SmartGlass & Surface - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-25-2012, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Before posting this, I did a forum search and found only one post in the "Home Theater Computers" forum that even mentions "SmartGlass". There doesn't seem to be a lot of discussion about the new Microsoft Surface tablet.

I know the Surface-RT isn't going to have WMC installed. And it sounds like Windows-8 Pro won't even include WMC, but that we'll have to pay extra for it as an add-in.

Is the lack of discussion on here because we don't yet know how/if the Surface will be able to access/stream *goodies* from our HTPCs? Or is it because it's already been settled, and the news isn't good? Will the Surface be able to function at all like an "extender"?

Articles like this (http://www.tomshardware.com/news/SmartGlass-Xbox-Windiws-8-Windows-RT-Windows-Phone-8,18681.html) seem to indicate that the Surface is all about interacting with other devices. One would think, specifically, other Microsoft devices at the very least. A direct quote: "We believe your entertainment should travel seamlessly across devices, that devices should work together to make your entertainment more accessible and create entirely new experiences"

But while that specific quote sounds intentionally vague, the emphasis/thrust of that article seems to be regarding the Surface accessing xbox-content-specifically. My media isn't stored to my Xbox. As an "early adopter", the xbox 360 that they sold me when it first came out only came with a 20 gig drive... not much room for a whole lot of media on a hard-drive half the size of a blu-ray disc.

Now, if the Xbox can access my HTPC, and the Surface can access the Xbox........ does that mean (directly or indirectly) the Surface (either RT or Pro, but preferrably RT, would love to save the Money and get the cheaper version) will be able to access my TV recordings and, dare I dream, a TV tuner? I hope so. I fear not.

This seems like a no-brainer opportunity for Microsoft to leverage a couple of products (Windows Media Center and Xbox) that Apple/Google really don't have an answer for, to make themselves a real player in the Tablet market...

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-25-2012, 08:54 PM
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Microsoft has been vague. Smartglass is pretty much their attempted competition to the WiiU controller and just general tablet integration/interaction with the entertainment system. At this point, all we really know as that there will be a handful of games/movies that support it (i.e. maps, invites in games; Actor/Movie info, and some music features). No real mention of WMC interaction or video streaming of any kind. Maybe they'll have Xbox Video/Xbox Music support on all devices or maybe just Windows devices (i.e. Surface, Windows Phone).

I'm currently using AirVideo ($2.99) on my iPad which is a compromise but at least it plays back WTV files (recorded/recording) and also works over the internet (though I've only tried DVDs ripped to MP4 over the internet). Just saying if MS doesn't offer such a solution with Smartglass (and frankly, I don't think they are at this point), there are other solutions out there that can get you part of the way there. At any rate, I believe we'll find out more tomorrow when the app(s) supposedly launch for tablets/phones.

WMC Setup:

Quad-Core Micro ATX PC, 6 GB RAM, 3 TB storage (headless)
HDHR Prime, HDHR DUAL (5 total tuners)
2 Xbox 360 Extenders/Cable Box Replacements
60" Sony SXRD/52" Sharp LCD
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-26-2012, 05:32 AM - Thread Starter
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If it doesn't support video streaming, Microsoft would have really dropped the ball here IMO. A tablet with that kind of tactile keyboard, a big beautiful 10.6" screen, HDMI out, AND could stream from a live tv tuner would be a slam dunk for me.


I use RemotePotato myself on my iPad... When my router isn't reset and my Ports are properly forwarded, of course. Which, for the last 2-3 months seems to be less often than not. Sure would be great to have a tablet that accesses the HTPC without all that nonsense.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-26-2012, 12:20 PM
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Yeah, not sure if it supports true streaming but here is the quote from Major Nelson's Blog which I assume is the press release:
Quote:
Xbox SmartGlass
The power of companion scenarios come to life in new ways with Xbox SmartGlass, a new free Xbox app which enables your PC, tablet and phone to connect to your Xbox console in an intelligent way. Use your tablet to launch and navigate a movie on your TV and get rich details on the cast, crew and storyline. Pull the movie back to your tablet to finish watching it on the go. Use your phone or tablet as another great remote, and easily navigate your entertainment and menus by simple flicks, gestures and pinch and zoom.

Sounds cool but the likelihood for that being anything other than "Xbox Video" purchased shows/movies is pretty slim. No mention of WMC access either. MS has a decent reputation of improving these features over time so assuming they aren't abandoning WMC any time soon, that type of feature could make it in there. I'm off to test during lunch!

Edit: Guess I haven't been keeping up with the news on this...didn't realize that iOS and Android SmartGlass apps were not coming for 6 months. No testing for me unless I can get it to work in a VM with non-RTM Win8 or something smile.gif. Don't know if this is strategic to try and sell more Win8 tablets/phones or they just need the extra time to get the iOS and Android apps up and working correctly....likely the former knowing MS.

WMC Setup:

Quad-Core Micro ATX PC, 6 GB RAM, 3 TB storage (headless)
HDHR Prime, HDHR DUAL (5 total tuners)
2 Xbox 360 Extenders/Cable Box Replacements
60" Sony SXRD/52" Sharp LCD
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-26-2012, 01:13 PM
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So there's multiple things going on here.

First. A Windows RT device (including the Surface variant released today) will not be able to play Windows Media Center -recorded TV files.

Two. SmartGlass (in the video form) relates to content that is downloaded from the Xbox Video store. This content is available on both your tablet and 360, and you can easily press a button on the app to switch between the two. What that does is basically send a link from one device to the other, so that the second device picks up where the first left off. Content is delivered directly to the device from the internet. You can then turn off the first device, or even use your tablet as a remote control.

