome with this.
Is their a way to schedule recordings on HTPC1(tuner installed) without physically being in front of HTPC1? Can a recording be set from an extender?

When you use extenders, you can shedule a recording from any TV, and view it on any TV. If you use multiple HTPC's you will only be able to shcedule it on that HTPC and if it is copyright protected, you will only be able to play it on that HTPC.

Unless you have multiple very large TV's, you may be able to get away with HTPC conected to the "main TV" the one that will benefit from high quality MKV's, and while you are at it converting your movies to MKV, you can also encode them in an extender friendly format like DIVX or XVID. But, yeah, if you have four 80" plus TV's ($3,000+) in the house, then cost of additional HTPC's is going to be the least of your concerns.

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!!!
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-02-2012, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrikeOne33 View Post

I did not realize that recording to the server would be an issue, so I guess I will either have to figure that out or...
perhaps it would be best to install the tuner in HTPC1, record to HTPC1's HDD, and simply assign one tuner to HTPC2(for live TV viewing only)... the other TVs in the house can use extenders(off HTPC1).
I guess I haven't given much thought to TV recordings as I have never owned a DVR before, so naturally I don't watch a lot of recorded TV. My main concern is that I have HTPCs on the two main TVs for their ability to play my MKV ripped blu-ray and DVD library which is growing to over 300 titles. My x-box extender has always been troublesome with this.
Is their a way to schedule recordings on HTPC1(tuner installed) without physically being in front of HTPC1? Can a recording be set from an extender?
There is a way to record over the network you need to use iSCSI. Honestly I know nothing about it. Not sure if the pc doing the recording needs to be a server. Heres a recent thread with some info.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1419521/iscsi-windows-home-server-2011-and-live-recorded-tv

You can't set recordings from a different HTPC through media center. But there are things like Remote Potato. You can control recordings and all that from any browser.
As of now if Fios is still copy freely. You will be able to share the main HTPC's recordings with the 2nd htpc. So you could just do all the recordings on the main system.

Your mkv library is easy as far as htpc's go so your good there. Your stuck in the middle, the xbox is good for tv but sucks for movies. The htpc is good for everything except sharing encrypted tv.

Hopefully the Ceton Echo brings the two together.
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-04-2012, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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This is a bit of a let down, I was hoping to store all recordings on the "server" from all HTPCs...
For simplicity's sake I think my new plan will be to use only one of my HTPCs(after I install a 2TB HDD) on my main TV (den), and use extenders for all other TVs. Perhaps I will put my other HTPC on the living room which doesn't really get much TV watching action, put will benefit from the Pandora capabilities of the HTPC.
I'm going to install the Ceton in the "server", and pair one tuner to the living room and the other three to the den.
I really hope this new extender from ceton solves some of my issues, I really need an extender that can properly play all of my MKVs.

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post #11 of 14 Old 01-25-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Not to bump a thread for no reason... I just wanted to post my solution for those who may be searching for similar answers.

My setup now is:
Fios TV and internet.
"Server" PC in my office with all of my ripped movies. (blu-ray ripped to MKV)
HTPC in the den witch is the main TV/Movie watching room. (Ceton Infinitv4 PCIe, 2TB hard drive for TV recordings, always on)
Xbox media center extender in Bedroom
Ceton Echo media center extender in Kitchen.
No TV in living room.

The HTPC is capable of playing all of my live and recorded TV, as well as my MKV collection, and online streaming services.
The two media center extenders can not properly play the MKV blu-ray rips, but I have found that I've never even wanted to watch one of those movies on one of the TV's with an extender attached, that's what the my den is purposed for.
The two media center extenders are capable of watching all of my live and recorded TV content. Which is all I find myself wanting them to do really (also possibly capable of some streaming services, I have not checked for that)

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post #12 of 14 Old 01-25-2013, 03:16 PM
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Why is your HTPC always on? You're just burning money.
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-25-2013, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrikeOne33 View Post

I'll be moving into a new home in NY soon and plan on using FIOS. I've Been doing a lot of research but wanted to clear up some of my confusion as I know this site has a lot of experienced users with this topic.
I have a "server PC" (W7Pro) with all of my media stored on it that I use to stream to my two HTPCs(W7)... My plan was to install an Infinitv4 on the "central PC" and use that card to "stream" live TV to the HTPCs.

1. If I use this setup, will I be able to press record on the HTPCs and have the live TV recorded onto the "server PC" hard drives?
2. Will those recordings be accessible on both of the HTPCs, or only the one that "initiated" the recording?
3. Will my X-Box be able to play all live TV recordings?
4. Do the tuners have to be "married" to one particular HTPC?
5. I've heard a little about MCEBuddy; does anyone use this program, will it allow me to convert TV recorded from FIOS to other "un-proprietary" formats?

Thanks for reading, any input is appreciated.

I too am in upstate NY and I am using FIOS right now. In fact, I do almost exactly what you're trying to do. I have a server with an InfiniTV card attached, and the tuners are shared out via network bridge to the two HTPC's (no extenders). The only difference is my server is running Windows Home Server 2011.

Answers:

1. You can press "record" on your HTPC's and the shows will record locally (not directly to the server). In my case, Windows Home Server has an archiving feature where you can instruct the client HTPC's to auto archive directly to the server once the recording has finished.
2. Recordings can be played back on anything with a screen (including machines that have no tuner attached).
3. Probably. I don't own an Xbox, so I can't tell you for sure.
4. Yes. You'll have to step through a tuner setup wizard on each client HTPC.
5. I know nothing about MCEbuddy. Can't help you there.

Reading through some of your previous posts, it seems to me that moving to Windows Home Server 2011 on your server would solve most of your DVR/Recorded TV issues. I use the TV archive feature regularly on my client HTPC's, and it works very well. I achieved network bridging with my InfiniTV by following the instructions at http://www.missingremote.com/guide/ceton-infinitv-network-tuner-wizard-access-infinitv-tuners-multiple-pcs. This scenario is supported by Ceton as well: http://cetoncorp.com/product-support/.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-25-2013, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks ajkrishock, but I'm actually pretty happy with my setup the way it is now... Especially since the HTPC does occasionally need to be "maintained" (updates, reboots, ect..) having only one in the house is essential for the WAF. The extenders require almost no "maintenance", and I love that my recordings are synchronized, and centralized on one box... It especially makes using the ceton companion app easier than if I had more than one HTPC.

As for power consumption, my HTPC is a Sandy Bridge i3, at idle it uses maybe 27 watts... For the pennies its costing me (no were near the cost of a cable box rental), keeping it on and awake at all times also helps with the WAF, one less thing to worry about.

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