Finally, there is also a DLNA-based "Play To" function within Metro apps. If you have your own MP4/WMV video content, or DRM free MP3/MP4 audio, or photos, you can press a button on the tablet, which will stream that content over your local network to the 360. However, in this case, the tablet is actually handling playback, and so can't be turned off. One neat thing about this is that many of the streaming radio apps will also allow you to Play To the 360. For example, I can use Slacker Radio on my tablet, and it'll stream that to the 360. And while it does not run on Windows RT (and therefore not on the Surface), there's PowerDVD Mobile which runs on Windows 8 (x86/x64) and will basically transcode content on the fly from many different formats to something that the 360 understands. For example, this way, I can play MKV content on my 360. But again, PowerDVD Mobile doesn't have a Windows RT version to run on the Surface yet.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-26-2012, 10:58 PM
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I have just installed SmartGlass on my Android phone and am using it to control my Xbox. It already works fine with Netflix! (my primary use of the console these days). When playing a movie, it shows me the video controls, related shows etc and I'm sure in future it will show more episode information. I find it easier and faster to use the phone rather than the controller, which turns itself off every few min to conserve batteries.

 

I am hoping Smartglass will let me play pictures, music, local media and youtube videos directly to the tv via the Xbox? Haven't tried that yet.

 

edit - I may have rushed to praise this. I don't see how to play media from the phone, and the fwd/rewind remote controls aren't present.

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post #7 of 11 Old 10-27-2012, 12:18 AM
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As mentioned above, you'll need an app which can use DLNA to play to another device to get local media from your phone to play on the 360, because that functionality is entirely different from SmartGlass. I know Samsung has an app for their phones to do that, I don't know of any others though.

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post #8 of 11 Old 10-29-2012, 10:10 AM
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Guess I got some bad info as the Android app is out and I'm hearing the iOS app should be out at some point this week....at least that's some of the noise on twitter. Hope it's before Friday so I can give it a run during lunch while I'm working from home.

WMC Setup:

Quad-Core Micro ATX PC, 6 GB RAM, 3 TB storage (headless)
HDHR Prime, HDHR DUAL (5 total tuners)
2 Xbox 360 Extenders/Cable Box Replacements
60" Sony SXRD/52" Sharp LCD
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-30-2012, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

So there's multiple things going on here.
Finally, there is also a DLNA-based "Play To" function within Metro apps. If you have your own MP4/WMV video content, or DRM free MP3/MP4 audio, or photos, you can press a button on the tablet, which will stream that content over your local network to the 360. However, in this case, the tablet is actually handling playback, and so can't be turned off. One neat thing about this is that many of the streaming radio apps will also allow you to Play To the 360. For example, I can use Slacker Radio on my tablet, and it'll stream that to the 360. And while it does not run on Windows RT (and therefore not on the Surface), there's PowerDVD Mobile which runs on Windows 8 (x86/x64) and will basically transcode content on the fly from many different formats to something that the 360 understands. For example, this way, I can play MKV content on my 360. But again, PowerDVD Mobile doesn't have a Windows RT version to run on the Surface yet.

I couldn't get any of this step working on my Win 8 laptop. I'm trying to play media from my laptop to my xbox, I tried these:
1. DRM free MP3 audio: Played this in xbox music on my laptop, but don't get any "Play To" option there.
2. Slacker radio: Played on laptop, but no way to stream it to xbox.
3. How does the DLNA with PowerDVD setup works? Is there some app to be installed on XBox as well? If not, which app does PowerDVD communicate with?
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-30-2012, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiRuKa24 View Post

I couldn't get any of this step working on my Win 8 laptop. I'm trying to play media from my laptop to my xbox, I tried these:
1. DRM free MP3 audio: Played this in xbox music on my laptop, but don't get any "Play To" option there.
2. Slacker radio: Played on laptop, but no way to stream it to xbox.
3. How does the DLNA with PowerDVD setup works? Is there some app to be installed on XBox as well? If not, which app does PowerDVD communicate with?

Use the Devices Charm, your 360 will show up as an available device (if you have the newest dashboard update, and have "Play To" enabled in your settings). It's not in the bottom app menu. And PowerDVD (and all of these DLNA / Play To apps) just streams to the 360 dashboard. It takes a little bit to get used to to think of these things in the Charms, but once you get used to it it does kind of make more sense.

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post #11 of 11 Old 10-30-2012, 11:08 AM
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I don't have Win8 so I can't comment from experience but previously, you needed to have a DLNA enabled "app" on your PC/device that the Xbox can "see" over your network. For instance, in the past, I had to turn on media sharing in Windows Media Player and then the Xbox can see it and you can designate what your are sharing with your Xbox. Don't know if Win8 has this turned on by default or not or you have to turn it on as I described. Since I use WMC on Win7, I don't think I needed to turn it on via Media Player. I'll probably upgrade to Win8 at some point as I hear WMC is going to be free for a few months and I'm kinda waiting to see all of the fallout from the app store/if WMC works as well as it does on W7, etc. My guess is that Windows 8 doesn't have DLNA turned on by default.

WMC Setup:

Quad-Core Micro ATX PC, 6 GB RAM, 3 TB storage (headless)
HDHR Prime, HDHR DUAL (5 total tuners)
2 Xbox 360 Extenders/Cable Box Replacements
60" Sony SXRD/52" Sharp LCD
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